Crestone, Colorado, USA – 8,000 ft. — May 5, 2015 — Pouring rain (earlier).
In this blog post: My Geiger Counter ‘notes’ from the past day, followed by a closer look into what happened on May 3 (is it Tritium or Tritiated Water? COuld it be pollen?. All this mixed with some photos (for my own sanity. ;-) ). I also added some more photos to last couple blog posts. DISCLAIMER
May 6 insert: + important additions in comments. Tritium ruled out. Likely short-lived radioisotopes of Radon / Bismuth / Lead /… coming down in a rain-out of (mostly or all?) natural radioisotopes. – End insert]
May 3’s freakish 6.1 µSv/hr rain water... put me “on alert”. So to speak, I guess. Not that anyone cares that rain can be – apparently – thát radioactive, or that I’m not going walk through the rain and enjoy life, but… It made me curious.
Because ‘they’ (NOAA) predicted late (May 4) afternoon possible thunderstorms again and rain later on (into May 5 and beyond), I started taking measurements long before a rain drop fell, to check on the difference if there were any.
The weather in the USA zone of this part of North America this morning, Cinco de Mayo:
We’ve been so blessed with all this moisture lately. ;-)
- Geiger Counter (Medcom Inspector Alert) measurements:
Afternoon May 4, 2015 – 8200 ft., vertical;
12:55 -14:55 = 2 hrs = 120 min
6856 counts => 57.13 CPM
Front car seat, windows cracked open, Beta window upwards, horizontal;
End of measuring period: 8:28 pm on May 4, 2015
24-> 20:53 = 3hrs7min = 187 min
Counts: 12,910 => 69.04 CPM, dose rate fluctuating around 0.150 µSv/hr (normal at 8000 ft.)
Horiz. versus Vertic.. = 20.8 % difference. (See also march 22, 2015, More Geiger Counter Measurements Confirm: Angle of Pancake Tube Matters, also at Ground Level. (due to cosmic rays)
RAINING (just started) – May 4, 2015 8:28 pm
5 minutes, vertical on dashboard, windows closed:
Counts: 293 => 58.6 CPM (same as no rain)
8:34pm – 45 degree angle, beta window against window upwards, propped up with dry towel to hold it there. Time: 24–> 23:39
1429 count in 21 minutes => 68.0 CPM (normal)
—-> that means: practically no unusual Gamma radiation in this rain.
Let’s see about Beta radiation (which is shielded by the windshield).
Toilet paper swipe of rainwater off car window: The dose rate this time was “only” fluctuating around 0.67 µSv/hr (between 0.5 and 0.8 µSv/hr), about 10% of yesterday, May 3, 2014’s measurement.)
1st minute: 280 CPM; 2 minutes: 513 / 2 = 256.5 CPM; – pressed the GC a bit into the wet – went up to 0.8 µSv/hr; 4 min: 1081 /4 => 270 CPM; 5:min: 1377 / 5 = > 275.4 CPM ; 7 min. avg. (1882 counts / 7) => 269 CPM (about 4x normal background for this location) Dose rate, when I stopped, fluctuated ( 5 minute observation) around 0.7 µSv/hr, between 0.651 and 0.826 µSv/hr. This rain lasted only 10 minutes, if that. Very brief event. Quick test @ 8200 ft; ended: 9:17 pm May 4, 2015
—> Clearly the rain still emits a significant amount of beta radiation, but not nearly as bad as on May 3 in the evening.
May 5, 2015 — Lots of rain this past night. This morning inside my car around 8am: normal dose rate (around 0.170 µSv/hr (horizontal, normal at this 8200 ft altitude)
paper towel swipe made it rise to 0.350 µSv/hr. (horizontal) Less, again, than the day before. A quick 3 minute test averaged 749 counts in 10 minutes => 74.9 CPM (–> pretty much normal).
Was at a meeting between 9 and 9:50; during this time I left the GC counting in horizontal position by the car window: 3730 count in 55 minutes => 67.8 CPM (completely normal)
After that I measured 5 minutes on hat I just walked through the rain with: 387 counts in 5 min. => 77.4 CPM (the extra +10 CPM could be from dust in the hat too, will test it when dry some other time); in any case, nothing unusual nor alarming today.
I suppose that further confirms that Sunday’s incredibly radioactive rain was highly unusual.
Of course I could be wrong, and I’ve been very wrong before, but given my observations of the past year, my #1 suspicion of what the cause might be goes to Fukushima’s massive Tritium releases. Yet it could be from many other nuclear industry sources as well. Perhaps even WIPP in New Mexico, although if it were from WIPP, then I would also see a gamma radiation uptick, I think, and there isn’t much, if any, of that in this rain at all. Could also be something natural that I have yet to learn about.
So, I’m simply going to try to find out what caused the uptick(s) in beta-emitting rain-water. (See further below).
First something curious and in my experience quite unusual: The EPA Radnet filled in the data gaps for Colorado Springs: Nothing unusual to be seen in the new data.
On a nearby Radmon monitor you can see a small (gamma) spike, however. Yet when looking at longer-period data, that spike does not stand out as particularly unusual:
Albuquerque kept its big gap on April 29-30, but sometime later on May 5 the tiny gaps dissapeared. Last I check Albuquerque’s graph was this, below, showing nothing particularly unusual (and it’s receiving rain from the same storm):
Maybe… maybe the Beta can turn the monitor off, but in places where Beta is kept secret to begin with, the gamma data can be filled in if those are not indicative of something being highly unusual… Albequerque is on of those stations that still reports the Beta radiation. (Except when it matters, of course…)
You can do a query yourself at https://cdxnode64.epa.gov/radnet-public/query.do -> pick what you want to know (I generally pick G3, G5 and Beta, and begin/end time measurement. Then, when eventually you get the data, to graph it…
I’ll show it for data for Salt Lake City, Utah: So when you get the table with data, “for some bizarre reason…” the US government set the default in such a way that you have to manually change the x-axis to the time, and also move the data columns from the left to the y-axis’ “Selected Columns” (except for the time!). And thén you can plot a graph that makes sense.
Anyways, IF I assume that that rain in the evening of May 3rd, 2015 was loaded with Tritiated Water (HTO or HTO), or another Fukushima- or other manmade release – related radioisotope, of a véry unusual high concentration, could I figure out from where precisely this moisture came? That is the puzzle for the remainder of this blog post: track the origins of those specific radioactive clouds that day…
But I’ll get to this later, ’cause I got to go now.
It’s 3:30 pm Tuesday afternoon. It’s been raining a lot again. So much actually that I need to hold off on some outdoor work project. So, sitting in the Bliss Café to stay dry.
Test #1 – No swipes rain test
– Before: Dry paper towel on table, horizontal, 8000 ft indoors: 864 counts in 12 minutes = 72 CPM with the dose rate fluctuating between 0.17 – 0.26 µSv/hr
– After: Left the dry paper towel outside on a table (no swiping of any surface, just collecting fresh clean-air rain). 3:47pm -> 6:09 pm = 2hrs22min = 142 minutes; brought it in and tested it: 411 Counts in 5 minutes => 82.2 CPM
–> Only +10 CPM (just like my hat) from some rain exposure.
Test #2 – Took another swipe of the rain drops on my car (Afternoon May 5, 2015)
Using a clean dry coffee filter, swiping the same surface (front windshield of my car), véry different result from yesterday’s this morning’s a several tests: 23520 counts in 52 minutes => 452.3 CPM (over 6x normal local background radiation), with the dose rate going as high as 1.8 µSv/hr.
Not like Sunday, but I find this impressive nonetheless. Apparently this is not a steady on-off phenomenon. It fluctuates heavily, and clearly the major beta-uptick wasn’t isolated to May 5th evening rains.
I have no idea if this is a natural phenomenon. Can’t rule it out.
Natural or Man-made radioactive Rain?
Basically: still no clue. All I know is that previous times I’ve done tests like this, in this same area, it was just like this morning: Only an insignificant difference. An article on LiveScience, “Radioactive Rain Across the US Is Natural” read,
“[…] Following a recent downpour in Toronto, one man detected thousands of radiation particles per minute in the area around his house, telling YouTube viewers, “Where this is coming from, I don’t know. Fukushima? They’re spiking the clouds with radioactive isotopes to do climate modification? I have no idea, but this is ridiculous.”
Is there cause for alarm? In fact, radioactive rain is not a new health threat or evidence of a cover-up by the nuclear industry, but rather is indicative of just how many naturally occurring radioactive particles there are in Earth’s atmosphere. […]”
Well, if the EPA hadn’t stopped their regular testing for Tritium levels in air and rainwater (in 2012), or insert all kinds of ‘data gaps’, we’d be able to tell if it was just normal, wouldn’t we? I do not have data from rain pre-2011 with the same kind of sensitive handheld Geiger Counter (a model that did not exist yet then anyhow). How can the off-hand claim that “this is natural”, without having comparable data (!), be called ‘scientific’? It’s just as much make-belief as to claim that it is”from Fukushima”. Maybe it is completely natural. Maybe it has a big man-made factor to it.. I DO NOT KNOW. (See also my Disclaimer: this blog is not authorative. It is part of merely expressing my journey of seeking more understanding on various levels.)
If you look at Tritium levels over the decades, however, you can see that the nuclear bombing era had a major effect: http://www.irsn.fr/EN/Research/publications-documentation/radionuclides-sheets/environment/Pages/Tritium-environment.aspx
Here’s another one, marking the bomb test, with what limited data there is from before and after, plucked from here, which sourced the data back to a page at the University of Ottawa that can no longer be found…:
-> The (logarithmic scale!) y-axis is in ‘Tritium Units’, where 1 TU is defined as the ratio of 1 tritium atom to 1018 hydrogen atoms. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tritium]
So, levels came down under 100 TU by the early 1990s. And in 2008 the concentration was 1 to 4 Bq/liter. In August 2013, they reached 68 Bq/l H3 in the Fukushima-Daiichi NPP port’s ocean water. (Source: Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 24, 2013, “High-level radioactive tritium found in seawater at Fukushima plant port“)
Also from the IRSN 2008 document: “In the marine environment, tritium emitted during nuclear tests has been totally “diluted” in cosmogenic tritium and concentration levels at the surface have remained around 0.1 to 0.2 Bq/L. These concentrations are not as high at the sea bottom.
In the atmosphere, the concentration level of 1 to 2 Bq/L measured in water vapour corresponds to an activity concentration of 0.01 to 0.02 Bq/m of air.
In biological matrices, total tritium concentration is 1.5 to 2.5 Bq/kg wet in the continental environment, with a variable proportion of free and bound forms (Figure 2). In the marine environment, it is generally less than 2 Bq/kg wet. For example, it is less than 0.5 Bq/kg wet in Mediterranean mussels. […]” SOURCE: http://www.irsn.fr/EN/Research/publications-documentation/radionuclides-sheets/environment/Pages/Tritium-environment.aspx Screenshot of excerpt with graph:
From Fukushima Diary (by Iori Mochizuki): (My emphasis added, and date format changed):
“From Tepco’s report published on 2/18 and 2/21/2015, Tritium density reached the highest level at 3 of 12 bypass wells almost at once. The sampling dates were Feb. 16 and Feb. 19, 2015. The contaminated groundwater pumped up from these wells are to be discharged to the Pacific. These wells are located in the south of the rest of the wells and next to each other. It suggests the groundwater contaminated by Tritium is forming an underground stream. The readings were 120,000 Bq/m3, 810,000 Bq/m3, and 860,000 Bq/m3. Each of them was the highest reading measured in each bypass well.”
A month later, relayed on March 22, 2015, also by Fukushima Diary: Tritium density rose up 17 × in groundwater:
“[…] In one of the boring wells, Tritium density was 200,000 Bq/m3 on 3/10/2015 but it jumped to 3,400,000 Bq/m3 on March 17, 2015. […] On 3/20/2015, Tritium density of the next boring well jumped from 300,000 Bq/m3 to 2,500,000 Bq/m3 within just one day. […]”
PS: http://fukushima-diary.com/, which in the past seemed like it was a bit on the overly alarmist side, in my opinion, has been an important part of independent research nonetheless and has become more objective over the years it seems. It’s listed in my top 5 of Nuclear News links, which is in need of many more additions…)
Anyhow, Where are these Tritium levels now? How much of these extremely high Tritium concentrations have been leaking into the Pacific and into the atmosphere? How much is coming down with the rain? Is it reaching North America? And how does a Geiger Counter respond to normal versus elevated Tritium levels? (And why the hell is it so hard to find answers to such simple questions…?)
Whether or not this recent radioactive rain here in the United States has anything to do with Tritium levels, or with Fukushima for that matter, actually remains a mystery to me. I truly don’t know yet. But I want to know.
Still raining… still radioactive that rain…
6 pm – stopped raining in the past hour (ish). A swipe of a dry car’s hood (just dust & pollen, no water) measured up to 1.792 µSv/hr (!). A 3 minute test, 1705 counts,=> 568.3 CPM.
Interesting new twist, as dust in previous days seemed highly contrasted (less radioactive) than wet samples… Hm… what if it’s the pollen?
Flashback to 2011: The Japan Times Online, Nov. 1, 2011: “Cesium in pollen not viewed as health risk” (via ENEnews) Excerpts:
“In June, the education and science ministry studied cedar leaves in the town of Kawamata, located about 45 km from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, and determined the cesium-134 and -137 levels ranged from 54,300 to 177,600 becquerels per kilogram.”
“The Forestry Agency used those results to estimate the radiation exposure from pollen grains. If the level of contamination was 177,600 becquerels per kilogram and the concentration of pollen grains — a gauge of pollen density that shows how many grains are floating in 1 cu. meter of air — was 2,207, the exposure would be equal to 0.000132 microsievert per hour.”
[Note: Supposing they suspended in air, not concentrated in a rain-out…]
“On average, the concentration of pollen grains is 89 in the Kanto region, but the calculation used 2,207, the highest figure recorded in the region in the past eight years.” “Hiroki Matsumoto, an official at the agency, said cedar pollen is so light it can fly hundreds of kilometers, meaning it can reach densely populated Tokyo and surrounding areas.” “Weather conditions could bring pollen from Fukushima, he added.”
Well, not sure what to make of this yet. My findings of 1.8 to 6.1 µSv/hr is definitely of a whole other magnitude than a mere 0.000132 µSv/hr (which I wouldn’t even be able to measure)… .
I might collect some pollen this week and see if I learn anything new from that. Until I’ve looked at that potential factor (and the possibility that pollen are high in Potassium, for instance (???)), I’m going to skip the Nullschool investigation, which can be very time consuming.
Slightly confusing mystery… Anyhow. I aim to figure this one out too…
For what it’s worth…
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Last Updated: May 7, 2015