I took a ten minute average of a rain sample gathered May 9, 2011. 10:00 pm 10-minute RAIN PRECIPITATE SAMPLE measured inside average: 54.4 CPM. 54.4 – background of 38.2 CPM = 16.2 CPM over background. 16.2/38.2 = 0.424 or 42.4% above background.

The reason I measured the rain inside is because, well, it was raining outside and I knew the background radiation of the inside (and the outside). Testing in either place didn’t matter: the overage mattered.

A member of the Berkeley Radiological Air and Water Monitoring (BRAWM) Team took issue with our testing which I responded to.

“Basically, the levels in the rain and air from radionuclides in Japan cannot be reliably detected using your methods,” the doctor said, “and you are probably measuring natural radioactivity from radon progeny.”

I looked on one of the threads the doctor recommended and saw a link to radon. I’m not sure if the doctor actually read the link because it says “[I]t has been shown to accumulate in the air if there is a meteorological inversion and little wind,” the Wikipedia entry read. “Natural radon concentrations in Earth’s atmosphere are so low that radon-rich water in contact with the atmosphere will continually lose radon by volatilization.”

Southern California’s inversion layer is infamous and this was not a meteorological inversion and there was wind. Combine that with the “so low” gas (and progeny) density, it seems clear that radon progeny bumped up the amount of radiation present by 44.2%. Multiple meltdowns would seem a more likely culprit.

Blaming the high radiation in the rainwater on radon progeny is far-fetched and a hypothetical attempt to wish away Fukushima fallout for reasons we’ve already commented on at the above link.

Hopefully, the doctor will at least read this comment on his own UC Berkeley thread:

“Please, everyone look on this site. This is a brilliant idea and a way for us to obtain some independent information about what we are breathing in, and what is falling on our soil.

“With enough people participating, we may begin to discern gross levels of what drifted where.

“While this is a complicated situation, and this test is not up to the BRAWN lab protocol, it is brilliant in its simplicity and the quantity of data from all over the US may help us see a pattern.”

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