Government and private radiation stations pick up coast to coast climb surpassing summer surge
News and Analysis
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency RadNet radiation monitors have detected renewed surges in atmospheric readings of dangerous beta radiation across the country. Over a dozen metropolitan test sites have registered four-month highs in EnviroReporter.com’s most recent comprehensive assessment.
These figures, compiled from government graphs and organized at RadNet Air Monitoring, show even greater radiation levels than the already high detection exposed in the August 7 article U.S. air radiation surges higher.
Beta radiation-impacted cities in this fall included San Diego, Bakersfield, Phoenix, Amarillo, Montgomery and Madison. Some of these RadNet sites recorded beta readings literally going off the chart at 1,000 total beta counts per minute (CPM).
Though Los Angeles’ beta station hasn’t worked in over a year, EnviroReporter.com tracks beta emissions through dust analysis from HEPA filter machines located in its Santa Monica offices. The latest period’s beta radiation detections were over eight times the same sources readings in late summer.
Some of the highest registering cities also were markedly higher than the same site readings shown on RadNet in 2013. Compared to its November 27, 2013 reading, Tuscon’s 460 CPM reading on the same date a year later was over 10 times more elevated. Phoenix’s November 28 reading of 735 CPM was over 21 times higher than exactly a year ago.
San Diego, which has inexplicably seen its airborne beta analyses skyrocket over the last year, hit 650 CPM October 1. That huge measurement, in a town with normal background around 20 CPM, was 60 times higher on the same date in 2014 than in 2013.
These alarming levels come as the heaviest travel days of the year have millions of Americans flying through air that they have no idea may be impacted by dangerous levels of radiation. No information exists in any airport in the United States that alerts travelers to the danger.
Often the readings can be staggering as first reported in 2012 and 2013. A vast majority of the five million people who flew over the Thanksgiving holiday did not have breathing masks as simple as common N-95 air filter model to protect themselves.
“These readings seem astronomically high,” said one EnviroReporter.com commenter in response to our November 23 Nationwide Radiation Report. “What could be the cause of such a surge in radioactivity? I find it hard to believe that it is all from Fukushima unless something there has changed dramatically, such as a collapse of one of the pools used to store and cool spent fuel rods. Any ideas? This could have a very severe impact on our health and the health of our environment. I’m very concerned.”
The latest figures are certainly fuel for concern. But getting a good idea of how severe the problem is has been hampered by RadNet’s spotty performance record. Just 39 out of 124 beta monitors were functioning as of November 23. That number has plunged to 31 as of December 2. That means just 25 percent of America’s front line detection defense against man-made radiation actually functions. Taxpayer dollars are being wasted on a system that defies other government contracted networks for most bungled results.
While the EPA has repeatedly shown that it has discounted the effects of airborne radiation, such as EnviroReporter.com reported in EPA Nukes Radiation Rules in July 2013, it does not diminish the toxicity of the radiation involved.
Increasing airborne beta radiation can potentially include the man-made radionuclides cesium-137, strontium-90 and plutonium 239/240. Astronomical amounts of these isotopes have escaped the crippled nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan since March 11, 2011 when an earthquake and resultant tsunami destroyed the plant. This precipitated triple nuclear reactor meltdowns which remain out of control as the plant owners admitted in late November.
These isotopes, in very small amounts, can cause blood and bone diseases including leukemia. One millionth of an ounce of plutonium 239/240 will cause fatal lung cancer in humans.
Knowing how much radiation is in the air compared to normal background numbers is key to protecting the public from these tasteless and invisible poisons. EnviroReporter.com and others, including experts and manufacturers, consider 100 CPM to be an alarm trigger. Many American cities surpassed this threshold with measurements many multiples of anything that could be regarded as negligible.
Radiation levels that exceed three times background concentrations are considered a tripwire for concern as well, with 100 CPM approximately equating this level. The California Highway Patrol deems anything above this threshold as a potential hazardous material situation necessitating appropriate HazMat protocols.
In addition, a private citizen-sourced radiation network has identified at least one hot spot in St. Charles, Illinois. Information supplied EnviroReporter.com from Australian environmental activist Alan Manson shows extremely elevated readings in St. Charles, Illinois.
“I have been accessing certain radiation monitoring sites across the USA through the http://netc.com website for a while now, and have noted that one site west of Chicago IL (St. Charles) is regularly producing extreme readings every 24 hours as shown in the chart below,” Manson said in an email to EnviroReporter.com November 28. “Below is the latest chart from St. Charles that should be of extreme concern to anyone living in the Chicago area. It concerns me that the authorities and the media are silent regarding this dangerous situation.”
“At St. Charles IL, a peak reading of 7,298 was recorded during November,” Manson wrote subsequently. “Of greater concern at this site, regular emissions have been detected over the past 5 days, which commence around 1 am and last for approximately 6 hours.”
Breaking down the latest EPA Radnet numbers may also be a cause for extreme concern because they show just how hot the nation’s air is. Yet the very existence of this information, with fully 75 percent of it missing, may be in jeopardy soon enough with a Republican-controlled Congress likely eager to cut any program that might put the powerful nuclear industrial complex in the hot seat.
Hot Zones for the Holidays
Since EnviroReporter.com’s last major accounting of radiation readings across the United States, October 1, 2014, new beta radiation extremes in the air were reached around the United States.
Montgomery, Alabama hit a four-month high reaching 400 counts per minute October 17 while Anchorage, Alaska also pegged a four month high reaching 100 CPM November 1. That is the first time the port city on the Pacific has reached that dubious milestone since EnviroReporter.com began tracking its beta radiation totals in 2013. Over 350 miles away, Fairbanks hit its own new highpoint smashing through the previous one of 190 CPM September 28, topping 245 CPM October 31.
Phoenix, Arizona blew through its previous 210 CPM four-month high radiating over 735 CPM November 28. Tuscon, Arizona nearly topped 450 CPM October 31 which was over 25% higher than its last period high. Then on November 27, the beta blasted over the 700 CPM mark in a city that just ranks 55 out 100 in air quality nationwide yet is a magnet for seniors and snowbirds looking for clean and dry desert air. What they getting is hot air, even in the autumn.
Little Rock, Arkansas rocketed to 450 CPM October 27, exceeding past records, before its graph gave out November 26. Fort Smith, Arkansas calmed down a bit to ‘just’ 300 CPM October 27 and hit 250 CPM December 1.
California’s once robust beta monitoring stations are increasingly failing. Anaheim‘s beta graph started working August 7 then went dead completely August 15. It sputtered to life again November 27 topping out at 160 CPM before dying November 29.
Fresno smashed through previous highs hitting 970 CPM November 11 making it one of the hottest places in the Glowdon State. Not to be outdone, Bakersfield to the south has gone off the charts – in excess of 1,000 CPM – half a dozen times in early to mid-November. The home of Buck Owens hit a high, but sour, note December 1 with a whopping 950 counts per minute.
Riverside, California‘s graph gave out September 15 after repeatedly slamming through the ‘Oh NO!’ threshold of 250 CPM and has stayed out. Adjacent San Bernardino County hit a four month high October 18 notching about 335 CPM. San Diego remains extremely active hitting 580 CPM September 20 and then 650 CPM October 1. Its graph died November 26.
Not all of California’s radiation news was bad. An October to November EnviroReporter.com radiation testing foray to Death Valley National Park found rain November 1 that was merely 50 percent above background. That is in stark contrast to rains in late 2013 in Stovepipe Wells, Badwater and Furnace Creek which came in up to 31 times background as reported in Boreas Storm Packs Radioactive Punch.
Albuquerque, New Mexico also hit a four-month high October 19 with a sizzling 590 CPM and topped 550 CPM November 22. Southwestern air from Arizona to the Texas Panhandle has been exceedingly high in comparison to the rest of the country.
Raleigh, North Carolina hit 170 CPM July 24 and cut out and still hasn’t come back on, a real loss in the South. We do have Radiation Station Harrisburg North Carolina for occasional rain radiation tests including one November 17 which showed hot rain radiating at 9.9 times background.
Amarillo, Texas blew through 1,000 CPM October 21 then died November 1 which is truly a shame since it has been the most inexplicably active beta graph in the nation, certainly a dubious honor. Meanwhile, Dallas topped 400 CPM October 15, a four-month high with nearby Ft. Worth almost reaching 250 CPM November 20.
Madison, Wisconsin hit a four-month high September 30 charting an astounding 555 CPM. The Midwest metropolitan went over 450 CPM November 26.
No matter the source, or sources, of these monumental radiation readings across the U.S., they are levels that could pose a danger to the nation, especially if ignored. Concerned citizens must know by now that the only source for radiation protection they can find now – that they can count on – is their own.