Social Media Shares:
Did you know there is radiation passing through you right now? It’s a little known fact that Earth naturally has a certain level of radiation in the environment. It comes from radioactive elements naturally occurring, plus releases from nuclear testing and major accidents in the past. Don’t worry, the level is low enough to not have any real health effects. It’s called background radiation.
Here’s an interesting project I came across a few weeks ago. uRADMonitor is a project to create a global network of open access gamma ray background radiation monitors. At a reasonably low cost, you can purchase your own uRADMonitor box and install it in any outdoor location sheltered from the weather. A Geiger Muller tube inside the unit measures the local gamma ray background radiation, and it’s then sent to an internet server by a microcontroller.
On the uRADMonitor site you can see a map showing the readings from all the stations around the world that are currently online. There are already three counters in Australia, one in Brisbane and two in Melbourne. There’s also one in New Zealand.
Most of the time these will be fairly dull, although it would be interesting to see if there is any long term patterns related to dominating weather conditions that emerge. In the event on a nuclear incident anywhere in the world however, these may be the first real information the public would have about the fallout levels.
After the Chernobyl Disaster, an explosion of a nuclear reactor in the Ukraine, the first other countries knew it had happened was when it set of radiation monitors at a Swedish nuclear power plant. There is also a story of a group of students who had left a gieger counter with a recorder running over a weekend. When they came back to check it’s recording they were shocked by how high the readings had been.
With uRADMonitor, we can all have access to such radiation monitoring in real time. If you’ve already got a weather station, this might be the perfect addition! Find out more about uRADMonitor here. Some additional information here: