Sunday, January 1, 2012

Chattanooga 12pm 1/1/12 Radioactive Rain 8x Background

Passing through Chattanooga, TN and took a paper towel swipe sample from the truck approximately 20-40 minutes after the rainfall ended; the sample read 8x times greater than background radiation. approximately 0.08 mR/hr.


  1. I've been pretty cautious to stay out of the rain since I first began reading this site - not perfectly so, however, since my impression was that there would not be much deposition east of the Appalachian mountains.

    I was in Chattanooga around Thanksgiving, and (since I'd forgotten an umbrella) got pretty wet while taking a walk in a gentle rain one morning. I felt awful for days afterward - sort of dizzy and with an empty feeling in my chest.

    This is proof of nothing, of course. But it stays on the top of my mind and makes me continuously uneasy. Because the emissions drag on and on and on for months, I think the effects of Fukushima may turn out to be far worse than those from Chernobyl. And hardly anyone is even aware.....

  2. Aaron Datesman,

    There does seem to be lots of reports of vertigo going around lately, of course conclusively tying them to Fukushima is another thing.

    Our expectation has been that the risk is of medical effect from Fukushima fallout (radiological and chemical) in the USA is LONG TERM probabilistically based, with probabilities increasing based on reoccurring exposure to concentrating affects like rain. Of course that does not preclude immediate effects, but we would expect them to be outliers. On the other hand, the entire situation is uncharted territory so expectations may not mean much.

    Unfortunately anecdotal evidence is often outright dismissed because the investigators can't fathom a causation and dismiss the evidence as mere incidental correlation. A classic example of that is the discovery of the hanta virus in the Four Corners states, after a cluster of unexplained deaths occurred there in the early 1990's.

    The local Indian population tied to the deaths to an explosion in the growth of berries and nuts in the region. It was a correlation easily dismissed by the people investigating the death/disease outbreak. It turned out that the increase in the berry and nut supply greatly increased the rodent population. That rodent population was a vector for the hanta virus. The berry and nut population exploded because there was a large increase in rainfall tied to El Nino.

    In the end, individual observations and reports may be easily dismissed but in unprecedented situations/events they may be a valuable source of information; at least for those smart enough to look.

  3. Ms. X,

    That's a very interesting example regarding hantavirus. Thank you.

    I agree with your perspective in many ways, but I don't think prompt effects should be discounted. I have no particular scientific basis for this belief, but I do believe that ionizing radiation can cause headache, cough, fatigue, and nausea, among other effects. Reports from Fukushima Diary and other blogs confirm this impression - but the information is, as you said, anecdotal.

    I bring it up because it's one of my New Year's Resolutions to make the world understand that cancer is only one adverse outcome due to ionizing radiation - and probably not even the most significant one. I figure here is as good a place to start as any!

    Aaron Datesman

  4. Aaron Datesman,

    We certainly don't discount "prompt effects", fortunately our risk mitigation analysis perspective and prevention strategy is inclusive of those risks too.

    Unfortunately others will discount such risks because of the reasons previously stated, and because they don't want to "scare" the public with those possibilities.