Thursday, June 7, 2012

Airborne 300X Radiation Alert In Indiana, and How To Spot False Alerts

UPDATE 6/11/12:  WE BELIEVE THIS TO BE AN ACTUAL DETECTION
SEE:
Data Shows Highly Radioactive Field Saturated Geiger Counter In South Bend Indiana

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From midnight of June 6th 2012 to 4am June 7th 2012, there was a four hour alert sent out on private radiation monitoring networks concerning a private radiation monitor in South Bend, Indiana which was detecting airborne radioactivity at 300-400 times above background levels.

In this video we step though our rapid methodology for judging the veracity of these kinds of detections. As a bonus, at the end of the video we give a sneak preview of the results from our professional laboratory testing of Pre and Post Fukushima Ground beef.

4 comments:

  1. Thank you for this analysis of the South Bend detections. I also wish we could have more detailed information about the actual location of the monitor(s) that made these detections--I am guessing that both websites were getting their readings from the same source (what do you think?)

    I had a couple of questions about your wording, both in this video and in your response to my previous comments. In this video, you said that you thought it was not a "spontaneous" event. In the earlier comment response, you said "If it was real (and not staged) ..." Can you elaborate on the possible scenarios you have in mind in using this wording?

    Thanks again for the informed commentary here.

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    Replies
    1. The monitoring sites have indicated that the data came from the same location.

      In regards to the wording in the video, I was trying to leave open all the options about possible causes without sounding accusatory towards anyone. The problem is that the detection pattern looks real and matches up with wind data. The levels even returned to normal levels after the wind picked up at 4am and stayed at normal levels till the system went dead around 5am. Based on the owner's report, there were electrical issues and those issues may have been involved in the detection happening.

      So the question is what is the coincidence in this situation? Is it that the wind data just happened to match up with an electrical fault falsely indicating radiation; or is it that radioactive fallout happened and the electrical fault was coincidence? Of these two conditions, only the electrical fault is not independently verifiable by data.

      We gave credence to the electrical fault because it is a first hand report; the amount of credence we give to it being the cause of the readings wanes as the lack of open and substantial followup continues.

      If one throws out the credibility of the electrical fault report; the scenarios we might suspect are:

      (1) A localized release of radioactive materials which stagnated in the area because wind speeds dropped to zero.

      (2) A localized fallout from the jet stream; especially given the widespread reports of increased airborne radioactivity in the Jet Stream. With 5x airborne detected here in Saint Louis ,it is not implausible that 300x could occur somewhere else given the right atmospheric and geographic considerations.

      All that aside, it is troubling that no corrective action plan seems to be evident with either of the monitoring networks.

      As we stated in a YouTube comment:

      Its easy to claim a "false positive" because it protects credibility, frankly if "they" don't investigate further they have no credibility. 98% of the issue could go away if the owner of the Geiger Counter in question gave the following:

      (1) Details on the type of Geiger he was using

      (2) A description of his set-up

      (3) The location (within about a mile)

      (4) an effort to replicate the fault

      The first 3, Blackcatsystems and the Radiationnetwork ought to make available as a matter of policy.

      (note:edited to correct detection times)

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  2. I have a question not directly related to the alert from last week. I have noticed since last summer that the EPA's radnet database frequently shows several hour periods with triple-digit spikes, and these multi-hour spikes very often seem to occur in the late night/very early morning hours and they generally last until about mid-morning and then drop off significantly (I mainly view Ft. Wayne, IN, and sometimes also Indianapolis, IN, and Toledo, OH). For example, Ft. Wayne has experienced three-digit spikes several days this month, but they all seem to roughly fit this time pattern (if my time conversion is correct--subtracting 6 hours from Universal Time?):

    2012-06-04 07:18:55 102.0000
    2012-06-04 08:19:08 101.0000
    2012-06-04 09:19:20 97.0000

    2012-06-05 09:24:27 97.0000
    2012-06-05 10:24:40 101.0000
    2012-06-05 11:24:53 99.0000
    2012-06-05 12:25:06 82.0000

    Night of the SB alert:
    2012-06-06 07:58:19 111.0000
    2012-06-06 08:58:32 132.0000
    2012-06-06 09:58:46 157.0000
    2012-06-06 10:58:58 180.0000
    2012-06-06 11:59:11 182.0000
    GAP
    2012-06-06 13:25:05 18.0000

    2012-06-08 09:34:33 119.0000
    2012-06-08 10:34:46 141.0000
    2012-06-08 11:34:59 161.0000
    2012-06-08 12:35:12 170.0000
    2012-06-08 13:35:24 136.0000
    2012-06-08 14:35:37 105.0000

    2012-06-09 06:39:02 101.0000
    2012-06-09 07:39:15 120.0000
    2012-06-09 08:39:28 132.0000
    2012-06-09 09:39:40 142.0000
    2012-06-09 10:39:53 156.0000
    2012-06-09 11:40:06 177.0000
    2012-06-09 12:40:19 185.0000
    2012-06-09 13:40:32 170.0000
    2012-06-09 14:40:45 144.0000

    2012-06-10 05:43:58 117.0000
    2012-06-10 06:44:11 147.0000
    2012-06-10 07:44:25 179.0000
    GAP
    2012-06-10 15:46:10 135.0000

    2012-06-11 03:48:46 102.0000
    2012-06-11 04:48:59 121.0000
    2012-06-11 05:49:12 150.0000
    2012-06-11 06:49:25 173.0000
    GAP
    2012-06-11 13:50:56 180.0000

    All of the other readings for this month are in the two digit-range. So my question is: Is there something about the environmental conditions at those hours (e.g., temperature changes?) that makes genuine spikes more likely during these hours than, say, in the afternoon/ early evening. Or is it more likely that these apparent spikes at those hours of the night/day could be related to some aspect of the procedures/schedule followed by the people who manage the filters?

    I've seen your older videos analyzing radnet data, so I was wondering if you have noticed a similar time pattern and have any thoughts about how it might be explained.

    Thanks

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    Replies
    1. A daily cycling pattern is well known in the literature, it comes from the typical daily variation in weather conditions. In the short term, the thing to look for are unusual amplitudes following a discontinuous pattern. In the long term, one would look for how the "RMS" values have changed for those daily patterns from pre- Fukushima to post-Fukushima.

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