May 25th 2014
Fieldwork 10 or Appearance of Rashes at a Hot Spot
I am becoming reluctant to go for a walk because I keep measuring high air dose rates one after another. It is a problem as I would like to profit from the good season and get some exercise outside, to sweat a healthy sweat. I’d also like to lose a bit of weight. I guess I just have to keep measuring the air dose rate (including the beta sources) wherever I go walking and choose where it seems relatively safe.
The following is the result of my field trip on May 25th. This time I went with a friend who would be my survey assistant. As usual the figures of the readings on my survey meter are not totally reliable due to lack of calibration but can be used in comparison to its own previous readings, i.e. to judge if radiation levels in one place are higher or lower than another as the same instrument has been used for the measurement.
First we measured the dirt accumulated in a small dip at the entrance of a bridge over a motorway.
80 cpm (photo below). This reading is a little high. There was about 2 cm between the end of the tube-shaped detector and the ground. It was 13:53. We measured several spots after this one that looked like dried up puddles with accumulation of substances but none of them exceeded 80 cpm.
We moved on to the park that had been built next to the motorway. My friend was reading the measurements while I walked around holding the detector in a bag at close to ground level. Suddenly my friend told me to stop. The needle of the monitor had jumped. So we changed the range to up to 1000 cpm and the monitor showed 150 cpm (photo below). 15:18.
As we measured around that spot we found even hotter ones. The scale limit being 3000 cpm, the following photo reads 700 cpm. 15:25.
This is the photo of that spot. There is no visible accumulation of dark substances. You can see the feet of my friend and I who were standing there in shock and couldn’t help gazing at the spot. What’s in the plastic bag is the detector.
We moved on further. My assistant called for another stop. 15:29. The Air Counter showed 0.13μSv/h (photo below).
This is the spot of this measurement (photo below). Again there was nothing that would indicate hot radiation (I had the impression that it was hotter closer to the shrub). 15:29.
The limit of the range was 10.000 cpm, which means that here we had 1500 cpm (photo below). 15:32.
At this spot we had high readings even with the detector lifted higher, so there was probably not just beta but also gamma radiation. I presume that there was an air current that carried plentiful radioactive matter with it although the readings on the Air Counter weren’t especially high at this time (question of different reaction time between the instruments?).
At this point my friend started to complain about itching arms. It was 15:37. Rolling up his sleeves we saw that his arms had become red.
This friend has a history of getting rashes after eating sausages of uncertain origin and the Pacific saury, a certain type of fish that is eaten commonly in Japan. On that day we both had eaten some rice balls 90 and 30 minutes before this redness appeared but I didn’t think that there was anything suspicious in it. I didn’t have any reaction.
This park is close to a station. It showed 16:04 on the clock of the platform when I took the following picture.
Actually I had had high air dose rates in the past in this park. And in my opinion there are three facilities nearby that could be considered the source. I decided never to go to this park again.
I want to stress that we are grown-ups. Some might even call us old. And grown-ups such as us get rashes on their arms when attacked by a highly radioactive current. Needless to say what could happen if a child breathes in this kind of air for a long while. It could vomit. It could have a diarrhea. Aren’t many cases of what is diagnosed as food poisoning without clear cause cases like this?
One thing is clear. The area I live in and the area where I often went walking are not suitable for living any more. This is the heavy conclusion that I have reached through my fieldwork trips.