Continuing last week’s post regarding scanning for evidence of radiation from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plants reaching my area, Southern California in the U.S.:
Unfortunately, in my haste to leave school Friday, I completely forgot to copy the new data file from the experimental computer to my flash drive. Which means I can’t properly analyze the data, or even have a copy of the data at hand to reference as I’m writing this. Fail.
Oh well. But, what I can tell you is that, based on what I remember from glancing over the data at school, there has been no marked increase in background radiation levels at all; in fact, if anything, the amount of background radiation has decreased. This could be due to the two rainstorms that moved through the area over the last week, which would have washed radiation out of the air.
According to the media, where radiation has been detected, for example in Seattle, Washington, the increased levels are still far too low to cause any harm; indeed, if you live on the western coast of the United States, you’d probably get more radiation due to living within 50 miles (80.47 kilometers) of a coal-fired power plant than you will from Fukushima, assuming you get any from Fukushima.
On that subject, Randall Munroe of the xkcd webcomic recently published a chart comparing various doses of radiation, including releases from Fukushima and Chernobyl (hint: there are several orders of magnitude separating the two accidents).
So, to summarize my results of this experiment so far: Unless you live in Japan in the immediate area of the nuclear reactors, I wouldn’t worry about a thing.