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11 responses to “Crowd sourcing radiation detection”

  1. hannah's dad

    We have a 25th anniversary!

    26th of April 1986, the first level 7 nuclear plant disaster at Chernobyl.

  2. Fran Barlow

    I must say, I do like Stengers’ crowd-sourcing suggestion. It sits quite well with my more general paradigm of inclusive governance.

  3. Robert Merkel

    My French is a tad rusty, unfortunately…

    As for the crowdsourcing radiation data, I agree that it’s not a bad idea to have independent sources of information available. Trust, but verify.

    However, assuming that the radiation information released through official channels so far is broadly accurate (and there are already enough independent readings being taken so far to make that the most plausible scenario), there’s another problem.

    The trouble here – as I tried to point out in the last post I did on Fukushima – is that there’s plenty of data about radiation levels available. The question is interpreting what that data means for those who live near Fukushima? Were they exposed to “significant” (whatever that means) risk before evacuation? Are those outside the evacuation zone still at any risk? And, more to the point, what level of risk is acceptable? And how do we trade off the risks of radiation against not being able to live in (or, more to the point in most cases, rebuild) one’s home and livelihood?

  4. TerjeP

    I must say, I do like Stengers’ crowd-sourcing suggestion. It sits quite well with my more general paradigm of inclusive governance.

    Frans view captures concisely my own reaction to the idea. Even the fact that she chose the word governance rather than government.

  5. Keithy


  6. akn

    My French isn’t up to this; if anyone can link an English language version I’d appreciate it.

    Having read and grasped as much as I can: democratisation of responsibility without authority is very much part of the neoliberal strategy. Democratisation of data collection and monitoring sounds like a good idea but would need to be accompanied by mechanisms for real control before it meant anything other than sophisticated window dressing.

  7. Huggybunny

    Don’t waste your time Robert, Isabelle is just another POMO.
    Total waste of space 🙂

  8. Huggybunny

    Actually sh’s not all that bad.
    I think I can reccomend this:
    A review of her magnum opus, unfortunately only available in French (Sorry Robert)

  9. su

    There are a small number of crowd sourced geiger counter streams from Japan available at http://www.pachube.com (requires a google earth app I think). When I first looked there were a few in Fukushima prefecture but they are offline at present.

    Community groups and individuals have been organising other forms of testing as well – breast milk samples, soil and water and vegetable samples. ACRO France has an english language version of the results of some testing in Iitate, Namie and two other towns on its website. Taken prior to the evacuation order they show many samples exceeding the level which triggered compulsory rehousing in Belorus in 1986.

    But MEXT has just raised the safe exposure limit for children to 3.8 microsieverts an hour, which over a full year would equate to 33 mSv, 33 times the ICRP safe limit for adultsof 1mSV per annum. Even so, schools in Fukushima prefecture are testing above that limit and are removing topsoil for disposal in landfill. A terrible, terrible decision by MEXT in my opinion. NISA puts the total release to date at 370 000 terabecquerels while Japan Nuclear Safety Commission says 630 000 terabecquerels – that is a huge disparity.

  10. akn

    Exactly what I meant su. Talk about move the goalposts.

  11. su

    Yes akn, as you say, what use the collection of data when the government can just set arbitrary new standards? And there is an element of closing the barn door after etc as there is a great deal of uncertainty as to how much radiation was released in the first days of the disaster – considering these figures will later be used to reconstruct population doses, that is a grave deficit.

    The radiation advisor to Prime Minister Kan, Toshiso Kasako has resigned in protest over the government’s handling of the crisis, saying that the new safety limits for children “are inconsistent with internationally commonsensical figures and they were determined by the administration to serve its interests”, he was also scathing of 250 mSV limit for Fukushima’s workers and the failure, so far, to release the government’s forecast modelling of the spread of radioactive material.