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environmental radiological contamination survey

May 1 2015
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I aim to survey the areas around Lake Anna, a reservoir formed by the North Anna Dam that provides water to cool the nuclear power generating plants at the North Anna Nuclear Generating Station adjacent to the lake, (wikipedia) and neighborhoods throughout Spotsylvania County for evidence of radiological contamination. Through the use of Geiger counters mounted to various vehicles, both manned and unmanned, on the ground, in the air and under water, I will map the radiation levels found in the areas we live and play. The project will be an on going study of the environment. resources: http://www.remm.nlm.gov/howtosurvey.htm

May 1 2015

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Name: Daniel O'Brien
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Expedition Background

Ever since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster I've become keenly interested in the nuclear reactor in my own backyard and how it's daily operation affects my life, the lives of my kids and the lives of my friends. How safe are we? How do we know if we are being told the truth about safety? Just how transparent are these reports?

Virginia has a well known fault line running through this area and when the next quake hits, how safe are we from a nuclear melt down? Is there a way for the public to get early warning in case of a release of radiation?

If we arm ourselves with information and knowledge about our environment, we can spot discrepancies sooner and ask informed questions and get truthful answers.

By creating a network of sensors throughout the region, we can get a baseline measurement of background radiation and map the areas that have higher or lower readings. Can we correlate data with solar flares, daily operational changes at the nuclear plant, driving past a hospital or dental office?

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Out of curiosity I just did a quick search and there are SO many neighborhoods and cities across the world that this situation applies to: bit.ly/NuclearReactors

A community driven project like this could inspire and lead the way for other residents to survey their area.

I'm really looking forward to seeing what tools you use on a regular basis!

Thanks for the support!

I've been using the Radiation Network, radiationnetwork.com as a template for what I want to accomplish, only on a smaller scale, with many more sensor nodes. I'd love to contribute my data to their network as well.

They have a lot of Geiger Counter Models that they recommend and since I tinker with Arduino, Raspberry Pi and other single board electronics/computers, I thought I would also build a bunch of sensors.

Here are a few I've been looking at for a while:

http://crwd.mp/1yLXTNO

apollo.open-resource.org/lab:pigi

makezine.com/projects/geiger-counter-kit

sparkfun.com/products/11345

Ultimately, the sensors will need accurate time keeping when logging their data, so GPS will be added. The stationary sensors will need power, so Solar panels will be needed for them and maybe a GSM board to connect to a GPRS wireless network for remote monitoring.

I've also looked at these boards: libelium.com/products/waspmote
which are pretty neat as well.

Very interesting. As I am doing a similar project off the coast of Southern California, It will be interesting to see your results. I used the NetIO GC10's for my data, and they worked like a charm. They may not be the most accurate, but they gave some pretty interesting results.