Which Radition Detector to Buy?

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  • Mon, Aug 15, 2011 - 06:00am

    #1
    elsur

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    Which Radition Detector to Buy?

We are looking for a simple, at home way to test our rain water, greens from the garden, and the milk from our cows/goats for radition/contamination.   Does anyone have any recommendations for a simple detector?

 

Thank you!

Elsur

  • Mon, Aug 15, 2011 - 04:28pm

    #2

    Dogs_In_A_Pile

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    Not Simple…..

elsur –

This probably doesn’t help narrow your search any, but….

If you are looking for a detector that will accurately sample solids and liquids across the spectrum of energies and radiation types you expect to encounter (or are looking to protect yourself from), it will not be simple or inexpensive.

Stay away from anyone advertising a reasonably priced "one detector fits all" application as both the accuracy and capability of the instrument are likely overstated.

Look for a detector that will measure beta decay and a separate detector that will measure gamma decay.  Expect to pay at least $500 for each. 

You will need to understand the physics of each radiation type before the instrument will tell you anything useful about what may be present and whether or not it is a real threat.  You will also need to have a firm grasp of determining background levels prior to use and understand that background can and will change from day to day.  It will be necessary to be able to do half life calculations so you can determine the isotope(s) present.  Feel free to PM if you want more detailed info.

Good luck.   

  • Mon, Aug 15, 2011 - 04:33pm

    #3
    joesxm2011

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    Most not sensitive enough

I had hoped to buy a detector to measure levels in food and water as you want to, but I sort of gave up because it seems that the required equipment is very expensive.

I am far from an expert and I hope that some like Dogs will reply on this.

As I understand it most of the devices that the general public buys are referred to as survey meters and are good to detect a large amount of contamination as would exist after some sort of blast.

The large yellow civil defense meters fall into this category.  There there is one version that is more sensitive than the others (I think it might be model 720 but I am not sure if I remember the number correctly).  This model seems to be out of stock everywhere.

I had my eye on the Gamma-Scout which seems to be a nice little unit, but it is based on the gieger-meuller tube (I guess that is why we call them geiger counters).

I saw some youtube videos by a German woman posting with a name of bionerd23.  She sounds like she knows about radiation detectors and in one video she had a chunk of radioactive glass from the american 1950’s test sites that she said would approximate the levels in contaminated food.  She tested this with the sensitve CD survey meter with an enhanced acessory and also with the Gamma Scout.

If you search for "Gamma Scout Review" on youtube you can probably find the videos.

The end result seemed to be that you needed a device based on a scintillation counter and these apparently cost close to $10,000.

Before I realized this I rushed out an bought the Nuk-Alert, thinking if we got rained on it would go off.  This is not the case, it is only good for a very severe scenario.

I probably will buy something like the Gamma Scout eventually when they go off backorder, but I do not believe that it will be useful for testing food.

It is a shame that the government with its large equipment budget is not willing to test our food for us.

I think some others have posted on this site or maybe in the Arnie Gunderson videos that the average person should not freak out but make a greater effort to wash food before eating and maybe not to track in a lot of dirt from outside the house.

Sorry that I can not be more helpful, but please take care to make sure that the device you buy will actually be usable to test food since most likely it will be not in our price range.

Joe

 

whoops – dogs replied while I was typing my response 🙂

  • Tue, Aug 16, 2011 - 01:13am

    #4
    Michael Frome

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    contamination meters

 Hi Elsur,

This is what we used when I was in the navy.  I gather there’s a few of them rattling around the surplus marketplace:

http://www.alpharubicon.com/basicnbc/anpdr27ser.htm

The AN/PDR27 has a removable "beta window" shield on one end…so that one can detect beta + gamma (window open) minus gamma (window closed) for a reading of beta emitting contamination.  We used these for decontamination work, they are not high range.

You’d also want the ability to detect alpha-emitting contamination (verry bad if ingested); we used the AN/PDR56 scint detector:

http://www.orau.org/ptp/collection/radiac/IM160PDR56.htm

 It had a very fragile element, as I recall (alpha particles are not very energetic – but they have a very high quality factor and are the most dangerous form of contamination when taken internally.  The foil over the probe therefore is exceptionally thin).

The civil defense meters I’ve seen are gamma-only, and seem to be calibrated into the "death zone" (!!)

As Dogs said, nothing worthwhile is likely to be cheap, and the things tend to be (relatively) fragile. 

Cheers,
Mike

  • Tue, Aug 16, 2011 - 01:17am

    #5
    Michael Frome

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    a quick google

 I found this with a quick google search:

http://www.dosimeter.com/survey-meters/

they look about right.  "Call For Price" looks kind of ominous though.

Cheers,

Mike

  • Tue, Aug 16, 2011 - 06:31am

    #6
    elsur

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    Testing Rain Water For Radiation

Thank you Dogs, Joe and BadScooter for your comments and links!  Sounds like the conversation is more complicated than I had thought.  I am checking into the detectors you mentioned.  Perhaps it may be more useful (and simple) to just try to test the rain water?  That way I would know what is falling on the garden, and what the animals are ingesting. 

I ran across this youtube of a fellow travellling across Canada testing the rain that fell on his windshield. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dccszCEKFdY

He is using a Russian-made Soeks Ecotester, which costs around $300 on Ebay.  The write up says that it tests nitrates in food as well, but I’m not sure if they mean radiation.  Does anyone have any info on this detector?

 

Thanks,

Elsur

  • Tue, Aug 16, 2011 - 05:55pm

    #7

    Dogs_In_A_Pile

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    Possible option….

[quote=elsur]

Thank you Dogs, Joe and BadScooter for your comments and links!  Sounds like the conversation is more complicated than I had thought.  I am checking into the detectors you mentioned.  Perhaps it may be more useful (and simple) to just try to test the rain water?  That way I would know what is falling on the garden, and what the animals are ingesting. 

I ran across this youtube of a fellow travellling across Canada testing the rain that fell on his windshield. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dccszCEKFdY

He is using a Russian-made Soeks Ecotester, which costs around $300 on Ebay.  The write up says that it tests nitrates in food as well, but I’m not sure if they mean radiation.  Does anyone have any info on this detector?

 

Thanks,

Elsur

[/quote]

elsur –

Rather than count rainwater, I would suggest you count activity in whatever particulates might be in the water and are left behind when the water evaporates.  A water sampler is tricky since it has to be calibrated properly to account for the shielding the water provides – there is a learning curve from an operations standpoint that is a little more complex than a "point and shoot" survey instrument for dry particulate radioactive contaminants.

I spent some time poking around and the following site looked reasonable – I have no interest or connection to these guys, they simply passed the sniff test, I’m sure others do as well.  They have entire monitoring systems but also separate instruments.  Getting both a radiation exposure survey meter AND a contamination survey meter seems like overkill for what your stated intentions are.  Based on what you’ve posted so far about what your use would be, I’d go with a contamination survey meter.

http://www.ludlums.com/

Price List – the specific radiation detectors and contamination survey meters star on page 7: 

The Model 44-92 Xenon Gas Proportional Beta/Gamma Detector wold probably suit all of your needs, you would need to call Ludlum and ask about the accuracy at low levels of activity/energy and contamination.

http://www.ludlums.com/images/stories/price_list/LMI%20Price%20List.pdf

Happy hunting.

  • Wed, Aug 17, 2011 - 10:02pm

    #8
    elsur

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    Wow – thanks Dogs – this is

Wow – thanks Dogs – this is hugely helpful!!  Upon checking out the links you provided, I can see once again that this is quite a complicated subject.  The contamination survey meter sounds like the way to go.  Would there be enough residue from a bit of evaporated water to sample – seems like once the water is dried up, there would be nothing visible there to test.   Alas, $1750 is out of our price range.

 

We feel uncertain now about going out when it’s raining, about eating our greens from the garden and about drinking the milk from our animals that graze.  We know of no reliable agency, educational institution or group that is doing monitoring and making the results public.  This is disconcerning.  So we would like to be able to answer the questions we have on our own.  Do you think there is some way we can know if our rain water is safe, without spending so much?  Perhaps another way to go would be to take rain water (or vegetable or milk samples) and send them somewhere reliable for testing.

 

We sure appreciate your feedback!

 

Elsur

  • Sat, Aug 20, 2011 - 02:46am

    #9
    elsur

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    Radioactive Rain in Canada

Here’s a youtube showing a Canadian citizen using a geiger counter to detect high levels of radiation after a rain storm, more than double previous high reads. I know nothing of this youtuber, and cannot vouch for him.  However, it does appear that the rain is radioactive, as of August 14th.  Any comments on this?

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBfvkCEr-Is&feature=player_embedded

 

Thanks,

Elsur

  • Sun, Aug 21, 2011 - 12:12am

    #10
    Chucks688

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    I’m curious…

It’s been about 20 years since I held a radiac, but I’m curious if a temperature inversion would provide those kinds of readings?

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