Two days ago we put up a post about a UC Berkeley Nuclear Engineering web site at which you can find radiation data measured from samples collected on the roof of Etcheverry Hall on the UC Berkeley campus, as well as read a narrative log of results.
That post has proved very popular, with people finding it via search terms like “radiation levels in california,” “california radiation levels,” “bay area radiation,” “japan california radiation,” and “justin bieber” (I keyworded that just to lure in more people. Ha ha just kidding.)
Anyway, it’s pretty clear that people are still concerned about the inter-continental radiation catching the Pacific jetstream for a free ride over to our neck of the woods.
Concerned, understandably. I mean, I don’t know the difference between a becquerel of Cesium-134 and a pint of ice cream, do you? And when it comes to radiation, ignorance is not bliss.
So for further clarification, we interviewed Dan Chivers, a research scientist in the UC Berkeley Department of Engineering, which maintains the radiation data web site. In the interview, Chivers recapitulated the meaning of the data posted by his lab, stressing the negligible amount of radiation that has been measured to date.
Just one comparison made on the site: It would take 487 years of breathing air that contains the amount of Iodine-131 the lab measured on one particular day to equal the amount that an individual is exposed to on a single cross-country round-trip in an airplane.
Listen below, and note that KQED’s Cy Musiker will be talking to Dan Chivers today at 5:30 p.m. on the radio. Listen here.