Rain Water & Rain Swab Testing Reports for 2012

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Station location
http://sccc.org.au/monitoring/Australian-Map.jpg

 
This short animation of Northern, and Southern Hemisphere air circulation, shows why we can get detections so far south.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qh011eAYjAA

 

Roof down pipe filter design for rainwater testing, http://sccc.org.au/down-pipe-filter-design


Radon washout detection test chart, (24/09/2012) Used a much better system to capture Radon decay isotopes in the hot rain from another storm that came through on the evening of the 24th. Using surgical gloves as the sample was hot. Wiped a paper towel over the bonnet of a car and kept turning it over and folding the paper towel swab on itself after each wipe .  Then squeezed out as much water as possible.

 

This was then put into a zip lock plastic bag, and put into the testing chamber. It was 4x more radioactive than the last storm radon washout test sample used on the 21st. This allowed for a much more detailed spectrum to be recorded.

 

The first storm radioactive washout test chart in my post on the 25th ran for 2.75 hours. Radon decay chain isotopes decay quickly and the chart peaks get overwhelmed by background, so the test was stopped after 2.75 hours, and the test results saved.

 

Using the same swab a new test was immediately started. This time for a longer duration test. It ran for an extra 9.39 hours. So at this point the original sample had been decaying for 12.4 hours when this test was stopped and the results saved.

 

The short period chart shows the type of peaks you expect from Lead Pb-214 decay in Radon washout.

Short period chart minus background,

http://sccc.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Rain-swab-test-2.75-hours-B-240912-71-10.jpg

 

That is because Lead Pb-214 decay gives out gammas in this ratio of 242 keV (7.25%), 295 kev (18%), and 352 keV (35.6%). So the highest peak should be at 352 keV. Which it is.

 

The longer period chart shows a prominent peak develop at 242 keV. This was unexpected and is under investigation.

Longer period chart minus background,

http://sccc.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Rain-swab-test-9.39-hours-B-240912-71-10.jpg

 

Conducted a longer term test on a rain swab sample taken from another rain event on the 11th October. Left it sit for a longer period of time to allow the short term Radon daugthers to decay away, and tested it again.  What was detected was the longer life isotope signature of Radon decay, Lead Pb-210 at 47 keV.

 

What has been detected at present is a significant increase in radioactive Radon gas in the atmosphere when Northerly air arrives in the area.  Other radioactive isotopes that could be atributed to the Fukushima nuclear disaster have not been detected in this series of tests.

 

Radon washout detection test chart, (21/09/2012)  The first storm of the season came through late on the afternoon of the 21st. The wind was coming from the North / North east, and the storm came in from the South West, over the top of this northerly surface air flow.

 

I did a paper towel swab off the top of two wheelie bin lids. This is the first time I have done any swabs here, and actually got a hot detection with the GS (Gamma Scout Geiger Counter). The swab test GS visual peak was 0.28 uSv/hr and the data log peak was 0.35 uSv/hr.

 

I immediately put the swab into the scintillator test chamber, in a zip lock plastic bag. It was decaying quickly, so the chart is a bit rough. The screen shot  was the test chart after 3 hours of testing. The longer I left it in the test chamber, the more the chart data was overwhelmed by background. This is because it was decaying quickly.

 

A rough estimate is that it was half as active after 3 hours. Seems to be a Radon decay chain as Pb-214 and Bi-214 are the main peaks, and there is no indication of any radium. The good news is that I did not detect any fallout isotopes. The peak in the chart between 352 and 609 keV is a test chamber artifact.


Under sink activated charcoal based water filter test chart (03/09/2012) (Local background radiation was subtracted from the 24 hour test chart information to get better detail.)

 

An under kitchen sink water filter was pulled apart to get to the carbon core. This 600 gram carbon core was dried, and ground, into smaller pieces, and then placed around the scintillator to test it. It had been in use for the last 8 months, or longer.

 

It would appear there is a very small amount of soil contamination in the water supply. It is being filtered out by the water filter. Hence the peaks for the isotopes of Radium Ra-186 keV, Lead Pb-242, 295, 352 keV and Bismuth Bi-609 keV that can be found in most soil tests.  The suggestion is that the peaks around, 83 and 92 Kev are from Thorium. Some local soil probably contaminates, in varing amounts, all town water supplies. There are very tiny amounts here.


Helpful Tools & Services
International Food Contamination
Reports "The Food Lab"
Local Background
Radiation Long Term Data
Free Geiger
Counter Use Guide
Free DIY food
testing lab guide
Local Live
Monitoring Stations

Disclaimer: This is an amateur volunteer run service. Human error can provide incorrect information, and equipment malfunction can produce false readings. Do not rely on, or take action upon information presented on this web site, without further research. Views expressed in the pages or images on the SCCC Inc., site maybe the personal opinions of the relevant writers, and are not necessarily representative of those of SCCC Inc.