Big Data

Monitoring the Spreading Radiation From Fukushima in Real Time

A journalist checks radiation level with her dosimeter near stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant of Tokyo Electric Power Co.

A journalist checks radiation level with her dosimeter near stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant of Tokyo Electric Power Co. // Yoshikazu Tsuno/AP

As the operators of the Fukushima nuclear power plant embrace the crazy-sounding (but not) plan to build an ice wall to contain radioactive water after a series of leaks and mishaps, concern is growing about the levels of radiation spreading to the surrounding area.

ATMC.JP has created a searchable radiation map for the country, which it says is updated every ten minutes with data from the Nuclear Regulatory Authority. As of Thursday evening in Asia, it shows somewhat higher levels of radiation, above 3.8 microsieverts per hour, more than 20 kilometers away from the coastal plant. These figures are still low—as a comparison, a flight between Tokyo and New York could expose passengers to 7 microsieverts per hour.

Japanese citizens and expats have been picking up their own, sometimes hand-soldered, Geiger counters and collecting radiation data since the Fukushima nuclear accident happened more than two years ago. Much of that data has been gathered and collated by SafeCast, a radiation-tracking project funded by donation, but it can only be updated as often as people physically go to areas and collect new readings.

Read more at Quartz

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// November 26
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