29C3: Safecast – DIY radiation monitoring project

In this presentation from the ongoing 29C3 Chaos Communications Conference in Hamburg, Germany, Sean Bonner shares his experiences overcoming technical and bureaucratic obstacles while attempting radiation monitoring in the wake of the March, 2012 Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant disaster. His observations led to the development of the Safecast DIY radiation monitoring device. The project’s goal is to design “an affordable mobile radiation sensor system for independent citizen monitoring and cartography of radioactive contamination.” The Safecast website also provides a venue where data readings can be collected and disseminated over the Internet.

Sean was assisted by many individuals in the development process, including Andrew (bunnie) Huang, who has detailed the development process further on his blog.

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  1. Best question+answer: “Q:how much is the does you accumulated yourself? A: Oh I don’t know, probably a lot. But I fly, so it does not matter anyway, we went up to the gates of fukishima, that is about as much radiation as you get from flying to Japan in the first place”…
    So.., this radiation is very very dangerous, but not for him?

    The bucket of water: around 15.000 people died in that tsunami, around 3 died at the fukushima plant. Worst case projections top at around 1000 people that will have their lives cut short by cancer caused by this event (hidden between millions that die of cancer anyway). Tsunami warning devices would have been a better idea.

  2. Yes, I was wrong: I see now I spelled ‘does’ where I meant ‘dosis’. As for your numbers f4eru:
    “A disaster-related death certificate is issued when a death is not directly caused by a tragedy, but by fatigue or the aggravation of a chronic disease due to the disaster. If a municipality certifies the cause of death is directly associated to a disaster, a condolence grant is paid to the victim’s family. If the person was a breadwinner, 5 million yen is paid.”
    So, these were not radiation deaths, as those would be directly caused by the disaster (uncertain if that includes the tsunami). On top of that there is a big financial incentive to get your family-members death counted as such even if they were old and frail in the first place. It just shows that the evacuation caused more deaths than it prevented. The article gives no data about the number of people that were evacuated in total, as with any group large enough you would expect a number of deaths to occur anyhow.

    As for your multiplication factors: eh, no? You just pulled those numbers out of thin air, didn’t you?

    You can indeed expect more deaths in 20 years and roughly 1/3 of them will be cancer deaths. But that is because people don’t live forever and 1/3 dies of cancer anyhow.
    Meanwhile ~15.000 people died in that tsunami, that is still about 30 times more that the numbers you referred to.

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