Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sources of Beta Radiation.

So many people are noting increases in Beta Radiation on their detectors at home. Yes, we are getting waves of it, and a lot of those spikes appear to be related to recent emanations from Fukushima, or; depending upon the wind direction, emanations from New Mexico. The most recent person that I communicated with was in Arizona.

Beta particles travel several feet in open air and are easily stopped by solid materials. When a beta particle has lost its energy, it is like any other loose electron. Whether in the outdoor environment or in the body, these electrons are then picked up by a positive ion. With that understanding, we know that Beta has to come from a radioactive source, like radioactive particulate blowing in the wind.

Some that we know of are as follows:

Strontium-90 is a commonly used beta emitter used in industrial sources. A lot of it is blowing over the United States from Fukushima so that would be one of the potential sources of Beta.

Tritium is a low-energy beta emitter and we know it is released from operating Nuclear Power plants with regularity. It is also leaking from Fukushima and we know it is being blown in the wind all over the northern hemisphere.

Cesium-137 has a half-life of 30 years, and decays by pure beta decay to a metastable state of barium-137. Again, Cesium is being blown in the winds from Fukushima.

Iodine 129 and 131 are also beta emitters, and could easily be blown in the wind from melting down nuclear power plants or from Radioactive waste that has escaped from containment.

Many radioactive isotopes (man made) from nuclear power plant operation are beta emitters. One example is Radon 224 which has a half life of 1.8 hours, so it could not be blowing from Fukushima, but could be blowing from New Mexico where they are storing exploding barrels of nuclear waste mixed with cat litter.

It is important to note that Cosmic Rays from space can strike Nitrogen atoms and turn the Nitrogen into Carbon 14, which is a Beta Emitter with a half life of over 5700 years. Thus Carbon 14 blowing past the detector port can cause slight fluctuations in Beta detection and can be net additive to Beta from other sources to create slight peaks in Beta measurement.

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Born Chicago. Lived: Palos Heights Chicago, Illinois; American Samoa; Mexico; Escondido and San Diego, California; and then I finally graduated from High School. Subsequently, 12 years in the Navy took me all over the world.