Safecasting at 10,000 meters and 785km/hr

Recently I had a chance to travel to Boston to meet up with fellow Safecasters at the MIT media lab. As I’m now armed with a nice set of Geiger counters, I decided to measure the radiation during the flight. By doing this with the same equipment we use, we can get a good idea how it compares with what we see on the ground in Japan.

I used a Thermo Scientific B20 geiger counter that has the same 2″ inch pancake sensor as the Medcom Inspector used in the bGeigie. It has a few handy data logging capabilities that were useful in measuring the radiation.

So here are the results during the trip:

– Flight: Tokyo – Boston
– Dose rate in Chiba/Ichikawa: 0.2µSv/hr
– Peak dose rate inside an X-ray machine: 1.65mSv/hr (luggage only!)
– Peak in-flight dose rate: 3.7µSv/hr
– Average dose rate: 1.75µSv/hr
– Dosage during trip: 21µSv
– Dose rate in Boston: 0.10µSv/hr
– Dose rate on red bricks in Cambridge: 0.23µSv/hr (red bricks naturally are slightly radio active)
– Dose rate in front of MIT nuclear reactor in Cambridge: 0.11µSv/hr

Of course when we compare radiation in an airplane to radiation from contamination in Fukushima, in the airplane people are exposed only to cosmic gamma rays, and for a relative short duration. In the Fukushima disaster, people are exposed 24×7 and are exposed to the airborne particles that are strong beta emitters.

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SAFECAST Co-founder and Japan Director, based in Japan