Everybody has the ability to detect and measure fallout radiation now: smartphone cameras measure radiation
My blogger profile photo shows me measuring insignificant (compared to the natural 0.01 mR/hour or 0.1 microSievert/hour) Chernobyl fallout radiation in 1986. Nowadays, everyone can use the radioactivity sensitivity of the CCD camera chip in their smartphone to measure radiation. Just tape some lightproof black paper over the camera aperture (to keep ordinary light out) and that converts the smartphone camera into a gamma radiation meter (there is also software to calibrate it into an accurate gamma dose rate meter, as proved in the youtube video linked here):
That's fine for high levels of gamma from fallout in a nuclear attack, you say, but what about alpha radiation, either from fallout containing inhalation dangers due to Pu239 made from neutron capture in U238 in a nuclear explosion (which produces U239, decaying with a 23.5 minutes half life into Np239, which then decays with a 56 hours half life into Pu239), or in peacetime from Mr Putin's next attempt to assassinate someone using the alpha emitter Po210? Surely you need some expensive scintillation counter like the PCM5/1 with DP2R probe to reliably distinguish between alpha and beta/gamma, which I demonstrated on youtube?
|Turn the camera CCD chip in an old android based Samsung Mini smartphone into a reliable fallout radiation meter!|
|Nuclear Enterprises (EMI) Portable Contamination Meter 5, PCM5, with scintillation probe in current use for decontamination of nuclear waste.|
|EMI/Nuclear Enterprises radiation meters including two PCM1 alpha-beta discriminating meters, in the decontamination centre of the surprisingly hygienic but wicked Dr No, in the 1962 first James Bond movie.|
|Sean Connery using PCM1 in the 007 film Dr No, 1962.|
current political anti-nuclear bigotry news too depressing.
Links to app download for the Rolf Deiter Klein smartphone gamma dose rate measurement:
Note that in an emergency where this app (or another type of radiation meter) is not available, a smartphone can be used as a basic indicator of strong radioactive contamination without such an app simply by blanking off the camera lens (to make it lightproof) with black tape or a taped over piece of foil or black paper, and opening the camera app to observe the rate of small white flashes (like old fashioned analogue TV interference) on the black screen background. Rolf Deiter Klein gives data tables here which convert the number of flashes per minute for different types of phones in to radiation levels: http://www.rdklein.de/html/radioa_data.html. For example, my old Samsung Galaxy Mini GT-S5570 has a calibration conversion factor of 27 flashes per minute for each microGray per hour of gamma radiation:
|Different smartphone cameras have differing sensitivity to radiation: the Samsung Galaxy S4 gave 2 flashes per minute for 1 microGray/hour while the Samsung Galaxy Mini GT-S5570 have 27 flashes/minute for the same radiation level. In general, the newer and higher quality the smartphone camera, the more sensitive it is to radiation. (If you have a phone that has two cameras (front and back), you only need to cover up one of the cameras with tape to use as a radiation meter, leaving the other camera free to take pictures or video. The full list of data is found at: http://www.rdklein.de/html/radioa_data.html.)|
(For those unfamiliar with radiation units, 1 milliGray = 1000 microGray = 0.001 Joule/kg = 0.1 rad which for low LET gamma radiation with RBE =1 is equal to 0.1 rem or 1 milliSievert. For RBE =1, Grays and Sieverts are identical. For short term exposure over a few days or less, 10 Sieverts is the lethal dose, but spread out over 25 years in the bones of radium dial painters this dose was just the threshold dose needed to cause bone cancer, because of the repair by protein P53 to damaged DNA at low dose rates which is not possible at very high dose rates.)
His downloadable app simply counts the flashes and gives the conversion automatically. This is useful for very high radiation levels, but even then, without the app you can still get an idea of the relative strength of the radiation by the rate at which white flashes appear on the camera when the lens is properly covered. For example, if you take shelter in a concrete building, this will give an idea of the relative degree of fallout protection. It will make radiation visible, and provides a great civil defence use for old "network locked" smartphones (even without a SIM card, the WiFi network access allows radiation meter apps to be downloaded, installed and properly checked). This information about the use of smartphone cameras as nuclear radiation indicators should be included in modern civil defence handbooks. Being able to get an indication of harmful radiation using an everyday device like a smartphone should be useful information in a radiation emergency affecting a large area and thousands of people.
UPDATE: I have scanned in and uploaded to Internet Archive the full 1940 British Government handbook, Your Home as an Air Raid Shelter, with some extracts from other relevant documents appended. This information was fully tested and developed in World War II, and the Marxist attacks on civil defence facts have been responsible for the unnecessary injury and deaths of many thousands of people. Note particularly that I have also included (beginning at page 198) important extracts from the U.K. Civil Defence Training Memoranda 1-5, which explain how civil defence was a necessary part of the defeat of fascism in World War II. Note also that two of those five civil defence training memoranda were classified "Restricted", and those contained important civil defence information about civil defence throughout the world and also about the factual secret-classified U.S. Strategic Bombing Report 92 volume 2 on the real origin of the Hiroshima firestorm (obsolete, Japan-specific overturned charcoal cooking braziers in wooden homes of paper screens, not thermal flash as widely supposed by anti-civil defence exaggerations). My father was a Civil Defence Corps instructor in Colchester and found that most of the impressive evidence for making the case against hate-attacks on civil defence was classified "Restricted", and marked not for publication in newspapers. Therefore, proponents of civil defence in the Civil Defence Corps had their hands tied at the time, a tragedy when the unclassified publications (containing assertions without any evidence to back them up, due to secrecy) were held up for "ridicule" by bigoted, misinformed, ignorant MPs in the House of Commons during the 1960s.
The secret bureaucracy of the civil service in Britain prevented the proper evidence for civil defence from being used to discredit Marxist anti-civil defence propaganda by Jeremy Corbyn, Duncan Campbell, Phil Bolsover, and other folk. This bigoted, ill-informed, hate campaign of lies by ranting thugs has gone largely unopposed by "intelligent journalists" (mostly bigots and smug elitists) and thus has cost a great many lives in many wars since then. (Ignorant attacks on indoor shelters by the Cambridge Scientists Anti-War Group in the 1930s helped to kill thirty thousand in Britain before people like Lord Baker finally succeeded in getting the message through directly to Winston Churchill that indoor shelters can be made cheaply to save lives in comfort whereas outdoor shelters proved mostly too uncomfortable due to cold and flooding.) While the U.N. years "talking peace" over the Syrian civil war, simple relatively low cost countermeasures to reduce casualties from sarin and explosives are discounted in favour of an impractical, bigoted-propaganda based falsehood that the "only" options are either for a peace agreement/ceasefire or for an escalation to topple Assad. In reality, as with Saddam's threat, civil defence is a better proof tested and cheaper option to reduce casualties! Few editors in the media/government/U.N./disarmament lobby/CND want to launch a massive civil defence campaign to reduce casualties, they play politics while people suffer as a result.
UPDATE (15 April 2017): journalist Richard Madeley in 15 April 2017 Daily Express sensibly suggests: "Let's Send Gas Masks to Syria" (clip extract below):
The problems with this are that it is too limited a civil defence response, as we pointed out before on this blog, first most of the casualties are actually from bullets and debris from explosions (rather than gas, which produces only a small percentage of the casualties), and Syrian rebels tend to intercept aid supplies and get hold of any gas masks supplied, leaving the civilians unprotected. What is needed is a full WWII British civil defence type initiative, including the best proof-tested, low cost indoor sheltering techniques from bullets/shrapnel/blast debris, as well as gas proof rooms and masks. Sarin, for instance, is a danger in droplet form on the skin, so merely wearing a gas mask is not a complete solution, although it gives a high protection factor because any nerve gas is far more lethal to lung tissue than to the skin. Therefore, sheltered rooms - with window glass replaced by boarding, since explosives are often dropped ahead of gas, to break windows - is needed to avoid any risk of skin contamination by liquid droplet nerve agents. The same is necessary for protection against the dangers from blast, shrapnel and debris from explosions. On the other hand, well done Richard Madeley for daring to take the minority common sense viewpoint against the modern day equivalent of the nasty, "elitist", dogmatically political and fanatically anti-civil defence "Cambridge Scientists Anti-War Group" who ignore any evidence that contradicts them and sneer at proper criticisms.
Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, director of Doctors Under Fire, has now confirmed that Assad used sarin nerve gas, with the following evidence:
"It is now clear that the deadly nerve agent sarin, the same agent which the Assad regime used to kill up to 1,500 people in East Ghouta near Damascus in August 2013, was used in the chemical attack on Idlib last week. As the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) adviser during the incident last week, I can confirm that samples smuggled out to Turkey have proved positive for sarin ...
"President Bashar al-Assad appears to use chemical weapons when he is in serious trouble or bogged down in a fight. The attack at East Ghouta saved the regime, as many believe it was about to be overrun by rebels in August 2013. Extensive use of chlorine in Aleppo in December 2016 broke an almost five-year siege, and the attack last week was to try to take Idlib, which has resisted throughout the civil war. President Trump's targeting of the air base from which the Syrian Air Force jets took off was a reasonable, proportionate and effective way to re-impose a chemical weapons taboo so effectively shattered in 2013 by international inaction over the Ghouta chemical attack.
"The numbers of those killed and injured (up to 100 people died and hundreds more were injured) suggest that a large amount of sarin was used, way beyond the capability of any al Qaeda groups who might have very small amounts of the agent. The most likely scenario is that Syrian jets dropped a number of bombs filled with the deadly agent.
"Conspiracy theories that these jets targeted Al Nusrah ammunition dumps that were full of sarin are unrealistic ... The Russians must have been aware that the Syrian regime has been using chemical weapons, in particular chlorine barrel bombs dropped from helicopters."