I was checking the Radiation Network crowd-sourced national Geiger counter readings map and noticed that they had an update for the extraordinarily high South Bend, Indiana reading from 6/6/2012. This did raise the alarm bell in the blogosphere. Apparently the same Geiger counter station has now been confirmed to be hooked up to both Radiation Network and Black Cat Systems. Therefore there was no second station in the area confirming the high reading as some speculated (it was the same station). Below is the Radiation Network alert which I have cut and pasted with the details:
[...]For the older reports of the South Bend, Indiana reading see:
Postscript: 6/16/12, 10:50 A.M: - Radiation Alert from Indiana
You may notice that the South Bend, Indiana station that triggered the high Alert on June 6th is back online. He plans to operate his station only while he is there to attend it, and has taken interim steps to improve the integrity of his system until he can build a dedicated setup just for the purpose of this radiation monitoring. A few new facts:
I myself have limited knowledge in electronics, but this station operator is very experienced, and putting all of the above facts together, along with the makeup of his system, which involved a series of UPS backups in combination with GFCI outlet and serial connections, his best judgment is that a ground loop had developed and triggered the high radiation levels showing on the softwares that fed the radiation networks - a fluke in his particular hardware combination.
There was no lightning storm at his location that evening. Confirmed that his monitoring station was feeding both the RadiationNetwork and the Black Cat Systems network simultaneously, using Virtual Serial Port Emulation software, which means there was no corroborating reading at the identical location from a different system, because the Black Cat reading was from the same Geiger counter. As stated before, the Black Cat system uses a different unit of radiation measurement, and there is also a lag time built into their reporting. Even though the RadiationNetwork had disabled his connection, the operator's station continued to run locally, and he found after awakening that the Geiger counter itself was showing normal readings as indicated by the occasional frequency of its blinking red light! It was the computer and software only that were registering high radiation levels. The Geiger counter was being supplied by A/C, not battery power, and it is the station operator's strong opinion that had the counter been running on a battery during the time of the incident, the alert would never have occurred.
In conclusion, the station operator has worked diligently in troubleshooting the problem, and has taken interim and permanent steps to build strong integrity into his monitoring system. He has been fully cooperative and responsive since the alert, and he has my full support. He wishes to reiterate his deep apology for the concern his false alert caused.
For our part, we at the Radiation Network need a faster reacting system to end false alerts sooner, but only after we have reasonably determined that the alert is in fact false. The genuine alerts stay - in keeping with our function as an early warning system.
One final note: Some media reports of this incident seemingly confused these two:
Big difference in many ways. You might review my assessment of "Radiation Monitoring by Government vs. Private Citizen", the 3/29/11 Update from the Archive2 page linked above.
Radiation Network - that's us, a privately owned and operated, citizen-based monitoring system, versus... RadNet, a Federal Government radiation monitoring system operated by the EPA.
- 6/7/2012 The 7000 CPM reading from South Bend, Indiana was a FALSE alert, RadiationNews
- 6/7/2012 High Geiger counter readings from South Bend, Indiana 7000CPM highest, RadiationNews