Please share far and wide!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Stock to Set Up Real Lab to Test Radiation In Food-- Gamma Spectroscopy

I mentioned last week that I came up with an idea for a much needed and much wanted service that is not being met.

People are very concerned with RADIATION IN THEIR FOOD and Water.

Yet there is no good and cheap way to really do it.    You can do some testing with a regular Geiger Counter, and if you get a positive, that food needs to be disposed of.    There are complications, and course the food sample should be completely dried and crushed as your results will be so much better.   Water blocks radiation, so the water in the food will block much of what you could otherwise detect.

There are also some common elements in food which are mildly radioactive, the most prominent being Potassium.   Your Geiger will detect these as well as other trace elements.

It can be hard to get a statistically significant sample.     Your Geiger will also not be able to tell whether you are receiving Alpha, Beta, or Gamma radiation from the food.

So this is a big problem with testing food.

The solution?   A high quality Gamma Scintillator (GS) with analysis and reporting abilities.    Of course this only detects Gamma, not Beta or Alpha, but Gamma can tell you  a lot about what isotopes are in the food based on the energy levels detected.

The downside---Very Expensive and requires training

The solution?    Crowdsourcing, with more than just a feel good payback.    For those donating $50 or more, I will run (1) food sample and provide a report with interpretation.

It will take some time to roll this out, make a budget estimate, pick equipment and training, do the crowdsource and hope, and then purchase, train, and test.


Some of my starting thoughts for NukePro Food Testing LLC

  1. Samples would be prepared and mailed in to a PO Box in mainland USA.
  2. I want to keep things as simple and non-bureaucratic, but also adhere to professional standards such as maintaining a "chain of custody" on handling the test materials.
  3. Sample sizes would need to be set and might be related to the type of sample.
  4. Only dried solids will be accepted at this time.     At this time I am thinking that it is only food products and maybe soil, perhaps Fiesta Ware or slightly radioactive ornaments.
  5. Sample would need to be fully dried out, not just for water shielding, but these might be in the mail for a week, and might sit in the lab for weeks waiting on testing time, so we can't have stuff rotting.
  6. Any known highly radioactive material, such as from an imaging machine or an opened up smoke detector SHALL NOT be sent to the lab.
  7. Duration of test time, would probably be around 1 day of run time in the GS.  The longer the better, but you have to be realistic.   Only 1 sample can test at a time.
  8. Turnaround time would be related to other business activities and the number of samples in queue to be tested.   It could be days or weeks.
  9. The test would be a wide ranging test, meaning that anything throwing off gamma energies would be detectable.
  10. Would Radiation fade over time?    Most of the Isotopes that worry us in terms of ingestion will be fairly long lived isotopes with half lives in years, so these wouldn't fade much at all while waiting for testing.     If sender had a big suspicion of a short lived isotope like I-131 they could note that on their Data Submission form and request expedited testing.
  11. Test report would be emailed out as a PDF with some interpretation
  12. Liability related to contaminated samples would need to be addressed.

Drying: A description of recommended drying methods will be provided, as well as guidelines on how dry is dry enough.    The dryer the sample, the less blocking of radiation by water particles and the more detail on the test results.    It is likely that microwave drying will be just fine, as Microwave is not an ionizing radiation, and although it will make free radicals in food and maybe other nasty effects, it will not change the amount of radioactive elements in the sample.  

 A online template "Test Sample Descriptor" will be provided and filled out by the Client which can also be a PDF printed, filled out, and sent with the sample.

This Test Sample Descriptor shall also be scanned to NukePro prior to mailing the sample.   We will respond with an approval to send and a sample ID.
  1. Product name
  2. Date purchased  
  3. Where bought
  4. Expiry date on product pkg 
  5. If known where food sourced from, or at least where the product package says the food is from
  6. Date sample dried
  7. Date sample put in mail to the Lab PO Box.
  1. People growing their own food and want to test the soil
  2. People growing their own food and want to test the food
  3. Seafood Eaters who hate to give up on seafood, but are concerned
  4. Concerned parents who want to make sure the food they are giving to babies and kids are safe during the especially important developmental phase.
  5. Commercial food producers who want to be sure their products are safe
  6. Commercial food producers or sellers who want to advertise "Radiation Tested and It's Clean"
  7. Anyone in Japan who worries about how much their government has been lying to them
  8. Anyone in USA who worries about how their government lied to them about Fukushima, and then jacked up the allowable limits, and promised Japan we would continue to buy their food.

The below is simply a storage space for my developmental work

from a test lab


  1. Beware that it might be illegal to offer radiation testing services to those in the State of Illinois. This is not legal advice, this isn't a put-on, and these are not the 'droids you are looking for (get a blackberry :lol).

    Why not some ideas on how one could make rudimentary spectroscopes via semiconductors? Software is free via University of Sydney's PRA.

    Why do i have to tie myself to a lab, when all i need is a rudimentary approximation?
    (and also the possibility of differing "sensors" for different spectrum bands to add beta and alpha?

    "Theremino"-like devices, anyone?

    1. I like the idea that my results will have real credibility behind them....I am not too good at board level soldering and electronics. Have done some, but very basic.

    2. I like that idea too!
      I think your plans are great, it's just ... I can't participate.

      Am simply wishing there were options for do-it-yourselfers.
      It would offer more avenues for comparison with lab results.
      Am very surprise you haven't obtained any prebuilt modules.

      Soldering isn't difficult. It's a degenerate form of welding, IMHO.
      Use the leaded solder to start. It has a lower melting point, better wettability & flow characteristics and doesn't exhibit "tin whiskering" phenomenon nearly as bad as tin solder. Thermal conductance seems better too.
      Some similar rules to welding apply. Clean your joints, and keep your tip clean too!
      May you never find yourself Welding whilst on an Electrical job! :lol

      Always wanted to test GMAW with DC electrode negative, to look for Bremstrahlung phenomenon with a crude x-ray spectrometer.
      The thinking was that polarity could dramatically reduce exposure (which has cumulative risk). Had postulated that AC & DC electrode positive were the modes to avoid.

      Teacher in school denied me bringing my own computer into shop, despite everyone ELSE having stupid phones. Not allowed to use my modded infrared cam too.

      Nobody taught about NORM in the trades division of that university either.
      Pretty sad that so many going into mining & oil/gaz industry go in with their brain slugs improperly installed.

      NRC most recent Brain Slug habitation, from their whoremesis bullshit! :P
      Stupid fockers! They've gone "nukular" for sure. At least they are leaving little room for doubt now!

      The loose cannon below seems to have two slugs in place what with his take on globular warming. Follow the funding stream all the way up shit creek and see if you can still spawn.

      Speaking of streams and spawn, would love to send you some Sockeye bones from last year. Would be cool to go pick some Matsutake in the autumn as well.

      My condolances to obewan on the passing of his brother, if i read that right. Disturbs me to think of the possibility of losing one of mine (and am thinking of the one with strange dis-ease. Doc says holes in bone were a genetic condition. Unintentionally irked bro by asking "how much dna is there in bone, anyway?")

      Anyway, am hoping you and yours are well. Mahalo, sir. Tip it real good.

    3. LOL "The loose cannon below seems to have two slugs in place what with his take on globular warming. Follow the funding stream all the way up shit creek and see if you can still spawn."

      I have bought some semi-pro soldering stuff, am ready to tackle board level soldering, watched one of my electrician in Hawaii do it, guy with an amazing variety of talents, and 4 pit bulls, lol

    4. (Opaque sheets help prevent Solar System installing Electricians from suddenly changing professions to Welder!)

      Sink away heat with a good set of roach-clips.
      Tip cleanliness is next to Godliness.
      Use the correct flux (rosin-core).
      Silver solder is good shite.
      A little of any solder goes a long way.
      Take your time - never rush - Haste makes eWaste. (Dud-TM :lol - you "TM" it, if avail.)
      Practice makes perfect. We learn best (by others mistakes, but mostly ...) by doing.
      You will have your own ideas and apt insights!
      Please share them, if appropriate. (it doesn't have to be me, though)

      Oh, and static kills CMOS. Practice good anti-static precautions.
      Build upon good habits, leave the bad habits to others.

      Am used to learning from young, old, male, female, etc. Seems kind of odd that you might have anything to learn from me, yet i should marvel not - it probably won't last long (d'oh).
      Truth knows no age, gender, creed or color. It certainly seems to shy away from those that do consider such things above all, though (along with Word & Wisdom).

  2. The thing is that you aren't qualified nor certified to conduct such tests. It's pure hubris on your part to think you have professional level knowledge to offer people. This is why medical doctors and other professions charged with protecting public health and safety. You've taken your delusion too far. Sure you can offer any service just as any quack doctor but it doesn't make you credible. It makes you dangerous. Eventually you will be shut down or worse, by those agencies you despise. It is what it is friend. Get help. Antintinuclearism is also responsible for global warming. Follow the funding stream.

    1. Go screw yourself troll. Sure you need to do a background, need a lead shield, need to calibrate to standards once in a while. There will be challenges, but for someone with an MSME and 34 years of technical experience and significant radiation training it will simply be a matter of prudence and doing it.

      Instead of lambasting the efforts to get real radiation information to people for a cost they can afford, you could provide from references on how to do it the best way.

      Instead, you show your true colors.

  3. Hi Stock,
    I may have the equipment you need to furnish your laboratory. Once I have a full inventory list of what is in storage, I will send it to you. The equipment is not new, but ranges from the mid 1970's to the 1990's. I will donate it to you but I will need to be reimbursed for shipping costs.

  4. Stock, I will be glad to donate $50 when you get a pay pal account or something up and running. We need some accurate facts.


Insightful and Relevant if Irreverent Comments