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article imageFalse alarm over high radiation readings in Indiana

By Elliott Freeman     Jun 7, 2012 in Science
The website for Radiation Network, the United States' radiation monitoring network, is blaming an equipment malfunction for the extremely high radiation levels that were detected last night by a monitoring station in South Bend, Indiana.
As we reported early this morning, the radiation monitor in question had recorded radiation levels as high as 7,139 counts per minute (CPM), which is more than 100 times higher than normal levels. According to the website, any readings above 100 CPM usually trigger an alert.
The service's initial statement in response is as follows:
Very high reading in South Bend, IN station this evening. Reason unknown. Station unresponsive to contact at this late hour. Since this same station has triggered the Alert system before, which [sic] Alerts may have been false, and because his current readings do not appear to be corroborated by nearby stations, we have disabled his station for the time being. Will report back when we know more.
Then, at 7:45 a.m., posted the following explanation on its website:
The alert level reading last evening appears to be a false alert from an equipment malfunction. Here is the station's report:
"out of control readings on the GeigerGraph screen from about 11:30pm local time that occurred while sleeping. My apologies to all. I have no idea what caused this. Shut down GeigerGraph and restarted. Readings from the Geiger were in the normal range (the Geiger operates on A/C). All cable connections are tight and not loose. Am speculating between the GFI and USB Adapter and some sort of voltage spikes. The uninterruptable power supply UPS had lost power and had died - a tripped GFI. I am not going to leave the system running while not at home until I can determine and fix the problem."
The online geiger counter monitoring network operated by Black Cat Systems reported high radiation levels as well. However, according to the RadNet statement, some of the RadNet stations feed simultaneously to the Black Cat Systems network, which may explain why a high reading was showing on their network at the same time. officials have not yet responded to a request by Digital Journal for further comment.
More about Radiation, radiation levels, Indiana, geiger counter, nuclear radiation
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