Man, I would bet that you could name your price on a plane ticket outta Japan right now and probably get it.
So far the images and stories generated from this disaster are pretty much what you expect…empty shelves, footage of people walking along highways, rubble everywhere, and that sort of things. The pictures of folks running around with nuke survey gear is a new one though.
In his excellent book, Nuclear War Survival Skills , Kearny gives info on how to make your own fallout monitoring device from household goods. Apparently, it works but there are other alternatives.
The Nuk-Alert keychain device has always interested me but not enough to drop the money for one. It is listed as being sensitive to gamma and x-ray radiation but, and I think Im probably off on this one, I was under the impression that most nuclear accidents involved alpha and beta radiation which is, as far as radiation goes, fairly tame stuff. Hmmm…I need to drag out my nuclear war references and double check that. I suspect that once this ‘blows over’ (!) and things quiet down Im going to have to go ahead and pick up a Nuk-Alert or two. The true do-it-yourselfer may simply whip up a scintillator and hope it’s for the right wavelength.
The various surplussed Civil Defense meters that are available (and, amazingly, still in use in some municipalities), would probably work for detecting increased levels of radiation but they need to be calibrated and that is not something that you can do at home with your meter and a broken smoke detector.
:::sigh::: I’ve actually got a pretty good library at home regarding this sort of thing…I just havent read it in quite a while since the likelihood of needing the information seemed to have dwindled. If nothing else, I should go re-read the parts about different types of radiation, decay rates, absorption and lethal dosages just so I can understand the news better.