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Radioactive drone delivery

Dear Reader,

It has come to my attention that someone has been flying a drone in Japan with a radioactive sample on it, the fact that it contains both Cs-134 and Cs-137 suggests to me that it might be something from the Fukushima area. Cs-137 is a sure sign of radioactivity being formed from nuclear fission, while the Cs-134 is an isotope which is strongly associated with nuclear reactors. It is not formed by atom bomb detonations. The activity is likely to be low, the news story lacks a few things.

1. The dose rate of 1 microSv hr-1, at what distance was that measured at ?

2. How much activity was in the sample ?

My first guess was that someone has collected some radioactive muck from the environment near to Fukushima, and they are trying to scare people with it. The one microSv per hour is a very small dose rate, it is about the same as the background in many places in Europe (such as Göteborg, Sweden). A later news article suggests that the person who did it has been arrested by the police and that he did it to protest about the energy policy of Japan.

I would also like to point out that did the 1 microSv per hour include the background where the measurement was made ? This is an important question.

I would also like to suggest that if people want to protest against an energy policy (or another thing which takes their fancy) that they do not use radioactivity or objects which appear to be radioactive to scare or intimidate people. I have no idea what the state will do with Yasuo Yamamoto, but I would like him to grow up and have some more respect for radioactivity.

I know that radioactivity is not quite to everyone’s liking, I would be an idiot if I claimed that everyone loves radioactivity, but regardless of how radiophilic (radiation loving) or radiation averse you are it is wrong to contaminate or threaten to contaminate as part of a protest or as a means of disrupting the lives of others. I hold the view that delivering a “radioactive” sample on a drone in an attempt to get a religious, political, or ideological goal is in the same class of behaviour as sending a letter spiked with fake anthrax. Both acts are serious crimes and should earn the offender a trip to jail.


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