Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Scientists keep watch on Japan radiation levels from a campus rooftop

Five thousand miles from Japan, UC BERKELEY SCIENTISTS don't have to read the headlines to know what is happening at a crippled nuclear power plant. They just need to glimpse at their computer screens. There, a steady stream of data from Berkeley's air, rain and creekwater samples shows peaks and troughs of radioactive contamination -- posing no threat to Californians' health, but telling a tragic tale of Japan's struggle to contain the threat. More than two weeks after an earthquake and tsunami damaged the plant, little official information has come from Japanese authorities about what exactly is being released, and how it is likely to behave. But the UC Berkeley team, led by Kai Vetter, also with Berkeley Lab, publishes its daily analysis on the department's website. More>