Amid Japanese Nuclear Concerns, RDTN Is a Crowdsourced Radiation Level Repository

Geiger counter

Japan's ongoing nuclear crisis has triggered radiation hysteria all over the world--thyroid-protecting potassium iodine pills are flying off the shelves in the U.S, Geiger counters are selling out in Paris, and all of a sudden, everyone seems to care how close they are to a nuclear plant. Enter RDTN, a crowdsourced radiation site that aims to keep users up to date on exactly how high radiation levels are in Japan and on the West Coast of the U.S. (the main overseas victim of Japan's minuscule radioactive fallout).

Designed by Portland-based Uncorked Studios, the site aggregates radioactivity data from a number of different sources to provide real-time information about Japan's nuclear situation--no need to rely on equivocating government statements about the disaster. So far, RDTN grabs data from The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) of Japan, Pachube.com, and reader submissions. Contributors need only take readings using a radiation detection device and post them to RDTN's main page to be included.

The point is not to create more fear about nuclear fallout. It is, according to RDTN, "not meant as a replacement for government nor nuclear agencies, but rather a supplement to them. Our hope is that clear data will provide additional context to the official word in these rapidly changing events."

So far, there isn't much new to report from the site. Tokyo, for example, has a reading of 0.084 microsieverts per hour. Normal exposure ranges from 0.03 microsieverts per hour to 0.23 microsieverts per hour. But if anything changes, RDTN is probably the place to look first.

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Read more coverage of the Japan earthquake.

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