I've had email correspondence with someone who has another perspective on the source of the high radiation posted by radnet for Iowa. He lives in the region and therefore has a vested interest in any high radiation levels. He also has a geiger counter and is not picking up high levels.
He does not think the radiation is from Fort Calhoun. He believes the heat may be contributing to equipment malfunction in the radiation monitoring. I promised to post his explanation so here it is:
[regarding the high readings] I am coming to this issue from a data-standpoint. If there is data showing unusually high gamma or beta, then what are the other datapoints showing for that station?
If the other data is invalid - showing negative readings or incorrect values - then we may assume that the radiation data too may be flawed.
Why? Because the components of a radiation monitoring station are all linked - via common cables, and a common telemetry device, and a common datarecorder, etc....
If one part of the station is reflecting impossible values, then the whole dataset from that station must be called into question.
In this case, with the RADNET stations, there is backup data to rely on: there may be a TLD - Thernoluminescent Dosimeter - that is not connected to the rest of the equipment that can be checked and the air filters can be run to doublecheck the anomalies.
That is what the EPA should simply do - and we should demand: to run the filters for isotope analysis. What other backup data is there? I have my geiger counter - which is showing around 40-50 CPM alpha.beta.gamma, last nite and this am, in SE Iowa.
The other datapoints in Omaha,etc.. may be valid, Majia, and I don't want to imply that heat is causing these recorded spikes.
But I do know from a 2-month research project into a 2007 wildfire and running 100s of graphs on data from the CEMP NETWORK in Utah/NV/CA that extreme prolonged heat may have played a role in a week-long spiking of gamma in Milford, Utah
The DOE asserted that the extreme heat warped a SIM-socket that caused the faulty readings. I'm not sure if they were making that up but it is *believable* nevertheless because extreme heat can warp all sorts of cables and components, temporarily or permanent.
The heat could just make a small instrument problem larger.
However, I want to impress on you that *heat* is not the culprit in any radiation anomaly. Extreme heat only causes unusual radiation data when the heat causes equipment to not work properly. There are a number of reasons why equipment may malfunction. Heat is one reason. So is poor installation, loose cables, bad calibration, bad or worn out parts, etc.
So, if you see a range of values for radiation and temperature and precipitation that look normal, then the radiation data should be believable. If the range of values include impossible numbers even for one set of data, then the entire range of values is dubious.
I therefore think that if it is 120F in Arizona and the gamma is spiking, then it is all believable. But if the temp in Des Moines is -35F and the radiation is spiking, I would not believe the values until there is some backup confirmation.
....My rule of thumb is if I see a radiation spike, always check the temp and precipitation. If those data values are cooky, then I am inclined to think there is a station-wide problem.