SAN FRANCISCO (CNET) — The intensifying nuclear crisis in Japan is raising anxieties on both sides of the Pacific over the potential impacts of radiation exposure, and a relative dearth of official information on radiation levels is leading some to turn to crowdsourced options.

>> Complete Coverage: Disaster In Japan

Japanese officials warned residents living near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to stay indoors after a third explosion at the plant in four days, followed by elevated radiation levels around the plant, which the officials said were high enough to harm human health. Panic was reported in Tokyo, as radiation levels rose to as much as 23 times the normal level, according to some reports.

With official estimations of the threat from radiation across Japan changing rapidly and sometimes inconsistent, a number of real-time amateur radiation monitors have popped up online. A live geiger counter at updates a graph with data every 60 seconds, and a uStream channel broadcasting the digital display of another Tokyo geiger counter was drawing more than 14,000 viewers earlier today.

A few thousand miles across the Pacific to the east, state and federal officials in Hawaii and West Coast states said they did not anticipate any threats to public health from radiation drifting in from Japan. Despite such reassurances, Arizona-based is seeing a run on radiation monitoring equipment. The site was down for a while following the announcement of the Fukushima leak, and came back online Tuesday morning with this message:

Due to the disaster in Japan, orders for Geiger Counters have outstripped supply. Initial orders were filled immediately from stock on the shelves at our location and the warehouses of our suppliers. But at this point, there are simply not enough detectors available to meet the overwhelming demand. At least one of our suppliers has adopted a “triage” method of doling out the limited supply of detectors remaining until more can come off the factory line.

Fallout Fears Cause Bay Area Run On Potassium Iodide

The same Arizona company also runs, a crowd-sourced radiation-monitoring network of roughly a dozen or so unofficial monitoring sites around the United States, updated every three minutes. So far, all monitoring stations report radiation measurements well within normal background levels.

California Dept. of Public Health > Radiation FAQs

It’s important to stress that few if any sources keeping an eye on the situation expect threatening levels of radiation to reach the western hemisphere, but the situation in Japan is still evolving. Meanwhile, there’s still time to get in on the crowd-sourced monitoring effort–the Radiation Network offers monitoring equipment and software to sync up to its radiation map.

(© 2011 CBS Interactive. All rights reserved.)

Comments (76)
  1. Nicholas Wang says:

    The biggest disaster that hit the expats living in Tokyo is NOT the earthquake or the radiation, but the irresponsible mass media bombarding their families back home with dire news of nuclear fallout! These news are putting a huge amount of stress on both the families and the people living (normally) in Tokyo! Meanwhile, the real tragedy of tens of thousands of displaced Japanese who lost everything in the tsunami are forgotten. News organizations these days make me sick! I’m getting all my news from Twitter and I hope these crowdsourced reports will enlighten everyone to turn off their TVs!

    From a husband of a worried wife.

    1. Winston Smith says:

      Please shut up. We are NOT getting accurate reports of the genuine dangers of the radiation, and you’re whining that it’s overhyped? There are TWO reactors with containment breaches; that fact is bigger than the tsunami damage, as horribly bad as the latter is.

      1. Fanny Forbes Franklen says:

        If you’re still relying on the Old Media for your information you will not be informed. Alex Jones over at has had the best and most accurate information.


      2. Whoabegone says:

        Wow. Winston, get a clue. Someone expresses their opinion and you tell them to shut up. Don’t know where your from, and frankly don’t care. You have every freedom to express your opinions, be wise enough to allow others to as well.

    2. dootise says:

      you’d do better to ask yourself how you know of the ‘REAL TRAGEDY OF TENS OF THOUSANDS WHO LOST IN TSUNAMI…BLAH BLAHBLAGH.. The reason you know those things is becasue…..what for it…the MEDIA told you. Think of four isotopes…do some research on them..YOu can’t protect the wifey, the kiddies or your own ass from most of them. Iodine 131, Cesium, Strontium 90, Uranium….and another clue..Your wifey is responsible for her own mindset…not you.

  2. Steve Padilla says:

    To quote Barry “O” “let me be clear, the reason there is a “a relative dearth of official information on radiation levels” is not indicative of high or low levels. It is only confirmatory of the fact that our governments who serve at the pleasure of the worldwide oligarchy could give a rats ass about you or me.

    They are only interested in control and power (Not the nuclear kind either). Even if that means allowing a few hundred thousand or million to die of radiation exposure as long it doesn’t interfere with there management of all us “little” (and expendable) people.

    Take Katrina as a good example. Some people confused FEMA’s job as being to help people. It was never about helping those people. It was about controlling them (which they did well -great job Brownie) Same with the the Global warming scam scaring people into submission to global collectivism with all power (and wealth) redistributed into the hand of the global elite (no you).

    1. former democrat says:

      Steve, go bqack on the meds, or name a few of these global characters that control us all.

      1. Winston Smith says:

        You can start by researching Henry Kissinger, David Rockefeller, and the Bush Crime Family.

      2. libero says:

        you are right. i just checked Yahoo! Trending Now and guess what we all find interesting: Drew Barrymore, Emma Watson, Rihanna and Tax Preparation.

        thank god for Y!

    2. Christina Jones says:

      The Bush Crime Family. REALLY????? Get off your soap box and realize that what happened and is happening is tragic. Everyone has the right to feel or think the way that want. Including you. I feel and think you are a nut job. The government is lying to us about everything.
      NICE, our President was golfing this weekendend while our friends in Japan were dying, GREAT LEADERSHIP!!!
      Clinton and the US Surgeon General both talked out of their a**es in the last few days.
      Do I feel safe with them in control? NOOOOOOOOOOO! Neither should you. However, it is my husband and my job to protect and plan for our three children. Dont depend on the government to help you and you wont be dissappointed when they DON’T!!!!

      1. CommonCents says:

        Yes Christina.. the Bush Crime syndicate, here’s a synopsis of 3 generations:

        Prescott Bush = Skull & Bones, Helped fund and build-up Hitler’s war machine.
        G.H.W. Bush = Skull & Bones, Chinese Ambassador, Director CIA, V.P. and President.
        G.W. Bush = Skull & Bones, Governor of Texas, President

        Oh, and before you call me a Liberal… far from it. I’m a Nationalist.

        BOTH political parties are filled with NWO shills working for criminal rackets!

    3. Travis C says:

      Bump for Steve. ‘Former Democrat’ – quick sucking your thumb. Research yourself. If you dare to know.

  3. Josh says:

    Thanks for your insight. It’s amazing that not a single reporter has analyzed the situation in a down-to-earth manner like this (or in any manner). Of course, they think we’re all too stupid to understand, so they just tell us the important things like — “oh no, it’s bad!” “can it happen to us?” “there is nothing you can do, except by tablets, hide in your basement, and cry!”

    1. Sparkjockey says:

      Spelling errors do not help your cause.

  4. Winston Smith says:

    “There was and will *not* be any significant release of radioactivity.”

    The guy who wrote this is a KOOK – there are two containment-breached reactors SPEWING radiation. That statement is all you need to know to dismiss everything he writes.

    1. nightwriter says:

      Winston, you obviously live in the Bay Area! Put your dress on and go take a stroll down California Street. It will calm you down! BTW, I live here too and I am having a great time watching you limp-wristed fools run around screaming about radiation posioning. There are lots of lawyers on California Street… wobble in there on you high heels and start your next lawsuit! Useful idiot!!!

  5. fredb says:

    What a load of BS, If all of these reactors were fueled with uranium oxide, they are not, some reactor 3 are fueled with MOX Mixed oxide fuel rods (look it up)

    1. Winston Smith says:

      One particle of Plutonium dust inhaled = guaranteed cancer. FACT.

      MOX = Plutonium & Uranium mix.

    2. dootise says:


  6. Barrium Obama says:

    Geez this is bad. After I figure out if Old Dominion can get by Butler an 8 seed, I will look into all this.

    1. Craigster says:

      I don’t think Obimbo is far enough along to realize that the situation is bad. And he is getting ready to party in Rio after his b-ball picks so he won’t get to this until it after he returns from samba lessons. By then the situation will have been resolved and he will then claim credit.

      1. dootise says: aren’t paying attention…the 7th fleet and the USS Reagan, a nuke powered ac went to the scene and then had to head out to sea..why??? oh why???? radiation levels..that was four days ago. Neither Barack Obama, nor Glenn Beck, nor Sarah Palin, nor Jesus Christ canb stop a nuclear meltdown..once it has begun.

  7. Hank Warren says:

    Useless EPA, yet another violation of our rights. Add it to the list of gov’t violations of our right:
    They violate the 1st Amendment by placing protesters in cages, banning books like “America Deceived II” and censoring the internet.
    They violate the 2nd Amendment by confiscating guns.
    They violate the 4th and 5th Amendment by molesting airline passengers.
    They violate the entire Constitution by starting undeclared wars for foreign countries.
    Impeach Obama and sweep out the Congress.
    (Last link of Banned Book):

  8. dootise says:

    you are just …..full of goo

  9. TheEye says:

    Been living in Tokyo for 30 years plus. Believe me, there is more panic on the other side of the pacific than there is here. This is swine flu, bird flu, west nile virus times a million. Too bad but with all those pandemics that has laid us all to waste, there is no one left to die from radiation poisoning.

  10. JD says:

    I was literally looking at EBAY for potassuim iodine pills about two days before the earth quake. Ever since the 24 season 5 or 6 episode about a nuke I did research and know it’s survivable if you aren’t in a direct attack, but the main thing that will get you is the thyroid issue. After that it’s simply all about not breathing radioactive dust particles and getting away from the area, as it’s a matter of time and distance. The radiation is about 1 percent it’s initial level about two weeks later, and 1 percent of tha two weeks after that, etc.
    Of course the main use is if you live near a nuclear plant, and if you take the pill you’re good to go, just don’t linger in the area if it’s still ongoing. But even then it’s really not that bad if a few kilometers away, but why risk it.

  11. DEF says:

    PLEASE FORGET REALITY, We live in the age of “Political correctness”!!…No worries, until “Mother says, May I’

  12. iusbvision says:

    Chill with the hype you guys. Much of the “fear” is generated from some irresponsible journalism.

  13. NadePaulKuciGravMcKi says:

    damage set in motion will be beyond comprehension
    “Now I am become death….The destroyer of worlds”

    1. Sparkjockey says:

      Is this dungeons and dragons?

  14. millard duthie says:

    a seemingly large situation is playing out in the news, wait for the real situation to really finally be playred out afrer the fact, don’t spend on any supposeed necessary products mrd

  15. millard duthie says:

    I grew up in northern Idaho, in the 50’s, all the scrotrium in the grass and the miilk cows eating it just gave me a bad mouth with fillings falling out, but i’m still here,and kicking, no woory

  16. millard duthie says:

    get over yourselves, nothing will happen to you, you will not die , not this way at least. Although some of you desire it. mrd

    1. Sparkjockey says:

      Desire and deserve!

  17. Roger Smith says:

    In the event that anyone wants to solve this problem, here is the solution. Quite simply a Tesla Dome could be created at a safe distance with parts easily available in Japan. This would contain all of the radiation and prevent the disaster from spreading.

    A “Tesla Dome” or “Tesla Shield” is spherical or hemispherical barrier of intense electromagnetic energy which can be fairly small or very large, large enough to cover a small city. The spherical field of highly charged energy is such that any kind of object (missile, airplane, bomb) encountering it is instantly destroyed, electronics fried, or in the case of a bomb, either “dudded” or exploded harmlessly outside the sphere. In the case of a triple layer dome, not even radiation can get across the EM barrier, making it the perfect containment field for a nuclear disaster.

    To prevent future tragedies such as this, the relatively inexpensive dome could be created at all nuclear reactor sites as the ultimate backup.

    I know, I’m great. Too bad there is no way to let the governments know. They really should put up a suggestion box somewhere.

    1. Sparkjockey says:

      Wouldn’t it be easier to just have Scotty beam me up?

  18. omstrat says:

    Total over reaction and a bunch of know nothings on here blowing it out their butts I can’t believe it too one moron this long to somehow blame Bush
    Hey , by the way , is Obama still even president ?

  19. trollingforlibs says:

    Here comes another “crisis” that Oblahma isn’t going to let go to waste, I’m sure.

  20. jim says:

    If the bulk of the population wasn’t so stone ignorant about radiation, the panic would evaporate. The rad levels that would make it to the US, even if all four reactors were to explode into dust, would be so low that you’d have to take long term readings even to detect it. As for biological effects, look up ‘hormesis’

  21. joubaur says:

    Our Gov’t says we’re not at risk so of course we’re not at risk!!!

    Don’t you trust our Gov’t of greedy politicians of both parties to have your welfare at heart?

    You got experience or intelligence or something?

  22. nightwriter says:

    It’s sooooo funny reading the comments here! The hysterical left is running around screaming “The sky is falling, the sky is falling!” It’s Bush’s fault?!?!? Come, koolaid drinkers, get a life! Here is the scenario according to the libs… first scream that it’s someone else’s fault, then run to the store to buy potassium iodine, then find the closest lawyer to sue the Japanese people because you “might” get sick. Oh, and don’t forget… buy the bumper sticker that says “its Bush’s fault!” Liberalism IS a mental disorder. Take you potassium iodine and your meds guys and go to sleep. It will be okay… the communist you elected will fix things for you useful idiots and make everything okay!

    1. Dave says:

      You eat at Alioto’s by chance?

  23. Dave says:

    I am getting a kick out of seeing a bunch of people with no information cyber slap each other over things neither side knows. What a confused lot.

    We have no idea how much cesium is in the atmosphere, or if it is at all. We won’t know until it arrives.
    10 kg of nuclear fuel aerosolizing would deposit 0.05 to 0.37 nano grams of radioactive material per square meter across north america.

    That is not insignificant. But we won’t know until it arrives since there is no accurate information about the situation in Japan.

  24. James says:

    It’s absolutely amazing the subteranean level that most of the comments here inhabit! What is wrong with some of you people anyway? We are in one of the world’s most worst catastrophes and most of you are bickering back and forth among yourselves like stupid little kids. PEOPLE ARE SCARED DAMMIT AND THEY HAVE A RIGHT TO BE!

    The Japanese government has not been very forthcoming in all of this, undoubtedly to ‘save face’ and our own government doesn’t seem to be doing much better. A lot of good ‘saving face’ is going to do you when yours is melting off your skull! I live on the west coast and let me tell you, some of us ARE REALLY SCARED!


  25. mrgreektokyo says: now offer an emergency email alert whenever Tokyo radiation levels spike.
    Good thing about their geiger is it is located 10 minutes from Ebisu station, 6 minutes to Shibuya station so it puts it in perspective to a location most tourists can relate to and spend most time while on holiday. thanks to all the independant little people providing raw data like the folks

  26. mrgreektokyo says: now offer an emergency email alert whenever Tokyo radiation levels spike.
    Good thing about their geiger is it is located 10 minutes from Ebisu station, 6 minutes to Shibuya station so it puts it in perspective to a location most tourists can relate to and spend most time while on holiday. thanks to all the independant little people providing raw data like the folks.

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  29. greg says:

    I saw the page & notice they have earthquake info as well as live gieiger. The community section makes good reading though the job adds on the page have me wondering if you really would like to be working in Japan at the moment.