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About Us

Berkeley RadWatch Team

Our mission is to provide transparent, relevant measurements of radioactivity in our environment for public education and our own research.


The Berkeley RadWatch Project: Origins

The UC Berkeley Department of Nuclear Engineering has been performing a large range of radiation measurements starting in March 2011 following the releases of radioactive materials from the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan. One of the goals of this activity was to measure the radioactivity in Californian samples that could potentially be associated with the releases in Japan using state-of-the art experiments, to publish the data without filter or restriction, and to put the results in the context of the radiation we are exposed to in our daily lives.

In response to the resurgent interest in radiation levels due to the expected arrival of cesium at the North American west coast we are increasing our efforts again to measure samples potentially affected by the Pacific Ocean current transport. In addition to measurements samples of fish, seaweed, crab, etc., we are part of the new Kelp Watch 2014 initiative, which aims at measuring a potential cesium uptake into kelp over the next year.

Expansion of measurement capabilities

  1. We are now involving the more sensitive monitoring system of the Berkeley Lab Low-Background Facility;
  2. A new and continuous air monitoring station on UC Berkeley campus was installed and we plan to provide near real-time data from this system on our website, including weather data we are collecting at the same location. The goal of this effort is not only to provide the radiation levels to the broader public but to encourage simple science projects with the data.

Finally, reflecting our expanded activities in monitoring radiation we have established a new initiative called Berkeley Rad Watch. The former Berkeley Radiological Air and Water Monitoring (BRAWM) activity is part of it.

We hope you will find the new data and its interpretation useful. We will continue the monitoring and the publication of solid samples as before on a separate system.




Donate: Help us continue this publication

How are RadWatch projects currently funded?

Right now the RadWatch project is supported by interested students, faculty, and support staff of the Department of Nuclear Engineering at the University of California Berkeley, particularly from the BeARING group. We use equipment, laboratories, and facilities at the Department of Nuclear Engineering and recently also from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, specifically its Low-Background Counting Facility. The availability of the people and the equipment is what limits the RadWatch content scope.

Why are donations needed?

Donations allow us to maintain and potentially expand our monitoring efforts in the Bay Area and our public outreach efforts in educating the public about nuclear radiation, nuclear technologies, and associated risks. We emphasize the fact that we work independently as researchers (and students) and are not driven or influenced by any entity that will limit or filter the data or information we are providing to the public.
Specifically, donations will help to involve more students in our activities, ranging from sample collections, measurements, data analysis and presentation as well as in the communication with the public. It could also help to upgrade the equipment to streamline the measurements so we can perform more sample measurements.
Finally, reflecting our expanded activities in monitoring radiation we have established a new initiative called Berkeley Rad Watch. The former Berkeley Radiological Air and Water Monitoring (BRAWM) activity is part of it.
We hope you will find the new data and its interpretation useful. We will continue the monitoring and the publication of solid samples as before on a separate system.