Advanced radiation detector to scan debris from Japan

Published  5:29 PM HST Sep 23, 2012
Radiation reading device
HONOLULU -

The Smiths Detection RadSeeker, an advanced radiation detector, arrived  Friday at the Honolulu Emergency Services Department, just days after debris from the 2011 tsunami in Japan was found near our shores.

The new machine detects not just levels of radiation but the type as well. If radiation levels are too high, the machine will begin to beep.

The machine cost about $15,000 and was funded by Department of Homeland Security grants.

Cortney Chambers with the Emergency Services Department said debris from Japan's tsunami will most likely not be carrying radiation from the nuclear disaster.

Emergency manager John Cummings III said, "We all feel collectively that there is very little chance that anything out there is radiated, due to the fact that the debris hit the water so soon, before issues with Fukushima reactors."

However, agencies want to be cautious, because more debris from the tsunami in Japan is expected to head our way.

Cummings said, "We are not going to come out one day and find a 10-foot wall of debris on the beach. What we are anticipating is a continual onset of debris that will be with us for a number of years."

Chambers said, "Once we determine the isotope, then we would let the other first responders, the Department of Health and the National Guard Civil Support Team, know that we determined the isotope and that would help them proceed forward."

If you do find debris, authorities urge you to stay away from the item and to contact the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

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