About this blog
So I got the urge to be able to detect and measure radiation by my own, especially since I live within a 15km radius from the NPP of Borssele and a 30km radius from the four reactors of Doel NPP, Belgium.
Browsing the internet, I found some relatively cheap ex-army radiation detectors at an army-dump shop. One of them appeared to be suitable to even detect the (usually low) background radiation levels: A Frieseke & Hoepfner FH40T Geiger counter (fitted with a FHZ76V energy-compensated geiger-mueller tube), sensitive to γ (gamma) radiation and β (beta) radiation over 0.25MeV.The FHZ76V tube actually contains a Valvo 18550 tube, which is equivalent to Centronics ZP1320, Mullard Mx164 and LND-713 (found in this Probe Selection Guide and here)
The specs of the ZP1320 tube claim a sensitivity of 9cps/mR/h for Cs-137 (540cpm/mR/h). For 'normal' background (0.025-0.045mR/h) this results in a counting rate of approx.10-20cpm.. Where I live, I measure values varying between 4cpm up to 25cpm. This variation is caused by the randomness of the decay of radioactive elements.
1 R = 8.77 mGy
1 Gy = 115 R
For sake of simplicity, in our calculations we simply use 1R = 10mGy and 1Gy= 100R. And so is 10µR = 0.1µSv.
This approximation is good enough for this experiment.
There are 3 types of radiation:
α (alpha) decay is helium nucli being released, (beta) decay is electrons (β-) or positrons (β+) and γ (gamma) decay is electromagnetic radiation (like X-rays).
This Geiger-Mueller tube is only sensitive to β and γ radiation. The calibration is only correct for the γ radiation (662keV) emitted from Cs-137 .
I am now on the lookout for a device that can detect alpha radiation too. But the current situation in Fukushima has stirred up the market (crazy prices, run out of stock) for detection devices so I better wait until better times.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
2011-05-26 21h CEST - Measurement briefly interrupted by a malfunction in the FH40T
Tonight around 21h, the readings from the FH40T suddenly ceased. No more clicks were detected. After some initial testing, no immediate cause for this malfunction could be found, the FH40T detection electronics seemed dead but fortunately the G.M. tube was still OK.
After an interruption of about an hour, I was able to continue the measurements with a spare (D.I.Y) counter circuit that I had already built, using the same G.M. tube FHZ76V.
I''ll try to repair the FH40T in the near future, or otherwise I'll try to build new electronic circuit and integrate an LC-Display into the FH40T housing. Something which I already had planned to do, but hesitated to destroy a functional Radiation detector.