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Radiation tests for soil?  RSS feed

 
                            
Posts: 41
Location: Colorado
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I was recently given the opportunity to live and farm on a 6 acre piece of land (with a fixer house, shed, and chicken coup already on it).  It's rent free too, so I'm seriously considering it.  I could sure do a lot with 6 acres!

One thing that concerns me though...it's only about 8 miles away from what used to be a large plutonium mining operation.  The mine closed not long after the Chernobyl incident (yes, that was in the USSR, but it raising some consciousness in the local community) and in 2008, the government cleanup operation was finally declared complete (according to sources I was researching on the net).

But what does this mean for surrounding lands, where wind-blown dust may have travelled for quite some distance?  There are other farms in the area, and no one has been told their crops are unsafe.  Of course, I can't help but think there are always things that we aren't being told.  So, what to do?  I don't think one can simply submit soil samples to a local soils lab and say "hey, can you test this for radiation?!  Or, maybe you can(?).  Maybe if they have a geiger counter, they can just run a quick scan on it(?).  Perhaps there is nothing to worry about, as it's not the same stuff like the fallout material in Japan.  The town is only about an hour from Telluride, on the western slope of Colorado.  It's called Nucla if anyone is familiar with it.

I'm curious to hear others thoughts, and how you might proceed if given the same opportunity.

Thanks!
 
              
Posts: 238
Location: swampland virginia
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Here are a couple sites to check out. Both sell equipment. First site has a lot of info on radiation and safety. Second site has info on where you might find old equipment sitting around. Not sure what the best equipment is.

http://www.ki4u.com/products1.php
http://www.radiationnetwork.com/

There is also some talk on some bacteria that can bind up uranium. do a search on this site on
bacteria Uranium. some of it is mentioned in this thread http://www.permies.com/bb/index.php?topic=6014.40
 
Kay Bee
Posts: 471
Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
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Plutonium mine?  Maybe uranium in that area, but I don't think you'll find a plutonium mine anymore

Someone with a hand held counter could give you some spot checks, but if you can find an acedemic lab or similar that has a scintillation counter, you'd probaby get a more accurate read.
 
                            
Posts: 41
Location: Colorado
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Did I say plutonium? 

By gosh I did!  Yes, you're right, I mean't uranium.  Thanks for the suggestions.

I'm not too worried, as back 20-30 years ago when the mine was still in operation, it seems (according to town history sources) it was primarily the people working the mine that developed health problems, and there are many long-time residents in the town I am looking at that are now quite elderly and still in good health.

When I was reading some of the history, I did however learn that some of the school kids used to bring yellow cake into their classrooms for "show-n-tell."  So sad and unfortunate!

 
Emerson White
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
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K.B. wrote:
Plutonium mine?  Maybe uranium in that area, but I don't think you'll find a plutonium mine anymore

Someone with a hand held counter could give you some spot checks, but if you can find an acedemic lab or similar that has a scintillation counter, you'd probaby get a more accurate read.

that was my first thought!

Before Japan a Geiger counter surplus cost about $100 US, probably 3X that price now. Get one, and record the levels on a farm you trust to be safe, then go to the farm you want to look at. If it's way higher don't do it, but 8 miles from a mine I'd think would be fine. Fertile soil is more radioactive than non-fertile soil, because Potassium is the biggest source of radiation that we face typically.
 
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