How to Monitor Radiation

Types of monitoring:

1. AIR

With Geiger counters, you can monitor radioactivity in the air, and shows how much radiation your body is exposed to. You can buy Geiger counters often online, but in Japan you can find a variety of monitoring devises now in stores. (See Things To Pack for more into on buying Geiger counter) Some city offices have a free rent-a-Geiger programs. See list of cities that rent Geiger counters for free.

Basic conversions:

  • 1 gray (Gy) = 100 rad
  • 1 rad = 10 milligray (mGy)
  • 1 sievert (Sv) = 1,000 millisieverts (mSv) = 1,000,000 microsieverts (μSv)
  • 1 sievert = 100 rem
  • 1 becquerel (Bq) = 1 count per second (cps)
  • 1 curie = 37,000,000,000 becquerel = 37 Gigabecquerels (GBq)
  • For x-rays and gamma rays, 1 rad = 1 rem = 10 mSv
  • For neutrons, 1 rad = 5 to 20 rem (depending on energy level) = 50-200 mSv
  • For alpha radiation (helium-4 nuclei), 1 rad = 20 rem = 200 mSv



Normally, monitoring radiation in solid & liquid form requires a large machine which looks like this one in the picture. The unit used to measure is “Becquerel”.

How does monitoring happen? Here’s a pictured guide to a monitoring of frozen potato at Citizen’s Radiation Monitoring Station Setagaya, Tokyo.

You can bring any food items to one of the monitoring stations and have your food monitored for a fee. Here’s a list of Monitoring Stations (translation in progress)


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