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 NETC "A" Alert Level - Q/A 
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Joined: Sun Aug 18, 2013 1:11 pm
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Can someone explain the NETC rating system? Today I see one site on the map with a rating over 800 cpm, and yet it's not Alert level. Elsewhere on this site there's an explanation that the ratings are based on NORM, yet the readings are given in cpm. Why the wide disparity between NETC and Radnet? Radnet says Alert level is anything above 100 cpm.


Sun Aug 18, 2013 1:30 pm
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Location: Arkansas
There are many places that explain the Netc.com alert levels, but be careful when you say the EPA says 100 cpm is the alert level. I found the quote is 100 rem. That is totally different than 100 cpm.
Here is explaination on how to understand the NETC charts. :!:
Some of the sites are from the EPA's database. The EPA's 4.site# are the beta sites from the EPA and the EPA's 5.site# are the gamma sites from 600-800 Kev range where a lot of geiger counters are calibrated to. The sites in Japan uses nSw/h. Our system is based of relative readings from the past history of each site to their present readings, so you will be able to tell if there is an increase in radiation at that site. But some customers like to know what is the absolute level of radiation at each site, so with the chart membership you can change the readings to absolute base zero. The Japan maps looks totally different in absolute format. I am sorry that I have not posted this information in the Forum for you to understand what NETC.com system is all about.


Sun Aug 18, 2013 9:29 pm
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Here is what I posted on ENENEWS, when ask the same question.
Quote:
My name is Harlan and I designed Netc.com to look at radiation level from each individual radiation monitoring station. I set a NORM (Natural Occurring Radioactive Material) or saying it another way (the median average of background radiation over a three month period), for each station every night and then tell the public when the radiation varies from that NORM. I do not care if the Geiger Counter is inside the house, outside on the porch, in the basement or if it is a pancake or tube unit. The only thing that is important is that the unit stays in the same location. By use this design, I compare the NORM radiation at that location with the current radiation level at that location and decide if the radiation level is climbing. If the radiation doubles from the NORM, I will issue an alert if all other conditions are met too.

I hope that explains the design of Netc.com.
Harlan@netc.com

PS. We are monitoring Radiation stations in United States, Japan and Australia, and maybe Europe in the future.


Mon Aug 19, 2013 11:05 pm
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I think I understand, but I am still somewhat confused. The previous poster states that the Alert level on Radnet is 100 rem. Looking at the Radnet map, below it is the clear statement "Alert level=100 cpm." I am beginning to think counts per minute is a somewhat useless unit of measurement, since it depends on the type of meter in use. If NETC is using strictly relative standards, I can understand this. However, looking at a site with a particular rating, I would like to know what is considered the normal background count there. It might be several times higher than another spot on the map. I hope you can see my confusion.


Mon Aug 19, 2013 11:21 pm
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Please do not compare one radiation station with a different radiation station using Netc.com. My design only tell us if the radiation level is increasing at that location. So if an Radiation Event occurs, you will know by Netc.com picking up the change in the radiation level. Many times, I see the Japanese radiation stations go to RADCON-4 level and there is a good chance that the nuclear reactors are blowing off steam, which causes Netc.com to pick up the change and issue an alert.
Harlan@netc.com


Mon Aug 19, 2013 11:39 pm
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Fair enough, thank you for your response. The mystery begins to clear. ; )


Mon Aug 19, 2013 11:45 pm
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Quote:
Looking at the Radnet map, below it is the clear statement "Alert level=100 cpm."


Where did you find that quote, if I made it, it is wrong. Alert level is the function of calculating the NORM and setting alert level at different points on the scale of increased radiation. The points are calculated by the Netc.com, based on the history of the monitoring station.


Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:33 am
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hey wrote:
Please do not compare one radiation station with a different radiation station using Netc.com. My design only tell us if the radiation level is increasing at that location. So if an Radiation Event occurs, you will know by Netc.com picking up the change in the radiation level. Many times, I see the Japanese radiation stations go to RADCON-4 level and there is a good chance that the nuclear reactors are blowing off steam, which causes Netc.com to pick up the change and issue an alert.
Harlan@netc.com


As Harlan/"hey" has mentioned above, this is a good rule of thumb to avoid confusion between reading stations. Although, as a user gains more understanding about radiation, the different types of equipment used and other factors such as location of geiger counter, brand/model and such... you can then compare sites.

For example, I feel comfortable when I compare one of the EPA beta/gamma sites on the west coast with another EPA site of the same kind beta/gamma in a different state. I assume the EPA station on the west coast is the same equipment used on the east coast. I can't fairly compare the NORM because those are different from station to station because of different factors, one of which is altitude of the station. We know radiation is different at different altitudes. That is just one of the many things about radiation that I previously mentioned above that as a user learns more about radiation and the equipment used to measure it, they will understand better and can loosely compare some sites with others.

The easiest way and safest way to compare sites is simply to look for rises. NETC.com makes this easy to see at a quick glance for free to the public from the map while using the different symbols to indicate levels of rise. It can be misleading to newbies because to understand fully what you are looking at you must compare the times and only subscribers can see more than the most recent times. Often an EPA site will show an elevated radiation level when a nearby outside private NETC station like mine does not. I see this often because the EPA does not update their systems data every minute and therefore it might be 6 hours behind. Radiation levels are often higher in the a.m. so if the last update received from the EPA for a station was in the a.m. it would likely show an elevated radiation level using NETC symbols but my outside unit is updated every minute so when looking at my station in the afternoon and comparing them, newbies will not understand what they are looking at. Even if both stations (EPA and mine) were updated each minute, you can't compare them 100% equally because obviously my equipment is not the same as the EPA. The EPA does not use geiger counters, I do. You can compare them simply by looking for a rise at each station and compare that to say the current wind map and also the current weather radar since we know with precipitation/rain comes radiation from the higher altitudes.

Here is an example. Say my local nuclear plant in Byron Illinois has a problem and I see the real-time wind map shows the wind blowing in my direction. If it is not in the a.m. when radiation is often higher and I do not have any rain but I am showing a rise in my outside radiation level, it would be safe to assume this might be caused from the Byron nuclear plant. Remember that each time a nuclear plant has a "SAFE - EMERGENCY" shutdown, it vents more radiation than normal.

During hurricane Sandy I seen the hurricane clearly on the real-time wind map and as several of the nuclear plants on the east coast had emergency shutdowns due to problems caused from the hurricane, radiation was released. Allowable amounts according to the EPA but more than during a normal slow controlled shutdown. Watching the real-time wind map over the next day or so I seen those hurricane winds come my way (Illinois) and when they reached me I was clearly able to see a rise in my background radiation level NORM. This was proof enough for me and enough for me to keep our kids inside during this rise in my background level. This is the reason I monitor radiation, for my families health. I am forced to live with this evil stuff so the best I can do is learn how to best avoid it and detection is the first step for radiation mitigation.

There are so many more examples and information I could post now but I hope this helps for now.

I would like to encourage everyone to please buy a geiger counter that is supported on NETC (from any online retailer or NETC if you wish) and hook it up to NETC for free because we can't have too many stations to monitor. It don't get any less expensive than the GMC-200 hooked up to NETC using the free Windows software. I use both the NETC Windows software and and the Raspberry Pi with my many units.

_________________
MY OUTSIDE RADIATION MONITORING STATION:
South Beloit, Illinois - GMC200 Outside on HEPA air purifier, ground level, facing West.
http://netc.com/chart/view.php?n=1%3AEB5A139C


Tue Aug 20, 2013 6:02 am
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Hey,
I was referring to the map on the Radiation Network: http://radiationnetwork.com/
It clearly states they consider the alert level to be 100 cpm, not rem.


Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:14 am
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barticle35 wrote:
Hey,
I was referring to the map on the Radiation Network: http://radiationnetwork.com/
It clearly states they consider the alert level to be 100 cpm, not rem.


@barticle35 - I know this question was not directed at me but I can say that Radiation Network is a private network too. Before NETC.com was created, I bought a copy of the Radiation Network software called Geiger Graph to run my geiger counter on that private monitoring network. I still currently run a geiger counter on that network because after all I own the software and have enough geiger counters and computers to still run it while running all of the units I want to run on NETC. In fact, I own two different copies of the Radiation Network software, only one of which I use anymore. If it was transferable, I would sell one of my copies.

Currently, I find NETC more useful in all the areas over Radiation Network. As for the 100 CPM level on Radiation Network, I understand it is just a guideline set by the owner of Radiation Network. There is no standard type of geiger counter required to be used on Radiation Network so that means either my GMC-200 or InspectorEXP geiger counter can be used. Both of these geiger counters with the same exact radiation check source will record different CPM readings because they each have different sensitivity so you can see how using a 100 CPM level is not rocket science. I understand there is a new software program in beta testing from Radiation Network that addresses this problem, but I have not used it. Currently, I believe the way NETC uses each stations own NORM to base the ALERT levels is a much better method.

_________________
MY OUTSIDE RADIATION MONITORING STATION:
South Beloit, Illinois - GMC200 Outside on HEPA air purifier, ground level, facing West.
http://netc.com/chart/view.php?n=1%3AEB5A139C


Tue Aug 20, 2013 12:04 pm
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