Ever since the Great Tohoku Earthquake led to one of the worst nuclear disasters at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant people have been left with a lot of uncertainty. Information has not been coming from places of authority in a free and timely fashion. News broadcasts often tell stories of contaminated food and radioactive puddles near schools. Still, these stories are after the fact and often hard to process given the complex nature of radiation.
Luckily, on 27 December, Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute (KURRI) announced they are working with Fukushima Transportation Inc. to begin testing a system to monitor radiation in Fukushima City that is in real time and is accessible by anyone over the internet.
The system, named Kyoto University Radiation Mapping System or KURAMA, is ingeniously simple. First, equip buses with radiation detectors and GPS, and as they scour the city on their daily routes they can collect data from all corners of Fukushima City. The data will simultaneously be uploaded and displayed onto an online map for all to see.
If their experiment proves successful the system would most likely spread further and deeper around East Japan which in turn would provide even more accurate information. This may provide a slight but much sought after relief to the people by providing locations of so-called hotspots. Not only that, it could give researchers around the world some valuable insight to the behavior of radiation in these situations.
We applaud the efforts of KURRI and Fukushima Transportation and will continue to watch this story to report as soon as this system goes online.
Project KURAMA Info: GPS連動型放射線自動計測システム KURAMA (Japanese)