Radiation cloud 'not harmful'
A RADIOACTIVE cloud lingering off the Sunshine Coast on Sunday was not dangerous, according to the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency.
Caloundra IT manager Peter Daley picked up the cloud's radioactivity on his Geiger counter, a device that measures ionizing radiation in the atmosphere.
The reading was taken at 6.30pm and measured 0.80 microsieverts, which is eight times over the average level of radiation in the atmosphere.
Mr Daley said he was concerned the cloud could have formed from a radioactive fall out from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.
"This may be just a one off but even still, any exposure to an increase in radiation is not good," Mr Daley said.
He first noticed the hike when his Geiger counter began erratically beeping.
He then watched the rise in radiation fluctuate for three hours, peaking for 20 minutes at 0.80.
"I was shocked to hear the Geiger alarm going off, I have been recording radiation in the atmosphere for four years and the highest it has ever gone was 0.20 microsieverts."
Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency senior environmental scientist Marcus Grezechnik said the reading was unusual but not concerning for the Coast.
"It is very unlikely to be caused from Fukushima, but more likely to be caused by a weather change or dust," Dr Grezechnik said.
"It is not seen as a big increase although it is higher than average. To put everyone's mind at ease, even if you were receiving that dose every hour for a full year you would have less dose than one CAT Scan."
He said radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster had only been recorded in Australia once since the incident occurred in March 11.
"All reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi site were now in cold shutdown, significantly reducing the likelihood of uncontrolled releases to the environment and associated health impacts," he said.