CERN@sea pioneers ocean radiation level research
CERN@sea is a new project based at Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys in Canterbury. Its aim is to analyse radiation levels in the ocean in real time, specifically in areas near nuclear reactors such as Sellafield or Fukushima.
This has never been done before. Normally water samples are taken and sent to a lab to be processed, meaning experimental data is limited by the amount of samples that can be taken and transported. However the CERN@sea team has configured a RasPix detector chip (which runs off a Raspberry Pi) that can capture radiation levels in real time and upload all the results online for instant analysis.
How do we get the detector on the water though? Meet the AutoNaut, a 5 metre long autonomous vessel that is powered by the waves and so needs no fuel. Designed by an innovative company in Chichester, it aims to revolutionise the way marine science is conducted by enabling continuous missions of more than six months.
The RasPix detector has been on its first test deployment, just off the coast of Plymouth. The team will begin to analyse data and will make it public as soon as possible.