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Radiation Emergencies
Emergency Response:

Using Environmental Monitoring Data

Emergency Preparedness
and Response

The RadNet (formerly Environmental Radiation Ambient Monitoring System) database is a rich source of radiation data from the environment around us. Used properly, the data can tell us a great deal. One example of its use is the long-term trends radionuclides in certain media. Below is the trend of tritium in precipitation.

Trend of H-3 (Tritium) in Precipitation

This trend is from monthly concentrations compiled between 1978-2001. (You can see the data on the Envirofacts website.) Data came from samples of rainfall,snow, or sleet that fell throughout the month and were then combined into a single sample for each station.

National Average H-3 Concentrations in Precipitation

Each sample was analyzed for tritium, and other radionuclides. The graph below shows the national average tritium concentration in precipitation. You can see from the graph that tritium concentration between 1978 and 1980 was in the range of 350 pico Curies per liter (pCi/l) and spiked to about 680 pCi/l during the last above ground nuclear test to levels below what instruments can detect.

 

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