Offsite Environmental Monitoring Report: Radiation Monitoring Around United States Nuclear Test Areas, Calendar Year 1991   [open pdf - 19MB]

"This report describes the Offsite Radiation Safety Program conducted during 1991 by the Environmental Protection Agency`s (EPA`s) Environmental Monitoring Systems Laboratory-Las Vegas. This laboratory operates an environmental radiation monitoring program in the region surrounding the Nevada Test Site (NTS) and at former test sites in Alaska, Colorado, Mississippi, Nevada, and New Mexico. The surveillance program is designed to measure levels and trends of radioactivity, if present, in the environment surrounding testing areas to ascertain whether current radiation levels and associated doses to the general public are in compliance with existing radiation protection standards. The surveillance program additionally has the responsibility to take action to protect the health and well being of the public in the event of any accidental release of radioactive contaminants. Offsite levels of radiation and radioactivity are assessed by sampling milk, water, and air; by deploying thermoluminescent dosimeters (TLDs) and using pressurized ion chambers (PICs); and by biological monitoring of animals, food crops, and humans. Personnel with mobile monitoring equipment are placed in areas downwind from the test site prior to each nuclear weapons test to implement protective actions, provide immediate radiation monitoring, and obtain environmental samples rapidly after any occurrence of radioactivity release. Comparison of the measurements and sample analysis results with background levels and with appropriate standards and regulations indicated that there was no radioactivity detected offsite by the various EPA monitoring networks and no exposure above natural background to the population living in the vicinity of the NTS that could be attributed to current NTS activities. Annual and long-term trends were evaluated in the Noble Gas, Tritium, Milk Surveillance, Biomonitoring, TLD, PIC networks, and the Long-Term Hydrological Monitoring Program."

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