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  • 1 Center for Monitoring Research 1300 N. Seventeenth Street, Suite 1450 22209 Arlington Virginia USA
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Anthropogenic radioactivity is being measured in near-real time by an international monitoring system designed to verify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Airborne radioactivity measurements are conducted in-situ by stations that are linked to a central data processing and analysis facility. Aerosols are separated by high-volume air sampling with high-efficiency particulate filters. Radio-xenon is separated from other gases through cryogenic methods. Gamma-spectrometry is performed by high purity germanium detectors and the raw spectral data is immediately transmitted to the central facility via Internet, satellite, or modem. These highly sensitive sensors, combined with the automated data processing at the central facility, result in a system capable of measuring environmental radioactivity on the microbeequerel scale where the data is available to scientists within minutes of the field measurement. During the past year, anthropogenic radioactivity has been measured at approximately half of the stations in the current network. Sources of these measured radionuclides include nuclear power plant emissions, Chernobyl resuspension, and isotope production facilities. The ability to thoroughly characterize site-specific radionuclides, which contribute to the radioactivity of the ambient environment, will be necessary to reduce the number of false positive events. This is especially true of anthropogenic radionuclides that could lead to ambiguous analysis.