The technical concept for this project has existed since the Chernobyl accident in 1986. A host of Eastern European nations have developed countrywide grid of sensors to monitor airborne radiation. The objective is to build a radiological sensor network for real-time monitoring of environmental radiation levels in order to provide data for warning, and consequentially the assessment of a nuclear event. A network of radiation measuring equipment consisting of gamma, neutron, alpha, and beta counters would be distributed over a large area (preferably on fire station roof tops) and connected by a wireless network to the emergency response center.
The networks would be deployed in urban environments and would supply first responders and federal augmentation teams (including those from the U.S. Departments of Energy, Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security) with detailed, accurate information regarding the transport of radioactive environmental contaminants, so the agencies can provide a safe and effective response. A networked sensor capability would be developed, with fixed sensors deployed at key locations and in sufficient numbers, to provide adequate coverage for early warning, and input to post-event emergency response.
An overall system description and specification will be provided, including detector characteristics, communication protocols, infrastructure and maintenance requirements, and operation procedures. The system/network can be designed for a specifically identified urban area, or for a general urban area scalable to cities of specified size. Data collected via the network will be transmitted directly to the appropriate emergency response center and shared with multiple agencies via the Internet or an Intranet. The data collected will be managed using commercial off - the - shelf Geographical Information System (GIS). The data will be stored in a database and the GIS software will aid in analysis and management of the data. Unique features of the system include each node being assigned a health-effect based risk factor. By connecting the nodes on a particular measured isopleth one can define the plume accurately. Radon counts will be provided and used to calculate the alpha counts.
The radiological data collected will also be of value under routine conditions, in the absence of a radiological threat, to provide a detailed map of radiation background in the urban environment and complement predictive models of radiation transport. The data can be transferred to the National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center (NARAC) to augment its predictive model, thereby increasing its fidelity. Initially, as a proof of concept, a few nodes will be built for the purpose of demonstrating the concept.