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Review of RadNet Air Monitor Data

Gamma SpecData from air monitors are processed in the RadNet Control Room at EPA's National Analytical Radiation Environmental Laboratory (NAREL). Each monitor sends hourly data to control room computers, which automatically compare the data to limits preset for each monitor. If any data fall outside these limits, RadNet personnel manually review and evaluate them.

To conduct the review, RadNet staff connect to the monitor and download more detailed data for evaluation. Typical causes of above-normal radiation values include elevated natural background radiation (chiefly, radioactive decay products of radon gas) and instrument errors such as instrument drift or malfunction. Using spectroscopic analysis, scientists can identify the radionuclides and tell how much is present. If the levels are due to an actual change in environmental radiation, they are approved for release and posted to the RadNet database in EPA's Central Data Exchange.

In addition to the day-to-day review and evaluation of hourly data, RadNet personnel conduct numerous routine quality assurance activities. The monitors' high-speed cell phone make it possible to adjust instruments remotely and observe the monitors' data collection.

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