Science and Technology: Monitoring Worldwide Environmental Radioactivity

10 gennaio 2018
Versione stampabile

Venue: Room B102, Polo Scientifico e Tecnologico "Fabio Ferrari" Povo2
Hour: 14.30

  • Prof. Wolfango Plastino - Department of Mathematics and Physics – Roma Tre University


The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization was established in 1996 to build up the verification regime, and to ensure its completion by the time the Treaty enters into force and to promote the Treaty's universality. The verification regime is based on the three mutually-reinforcing pillars – the International Monitoring System, the International Data Centre and provisions for On-Site Inspections – and is designed to detect any nuclear explosion conducted on Earth – underground, underwater or in the atmosphere.
Particularly, the International Monitoring System consists of 321 monitoring stations and 16 laboratories built world wide.
These 337 facilities monitor the planet for any sign of a nuclear explosion using four complementary verification methods: seismic, hydroacoustic and infrasound stations monitor the underground, the large oceans and the atmosphere respectively; radionuclide stations detect radioactive debris from atmospheric explosions or vented by underground or underwater nuclear explosions. Then the International Monitoring System continuously takes environmental measurements including atmospheric concentrations of several radionuclides. The characterization of the existing and legitimate background, which is produced mainly by Nuclear Power Plants and Isotope Production Facilities, is of high interest to improve the capabilities of the monitoring network. Over 400 reactors at Nuclear Power Plants are currently in operation worldwide, while only five Isotope Production Facilities are considered to be continuously emitting relevant activity levels. Nevertheless, the emission strengths of typical nuclear power reactors are below the emission strengths of these Isotope Production Facilities. Finally, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization has emphasized how monitoring data can support disaster mitigation efforts, for example by helping tsunami warning centres to issue more timely warnings or by monitoring airborne radioactivity after nuclear accidents. This was well recognized by the United Nations General-Secretary, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, who stated in his video address to participants attending the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization Science and Technology Conference in June 2011 “Even before entering into force, the CTBT is saving lives