Environmental Radiation Surveillance Program
KDHE performs routine radiological environmental monitoring and sampling of the environs surrounding the Wolf Creek nuclear generating station to ensure there are no radioactive materials in excess of technical specifications released to the environment. (K.S.A. 65-3021, 65-3022, 65-3023; K.A.R. 28-19-80, 28-19-81, 28-19-82). This routine monitoring is critical to ensure the continued safety of the citizens of Kansas and the environs surrounding the nuclear power plant. All environmental samples collected are analyzed by the KDHE Radiochemistry Laboratory. An annual report is published by KDHE each year on the results of the Wolf Creek environmental monitoring program.
In addition to the routine monitoring around Wolf Creek, the KDHE Environmental Radiation Surveillance Program performs radiological monitoring and sampling of any potentially contaminated sites in Kansas and works closely with the KDHE Bureau of Environmental Remediation and other partners to provide radiological expertise regarding any environmental clean-up issues. The program also provides consultation and assistance with issues related to Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material. This assistance includes the issuing of U.S. Department of Transportation shipping exemptions to allow contaminated items to be transported back to the owners.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency monitors environmental radioactivity across the United States. In order to accomplish this, the U.S. EPA established a RadNet system of permanent monitors across the states. The U.S. EPA also maintains deployable RadNet monitors which can be placed in locations of specific interest depending upon the situation.
There are three specific objectives of the U.S. EPA RadNet program:
- To provide data for nuclear emergency response assessments
- To provide data on ambient levels of radiation in the environment for baseline and trend analysis
- To inform the general public and public officials
In Kansas, there are three permanent RadNet monitors, which are located in Dodge City, Lenexa, and Wichita respectively. The data from these three monitors and from the other monitors across the nation is collected and maintained by the U.S. EPA. The KDHE Radiation Control Program has access to this radiological data and routinely monitors the data to track any trends or changes in the radiation levels in our state.
Additional information on the RadNet system and the data available can be viewed on the U.S. EPA website.