Valuable Atomic Energy Reports in TRAIL

Friday, May 13, 2011
Judy Alspach -

The Technical Reports and Archive Image Library (TRAIL) has digitized over 20,000 U.S. federal technical reports, including documents produced by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), which was responsible for the peacetime use of atomic science and technology from 1946 until 1974. Much of this information is extremely valuable today in light of the recent nuclear disaster in Japan.

As a starting point, TRAIL targeted reports from the AEC Division of Biology and Medicine, which was charged with the developing instruments to measure the impact of radioactivity after a nuclear weapon discharge, including:

  • Civil Effects Test Operations: These materials involved the mapping of airborne radioactivity from above-ground nuclear testing, and measuring fallout on buildings, plants, animals, and humans.
  • Lovelace Foundation for Medical Education and Research: The Lovelace Foundation materials focused on improving the knowledge of the biological consequence of inhaling fission products and the significant physical or biological parameters on inhalation of radioactive materials.
  • Health and Safety Laboratory: The Health and Safety Laboratory was formed in 1947 to focus on industrial hygiene and radiation protection and safety. Its role changed to measuring and analyzing radioactivity levels in foods in the 1950s, and expanded to include soil, water, and air samples, and measurements of wet and dry fallout in the 1960s.
  • Radiation Instruments Branch: This branch was primarily responsible for the development of testing and monitoring equipment required for civil defense purposes. Once testing devices were developed,the RIB would carry out experiments, collect data, and provide analysis.

The TRAIL project aims to continue digitizing at-risk federal technical reports and make them openly accessible to researchers. In order to move ahead with this important work, TRAIL seeks interested institutions to join the project. Please visit the CRL website for for more information about the TRAIL project and to learn how to join TRAIL.

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