A research paper by physicists Jon Burnett and Harry Miley on a Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)-developed nuclear explosion monitoring technology has emerged as one of the “most popular” articles published by the scientific journal Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research.
The journal’s most-popular ranking highlights articles from the last three years that have generated the most “buzz” and attention on social media. According to PlumX Metrics, which tracks people’s interaction with pieces of research, the PNNL scientists’ article received among the highest rates of shares, likes, comments, and other engagement on social media.
Burnett and Miley’s article examines the performance of the Radionuclide Aerosol Sampler/Analyzer (RASA), a nuclear radiation detection technology developed by PNNL in the 1990s to monitor Earth’s atmosphere for evidence of nuclear weapons testing. Specifically, the researchers wanted to understand how high radioactive release events, such as Japan’s Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant accident in 2011, affect the RASA’s detection and analysis of airborne radioactive particles. The RASA is used as part of the International Monitoring System to verify compliance with the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.
“Sharing our research with the nuclear explosion monitoring community provides an opportunity to help strengthen the verification regime of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty,” Burnett said. As a senior research scientist at PNNL, Burnett works to develop next-generation systems for detecting and analyzing ultra-trace radionuclide signatures in support of international nuclear nonproliferation efforts.
The article was published earlier this year in the Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment.