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E. New Technology Tracks Hazardous Releases from the Atmosphere

Narrator: This is Science Today. Researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have developed new Internet and web technology that makes it possible to predict the downwind hazard zones from radioactive and nuclear releases into the atmosphere. John Nasstrom, one of the program leaders, says they have recently added chemical and biological materials into their capability.

Nasstrom: The heart of our system, there are three-dimensional, atmospheric models. They include terrain, the land-use characteristics; they use meteorological data - we have real-time access to meteorological observations and forecasts that cover the globe.

Narrator: Those models are used to predict a three-dimensional understanding of materials in the atmosphere, including how they are spread, how they decay and hazardous air concentration levels.

Nasstrom: And that's used by decision makers to decide: Who are the affected populations? Who needs to be evacuated? Where is it safe? Where is it not safe? How many people can we be expected to have been affected by some accident or in the case of a terrorist event, some intentional terrorist act?

Narrator: For Science Today, Larissa Branin.