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ASU Physics Prof and Graduate Honored

December 01, 2011

Dr. Andrew Wallace, head of Angelo State University’s Department of Physics, and Victor Siller, a recent ASU physics graduate, have been awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from the National Air and Radiation Environmental Laboratory (NAREL).

In a letter from NAREL officials, Wallace and Siller were lauded for their “important work with the RadNet monitoring program and collecting environmental samples following the Japanese nuclear reactor accidents at the Fukushima power plant in March of 2011.  The data and samples from RadNet monitoring are essential for decision making and informing the American public.” 

Siller, who graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in applied physics, was conducting a research project on environmental radiation under Wallace’s supervision when the Fukushima accident occurred.  Utilizing San Angelo’s RadNet station, which is located on the ASU campus, they monitored local air quality for signs of contamination by Fukushima fallout.  While they did detect a small amount, Wallace said it was minimal – “one million times less than the amount of radioactivity in a household smoke detector.” 

RadNet is a national system of monitoring stations run by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that regularly collect air, precipitation, drinking water and milk samples for analysis of radioactivity.  The ASU station, which was installed in 2009 and is run by the Physics Department, houses air sampling units and is located in the Facilities Management compound on the east side of campus. 

NAREL is a comprehensive environmental laboratory managed by the EPA’s Office of Radiation and Indoor Air.  It is located at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala.  More information is available online at www.epa.gov/narel/

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Dr. Andrew Wallace
Department of Physics
325-942-2242 

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