RAREx, the Radiological Alert Network of Extremadura


As it is well-known, Almaraz Nuclear Power Plant (ANPP) is located in the province of Cáceres (SW Spain) and is working since 1983. Currently, it has two PWR reactors and produced about 2000 MW of electrical power. When it started to operate, the Autonomous Government of Extremadura had a need to know, in near real time, the radiological impact that the facility could generate on the environment. In fact, that was the starting point of the first collaboration agreement which was signed in 1989 by our research group, Laboratory of Environmental Radioactivity of the University of Extremadura, LARUEX, for the design, installation in phases, operation and maintenance of the Radiological Alert Network of Extremadura, RAREx. Currently, the existence of RAREx is possible thanks to the close collaboration and financial support of the Spanish Nuclear Safety Council and the Extremadura Regional Government.

The purpose of this article is to show the current state of RAREx which, after 30 years of design, management, development and innovation, has significantly increased the geographic areas to be monitored and its analytical capabilities. The RAREx is integrated by fixed stations for atmospheric and water monitoring and by two mobile systems, a land vehicle and a remotely manned aerial vehicle, which allow the monitoring of different radiological parameters along established routes or in specific locations where their action is needed.

Obviously, the new developments have implied a substantial increase in the volume of data daily recorded and the necessary development of sophisticated software applications for their proper management and essential interpretation. Likewise, it is vital to establish a reliable and robust quality management system that guarantees both its integral operation and the veracity of the information provided. For this reason, in this article, succinctly, the main advances incorporated into RAREx in these two aspects will be presented.

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