NEWNET was started in 1993 with stations in Nevada, California, Utah, and New Mexico. It is based on
concepts developed by the Department of Energy for the Community Monitoring Program at the Nevada Test
Site Nuclear Testing Facility. These concepts date back to the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Reactor
accident in the late 1970's.
With the advance of technology and the public's right to knowledge regarding these technologies,
there are many issues of concern. Radiation is one of these issues. For example, public concerns include
the dangers of nuclear radiation from the operation of nuclear power plants, the shipment and storage of
nuclear waste, industrial and medical uses of radioactive isotopes, and radiation in general. Adding to
the concern is the fact that members of the public have little way of knowing what levels of radiation
they are being exposed to, and they traditionally have no control over their exposure.
In order to make informed decisions about balancing the risks and benefits of nuclear power, waste
storage methods, and other activities that involve radioactive materials, the public needs access to data.
The purpose of NEWNET is to provide the public with data on actual radiation levels and to foster an
awareness of the relative risks presented by these levels of radiation.