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Monday, 24 May 1965

Senator PALTRIDGE - The answers to the honorable senator's questions are as follows - 1 and 2. The authority in Australia responsible for monitoring fallout from nuclear weapon tests is the Atomic Weapons Tests Safety Committee under the Chairmanship of Professor E. W. Titterton; data from its programmes are published on an annual basis as soon as they have been collated and analysed. The A.W.T.S.C. is directly responsible for an extensive programme for monitoring strontium 90 in the Australian environment and collaborates with Commonwealth X-ray and Radium Laboratory in measurements of caesium 137. The accurate estimation of these radioisotopes is difficult and laborious; it requires special equipment and technical skill. In addition, to permit a satisfactory assessment of the levels of the radioisotopes in the environment many samples of particular materials must be examined. Consequently, the collection and analysis of these data is a slow process. The scientific papers presenting the results are usually published in the Australian Journal of Science; the most recent papers appeared in the February issue of the Journal and reported results for strontium 90 and caesium 137 for 1963. When measurements are completed on materials from the 1964 survey, the results will be assessed and reported in the Journal later this year. In view of the demanding and time-consuming nature of this work, it is not possible to give an undertaking that the results for each year will be published by March of the following year. However, the honorable senator can be assured that as a matter of policy, the results will be published as soon as possible after they have been collated and analysed.

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