RIMNET (Radiation Incident Monitoring Network)

The RIMNET system Phase 2 has been fully operational since April 1994. The system comprises 92 background gamma dose radiation detectors located across the UK which are interrogated hourly by a Central Database Facility. The Central Database Facility also has the ability to store radionuclide specific information (known as Supplementary Data) as provided by other Government Departments, Local Authorities and Local Authority monitoring groups. RIMNET is acknowledged as the national database of all radiological data and information collected in the event of a nuclear incident.

Supplementary Data entry is achieved by use of a PC based software package (SDE) supplied by the DETR (Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions) to organisations accredited for the sampling and analysis of radiological data. Data are uploaded freely to the RIMNET database, on the basis of planned mutual benefit to the individual suppliers concerned. The data supplied and data from other sources in that region are downloaded to the data supplier on request. These uploads and downloads are achieved using an X.400 based mailbox system. These mailboxes are provided to the supplier by the DETR with the SDE software.

As well as being a database for radiological monitoring information, RIMNET is used for information dissemination, the largest body of recipients being Host Local Authorities (HLAs). To achieve this information dissemination RIMNET uses the X.400 electronic mail system. HLAs are sent an Alert Fax warning them to check their e-mail, where information has been sent from the RIMNET system. RIMNET has 59 recognised HLAs to which it has supplied an X.400 mailbox and the necessary software, although the actual distribution list is much greater than 59 as other Local Authorities have given RIMNET their e-mail addresses and also receive an Alert Fax and information. This process of information is tested on a bi-monthly basis.

As stated earlier RIMNET is the National database in the event of a nuclear incident and as such plays a role in all overseas, domestic and MoD exercises where the release of radioactivity is simulated. In such exercises the RIMNET system is used for the co-ordination of monitoring resources for the provision of radiological data. Data collected by NRPB, MoD and MAFF are all input to RIMNET via SDE.

Although the central core functionality of RIMNET is fixed until 2003 the DETR is continually trying to improve the service offered by RIMNET. To this end a fileserver has been purchased and brought on-line following the RIMNET move to new accommodation in London. This new fileserver (with a back-up fileserver at Ampthill) can be dialled directly and RIMNET data suppliers can be provided with access details that allow them to download pre-prepared data sets and RIMNET information bulletins without needing to request a download from the RIMNET support team. The RIMNET fileservers utilises World Wide Web technologies and enable users of RIMNETpc to access data from the fileserver and overlay it on maps. RIMNETpc is currently used by SEPA, DETR, DERA, EA and NRPB.

Enquiries about the RIMNET Approved Data Suppliers scheme should be addressed to Mr Keith Binfield, RIMNET 3H/32, Ashdown House, 123 Victoria Street, LONDON, SW1E 6DE.