During the Cold War, three lines of defense protected North America from the “imminent” threat against Soviet long-range bombers. These consisted of radar stations along the DEW line (Distant Early Warning), the MCL (Mid-Canada Line), and the Pinetree Line. These joint ventures by Canada and the U.S. were staffed by U.S. Air Force and Royal Canadian Air Force personnel from 1951 to 1991.
The stations provide continuous measurements of gamma radiation and collect air particulate samples that are analyzed for radioactivity and meteorological measurements that aid in interpreting variations in background radiation. The CEMP stations provide evidence to the public that no releases of radiation of health concern are occurring from the NNSS to the stations.
Of the 29 stations, 23 upload data in real-time to a public website as well as digital readout displays at the stations, providing transparency to the public. The other 6 stations upload hourly.
Uranium fever hit Utah as the Cold War was raging. Between 1950 and 1956, over 50,000 uranium claims were filed by prospectors for mines in the San Rafael Swell — a giant dome-shaped geologic feature made of sandstone, shale, and limestone that was pushed up during the Paleocene era as a result of subduction and deformation.