WASHINGTON (AP) - Legislation passed by the House of Representatives today orders a government study into the technology needed to allow miners trapped far underground to communicate with rescuers.
The bill commissions the National Institute of Standards and Technology to research, develop and demonstrate next-generation miner tracking and communications systems. The institute also would promote the creation of standards regarding underground communications to protect miners.
Communicating with miners working in deep coal mines is technically difficult because coal absorbs radio waves. Less than ten percent of the radio spectrum that is used above ground can be used underground.
The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)