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  • 1 Pacific Northwest National Laboratory MSIN P8-08 P.O. Box 999 99352 Richland Washington USA
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Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, with guidance and support from the U.S. Department of Energy's NN-20 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) Research and Development program, has developed and demonstrated a fully automatic sampler-analyzer (ARSA) for the collection and quantitative measurement of the four xenon radionuclides,131mXe (11.9 d),133mXe (2.19 d),133Xe (5.24 d), and135Xe (9.10 h), in the atmosphere. These radionuclides are important signatures in monitoring for compliance to a CTBT, and may have applications in stack monitoring and other areas where xenon radionuclides are present. The activity ratios between certain of these radionuclides permit discrimination between radioxenon originating from nuclear detonations and that from nuclear reactor operations, nuclear fuel reprocessing, or from medical isotope production and usage. With the ARSA system, xenon is continuously and automatically separated from the atmosphere at flow rates of about 100 lpm by sorption-bed techniques. Samples collected in 8 hours are automatically analyzed by electron-photon coincidence spectrometry to provide detection sensitivities as low as 100 μBq/m3 of air. This sensitivity is about 10-fold better than achieved with reported laboratory-based procedures1 for the short time collection intervals of interest. Gamma-ray energy spectra and gas analysis data are automatically collected.