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Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
Authors: W. Hensley, A. McKinnon, H. Miley, M. Panisko, and R. Savard

Abstract  

A computer code has been written at the Pacific Northwest Laboratory (PNL) to synthesize the results of typical gamma-ray spectroscopy experiments. The code, dubbed SYNTH1, allows users to specify physical characteristics of a gamma-ray source, the quantity of the nuclides producing the radiation, the source-to-detector distance, the type and thickness of absorbers, the size and composition of the detector (Ge or NaI), and the electronic set up used to gather the data. In the process of specifying the parameters needed to synthesize a spectrum, several interesting intermediate results are produced, including a photopeak transmission function vs. energy, a detector efficiency curve, and a weighted list of gamma and x rays produced from a set of nuclides. All of these intermediate results are available for graphical inspection and for printing. SYNTH runs on personal computers, is menu driven and can be customized to user specifications. SYNTH contains robust support for coaxial germanium detectors and some support for sodium iodide detectors. SYNTH is not a finished product. A number of additional developments are planned. However, the existing code has been carefully compared to spectra obtained from National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) certified standards with very favorable results.

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Abstract  

Radionuclide monitoring, though slower than vibrational methods of explosion detection, provides a basic and certain component of Comprehensive Test Ban treaty (CTBT) verification. Measurement of aerosol radioactive debris, specifically a suite of short-lived fission products, gives high confidence that a nuclear weapon has been detonated in or vented to the atmosphere. The variable nature of wind-borne transport of the debris requires that many monitoring stations cover the globe to insure a high degree of confidence that tests which vent to the atmosphere will be detected within a reasonable time period. To fulfill the CTBT aerosol measurement requirements, a system has been developed at PNNL to automatically collect and measure radioactive aerosol debris, then communicate spectral data to a central data center. This development has proceeded through several design iterations which began with sufficient measurement capability (<30 μBq/m3 140Ba) and resulted in a system with a minimal footprint (1 m×2 m), minimal power requirement (1600W), and support of network infrastructure needs. The Mark IV prototype (Fig. 1) is currently the subject of an Air Force procurement with private industry to partially fulfill US treaty obligations under the CTBT. It is planned that the system will be available for purchase from a manufacturer in late 1997.

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Abstract  

A Radionuclide Aerosol Sampler/Analyzer (RASA Mark 4) has been developed at PNNL for use in verifying the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). The RASA Mark 4 collects about 20,000 m3 of air per day on a 0.25 m2 filter. This filter is automatically decayed for 24 hours, then advanced to a germanium detector for a 24 hour count. This system has been operated in Richland, WA for a limited period of time in a predeployment testing phase. The germanium-detector gamma-ray spectra have been analyzed by automatic spectral analysis codes to determine Minimum Detectable Concentrations (MDC) for a number of isotopes of interest. These MDC's have been compared to other atmospheric measurements in the field and in the laboratory.

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Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
Authors: T. Bowyer, K. Abel, C. Hubbard, A. McKinnon, M. Panisko, R. Perkins, P. Reeder, R. Thompson, and R. Warner

Abstract  

A fully automatic radioxenon sampler/analyzer (ARSA) has been developed and demonstrated for the collection and quantitative measurement of the four xenon radionuclides,131mXe(11.9 d),133mXe(2.2 d),133Xe(5.2 d), and135Xe(9.1 hr), in the atmosphere. These radionuclides are important signatures in monitoring for compliance to a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Activity ratios of these radionuclides permit source attribution. Xenon, continuously and automatically separated from the atmosphere, is automatically analyzed by electron-photon coincidence spectrometry providing a lower limit of detection of about 100 μBq/m3. The demonstrated detection limit is about 100 times better than achievable with reported laboratory-based procedures for the short-time collection intervals of interest.

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