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Abstract  

Beta-gamma coincidence counting is one of two acceptable noble gas monitoring measurement modes for Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty (CTBT) verification purposes defined in CTBT/PC/II/WG.B/1. Rigorous derivations of detection limits and minimum detectable activity concentrations for - coincidence data are derived in this paper. Different sampling methodologies are modeled to show how the MDC is affected by different sample collection times, spectral collection times, background radon levels, and other factors.

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Abstract  

There are two acceptable noble gas monitoring measurement modes for Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty (CTBT) verification purposes defined in CTBT/PC/II/WG.B/1. These include beta-gamma coincidence and high-resolution gamma-spectrometry. There are at present no commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) applications for the analysis of - coincidence data. Development of such software is in progress at the Prototype International Data Centre (PIDC) for eventual deployment at the International Data Centre (IDC). This paper includes flowcharts detailing the automatic analysis algorithm for - coincidence data to be coded at the PIDC. The program is being written in C with Oracle databasing capabilities.

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Abstract  

The Spectral Deconvolution Analysis Tool (SDAT) software was developed to improve counting statistics and detection limits for nuclear explosion radionuclide measurements. SDAT utilizes spectral deconvolution spectroscopy techniques and can analyze both β–γ coincidence spectra for radioxenon isotopes and high-resolution HPGe spectra from aerosol monitors. The deconvolution algorithm of the SDAT requires a library of β–γ coincidence spectra of individual radioxenon isotopes to determine isotopic ratios in a sample. In order to get experimentally produced spectra of the individual isotopes, we have irradiated enriched samples of 130Xe, 132Xe, and 134Xe gas with a neutron beam from the TRIGA reactor at The University of Texas. The samples were counted in an Automated Radioxenon Sampler/Analyzer (ARSA) style β–γ coincidence detector. The spectra produced show that this method of radioxenon production yields samples with very high purity of the individual isotopes for 131mXe and 135Xe and a sample with a substantial 133mXe to 133Xe ratio.

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Abstract  

The Spectral Deconvolution Analysis Tool (SDAT) software was developed at The University of Texas at Austin. SDAT utilizes a standard spectrum technique for the analysis of β–γ coincidence spectra. Testing was performed on the software to compare the standard spectrum analysis technique with a region of interest (ROI) analysis technique. Experimentally produced standard spectra and sample data were produced at the Nuclear Engineering Teaching Laboratory (NETL) TRIGA reactor. The results of the testing showed that the standard spectrum technique had lower errors than the ROI analysis technique for samples with low counting statistics. In contrast, the ROI analysis technique outperformed the standard spectrum technique in high counting statistics samples. It was also shown that the standard spectrum technique benefitted from a compression of the number of channels within the spectra.

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Summary  

In view of the terrorist threats to the United States, the country needs to consider new vectors and weapons related to nuclear and radiological threats against our homeland. The traditional threat vectors, missiles and bombers, have expanded to include threats arriving through the flow of commerce. The new commerce-related vectors include: sea cargo, truck cargo, rail cargo, air cargo, and passenger transport. The types of weapons have also expanded beyond nuclear warheads to include radiation dispersal devices (RDD) or “dirty' bombs. The consequences of these nuclear and radiological threats are both economic and life threatening. The defense against undesirable materials entering our borders involves extensive radiation monitoring at ports of entry. The radiation and other signatures of potential nuclear and radiological threats are examined along with potential sensors to discover undesirable items in the flow of commerce. Techniques to improve radiation detection are considered. A strategy of primary and secondary screening is proposed to rapidly clear most cargo and carefully examine suspect cargo.

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Abstract  

In support of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), improvements have been made to the model of the Automated Radioxenon Sampler/Analyzer (ARSA) β-γ coincidence detector for radioxenon monitoring. MCNPX is used to simulate the detector response for all the electrons and photons emitted from 131mXe, 133Xe, 133mXe, 135Xe, and 137Cs signals. A MatLab code was written to incorporate the MCNPX results in the calculation of β-γ coincidence spectra. These will aid in the development of the Spectral Deconvolution Analysis Tool (SDAT)1 and to calibrate β-γ coincidence systems. The models developed for this work include improvements over previous models in their ability to address Compton scattering in the β-cell, and the β-distribution offset in the 31 keV γ-ray region for 133Xe.

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Abstract  

The Spectral Deconvolution Analysis Tool (SDAT) software was developed to improve counting statistics and detection limits for nuclear explosion radionuclide measurements. SDAT utilizes spectral deconvolution spectroscopy techniques and can analyze both β-γ coincidence spectra for radioxenon isotopes and high-resolution HPGe spectra from aerosol monitors. Spectral deconvolution spectroscopy is an analysis method that utilizes the entire signal deposited in a gamma-ray detector rather than the small portion of the signal that is present in one gamma-ray peak. This method shows promise to improve detection limits over classical gamma-ray spectroscopy analytical techniques; however, this hypothesis has not been tested. To address this issue, we performed three tests to compare the detection ability and variance of SDAT results to those of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) software which utilizes a standard peak search algorithm.

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Summary  

In the past few years there has been renewed worldwide interest in the re-establishment of various nuclear and radiochemistry disciplines in the hope of training the next generation of skilled researchers in this area. In the United States there continues to be an acute shortage of MSc and PhD level trained students, particularly at the Department of Energy national laboratories. As a result of this critical need the Department of Energy established a Radiochemistry Education Award Program (REAP) in the late 1990's to address this issue. Several universities were awarded funding to establish various complimentary programs. One of the main goals of the REAP at the University of Texas was to establish a web-based graduate level course with associated labs and to have interactions with the national laboratories.

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Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
Authors: S. Landsberger, A. Plionis, S. Biegalski, K. Foltz-Biegalski, E. Schneider, D. O’Kelly, J. Braisted, S. O’Kelly, and L. Welch

Abstract  

Over the last three years we have developed a very robust nuclear and radiochemistry program at The University of Texas at Austin. The cornerstone of support was the DOE Radiochemistry Educational Award Program (REAP) that was awarded from 2002–2005. A second award for the period of 2005–2008 was just received. This award has enabled us to support many educational activities from vanguard classroom instruction, to laboratory enhancements, to research activities at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Both traditional radiochemistry and advanced topics in nuclear instrumentation have been supported. Various DOE university programs, national lab funding and IAEA fellowship grants, have allowed the Nuclear and Radiation Engineering Program at the University of Texas to be at the forefront of nuclear and radiochemistry educational and research activities and help secure the next generation of needed expertise.

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