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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  

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.

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Abstract  

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has developed an Automated Radioxenon Sampler/Analyzer (ARSA) in support of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty (CTBT) to measure four radioxenon isotopes: 131mXe, 133mXe, 133gXe, and 135gXe. This system uses a beta-gamma coincidence counting detector to produce two-dimensional plots of gamma-energy versus beta-energy. Betas and conversion electrons (CE) are detected in a cylindrical plastic scintillation cell and gamma and X-rays are detected in a surrounding NaI(Tl) scintillation detector. The ARSA has been field tested at several locations to measure the radioxenon concentrations. Most recently it has been deployed at the Institut für Atmosphärische Radioaktivität in Freiburg, Germany. During the first 4 months of 2000 the measured 133Xe oncentrations have varied between 0.0±0.1 and 110±10 mBq/m3 air. The longer lived 131mXe (T 1/2 = 11.9 d) and short lived 135Xe (T 1/2 = 9.1 h) have also been detected in small quantities, while 133mXe concentrations have been consistent with zero. Minimum detectable concentration (MDC) calculations for 133gXe fell well below the 1 mBq per standard-cubic-meter of air requirement adopted by the CTBT Preparatory Commission.1 A description of the radioxenon detector, the concentration and MDC calculations and preliminary results of the field test in Germany are presented.

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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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