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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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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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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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