Worldwide measurements of radioxenon background near isotope production facilities, a nuclear power plant and at remote sites: the “EU/JA-II” Project

  • P. R. J. Saey
  • A. Ringbom
  • T. W. Bowyer
  • M. Zähringer
  • M. Auer
  • A. Faanhof
  • C. Labuschagne
  • M. S. Al-Rashidi
  • U. Tippawan
  • B. Verboomen


The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) specifies that radioxenon measurements should be performed at 40 or more stations worldwide within the International Monitoring System (IMS). Measuring radioxenon is one of the principle techniques to detect underground nuclear explosions. Specifically, presence and ratios of different radioxenon isotopes allows determining whether a detection event under consideration originated from a nuclear explosion or a civilian source. However, radioxenon monitoring on a global scale is a novel technology and the global civil background must be characterized sufficiently. This paper lays out a study, based on several unique measurement campaigns, of the worldwide concentrations and sources of verification relevant xenon isotopes. It complements the experience already gathered with radioxenon measurements within the CTBT IMS programme and focuses on locations in Belgium, Germany, Kuwait, Thailand and South Africa where very little information was available on ambient xenon levels or interesting sites offered opportunities to learn more about emissions from known sources. The findings corroborate the hypothesis that a few major radioxenon sources contribute in great part to the global radioxenon background. Additionally, the existence of independent sources of 131mXe (the daughter of 131I) has been demonstrated, which has some potential to bias the isotopic signature of signals from nuclear explosions.


Radioxenon Treaty verification Medical isotope production facilities Nuclear power plant 


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. R. J. Saey
    • 1
    • 10
  • A. Ringbom
    • 2
  • T. W. Bowyer
    • 3
  • M. Zähringer
    • 4
  • M. Auer
    • 4
  • A. Faanhof
    • 5
  • C. Labuschagne
    • 6
  • M. S. Al-Rashidi
    • 7
  • U. Tippawan
    • 8
  • B. Verboomen
    • 9
  1. 1.Vienna University of Technology, AtominstitutViennaAustria
  2. 2.Systems Technology DivisionSwedish Defence Research Agency (FOI)StockholmSweden
  3. 3.Pacific Northwest National LaboratoryRichlandUSA
  4. 4.Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz, (BfS)FreiburgGermany
  5. 5.South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (NECSA)PretoriaSouth Africa
  6. 6.South African Weather Service (SAWS)StellenboschSouth Africa
  7. 7.Coastal & Air Pollution DepartmentKuwait Institute of Scientific Research (KISR)SafatKuwait
  8. 8.Physics Department, Fast Neutron Research Facility (FNRF)Chiang Mai UniversityChiang MaiThailand
  9. 9.National Institute for Radioelements (IRE)FleurusBelgium
  10. 10.International Atomic Energy AgencyViennaAustria

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