UTEX modeling of radioxenon isotopic fractionation resulting from subsurface transport
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The underground transport of environmental xenon (UTEX) model is a finite-difference code that was developed at the University of Texas at Austin to simulate the transport of radioxenon from an underground nuclear detonation to the surface. UTEX handles a time dependent source term and includes the effects of radioactive decay to determine isotopic signatures of the various radioxenon species as a function of release time. The model shows that significant perturbations in the isotopic signatures are possible under some geologic conditions. Transport of radioxenon gas in UTEX is driven in large part by atmospheric pumping. A study was undertaken to characterize the dependence of resulting isotopic signatures on the various geologic and physical parameters that define the system model. Additionally, the model was used to roughly simulate isotopic measurements at various depths and position; the potential dependence of isotopic radioxenon fractionation on sampling depth and lateral position between fractures was examined.