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Title: International Challenge to Predict the Impact of Radioxenon Releases from Medical Isotope Production on a Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Sampling Station

Abstract The International Monitoring System (IMS) is part of the verification regime for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty Organization (CTBTO). At entry-into-force, half of the 80 radionuclide stations will be able to measure concentrations of several radioactive xenon isotopes produced in nuclear explosions, and then the full network may be populated with xenon monitoring afterward (Bowyer et al., 2013). Fission-based production of 99Mo for medical purposes also releases radioxenon isotopes to the atmosphere (Saey, 2009). One of the ways to mitigate the effect of emissions from medical isotope production is the use of stack monitoring data, if it were available, so that the effect of radioactive xenon emissions could be subtracted from the effect from a presumed nuclear explosion, when detected at an IMS station location. To date, no studies have addressed the impacts the time resolution or data accuracy of stack monitoring data have on predicted concentrations at an IMS station location. Recently, participants from seven nations used atmospheric transport modeling to predict the time-history of 133Xe concentration measurements at an IMS station in Germany using stack monitoring data from a medical isotope production facility in Belgium. Participants received only stack monitoring data and used the atmospheric transport model and meteorologicalmore » data of their choice. Some of the models predicted the highest measured concentrations quite well (a high composite statistical model comparison rank or a small mean square error with the measured values). The results suggest release data on a 15 min time spacing is best. The model comparison rank and ensemble analysis suggests that combining multiple models may provide more accurate predicted concentrations than any single model. Further research is needed to identify optimal methods for selecting ensemble members and those methods may depend on the specific transport problem. None of the submissions based only on the stack monitoring data predicted the small measured concentrations very well. The one submission that best predicted small concentrations also included releases from nuclear power plants. Modeling of sources by other nuclear facilities with smaller releases than medical isotope production facilities may be important in discriminating those releases from releases from a nuclear explosion.« less
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Journal Article
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Journal Name: Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 157:41-51
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
Medical isotope production; 133Xe; source-term estimation; atmospheric modeling; CTBTO