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Title: PRex: An Experiment to Investigate Detection of Near-field Particulate Deposition from a Simulated Underground Nuclear Weapons Test Vent

An experiment to release radioactive particles representative of small-scale venting from an underground nuclear test was conducted to gather data in support of treaty capability development activities. For this experiment, a CO2-driven “air cannon” was used to release lanthanum-140 at ambient temperatures. The radioisotope 140La was chosen as a representative fission fragment with a short half-life and prominent gamma-ray emissions; the choice was also influenced by the successful production and use of 140La with low levels of radioactive contaminants in the Defence Research and Development Canada Field Trials. The source was created through activation of high-purity lanthanum oxide at the TRIGA research reactor of Washington State University, Pullman, Washington. Witness plates and air samplers were laid out in an irregular grid covering the area for which the plume was anticipated to deposit based on climatological wind records. A vehicle-mounted spectrometer, and handheld and backpack instruments ranging from polyvinyl toluene to high purity germanium, were used to survey the plume. Additionally, three soil sampling techniques were investigated. The relative sensitivity and utility of sampling and survey methods are discussed in the context of On-Site Inspection.
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0017-9078; 830403000
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Health Physics; Journal Volume: 110; Journal Issue: 5
Health Physics Society
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
atmospheric dispersion; particle deposition; radiation survey; radioactive particulate; radioactivity; On-site Inspection; underground nuclear test; vented nuclear test; in-situ gamma spectrometry