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Global Radioxenon Emission Inventory from Nuclear Research Reactors


To monitor compliance with the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), the International Monitoring System (IMS) is being established which will include 40 sensor systems for atmospheric xenon radioactivity. Radioactive isotopes of the noble gas xenon provide the most likely observable radioactive signatures of underground nuclear explosions. These isotopes are frequently detected by IMS noble gas systems as a result of normal operational releases from different types of nuclear facilities including nuclear power plants (NPPs), medical isotope production facilities (MIPFs), and nuclear research reactors (NRRs). Improved knowledge of the contribution of different emission sources on IMS observations strengthens the screening of radioxenon measurements to exclude observations not relevant to emissions from a nuclear explosion. The contribution of NPPs and MIPFs to the global radioxenon emission inventory is fairly well understood. NRRs have yet to be systematically assessed. This paper is the first attempt to assess the total emission inventory of NRRs expressed as annual total discharges. The results can enhance understanding of those sources most likely to impact IMS background observations and to guide future studies on contributions to IMS station background.

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