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Computation and Analysis of the Global Distribution of the Radioxenon Isotope Xe-133 based on Emissions from Nuclear Power Plants and Radioisotope Production Facilities and its Relevance for the Verification of the Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

MPG-Autoren
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Becker,  Andreas
AG Müller, Marianne, Florian Holsboer (Direktor), Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Max Planck Society;

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Zitation

Wotawa, G., Becker, A., Kalinowski, M., Saey, P., Tuma, M., & Zaehringer, M. (2010). Computation and Analysis of the Global Distribution of the Radioxenon Isotope Xe-133 based on Emissions from Nuclear Power Plants and Radioisotope Production Facilities and its Relevance for the Verification of the Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. PURE AND APPLIED GEOPHYSICS, 167(4-5), 541-557. doi:10.1007/s00024-009-0033-0.


Zitierlink: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0018-165E-5
Zusammenfassung
Monitoring of radioactive noble gases, in particular xenon isotopes, is a crucial element of the verification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). The capability of the noble gas network, which is currently under construction, to detect signals from a nuclear explosion critically depends on the background created by other sources. Therefore, the global distribution of these isotopes based on emissions and transport patterns needs to be understood. A significant xenon background exists in the reactor regions of North America, Europe and Asia. An emission inventory of the four relevant xenon isotopes has recently been created, which specifies source terms for each power plant. As the major emitters of xenon isotopes worldwide, a few medical radioisotope production facilities have been recently identified, in particular the facilities in Chalk River (Canada), Fleurus (Belgium), Pelindaba (South Africa) and Petten (Netherlands). Emissions from these sites are expected to exceed those of the other sources by orders of magnitude. In this study, emphasis is put on Xe-133, which is the most prevalent xenon isotope. First, based on the emissions known, the resulting Xe-133 concentration levels at all noble gas stations of the final CTBT verification network were calculated and found to be consistent with observations. Second, it turned out that emissions from the radioisotope facilities can explain a number of observed peaks, meaning that atmospheric transport modelling is an important tool for the categorization of measurements. Third, it became evident that Nuclear Power Plant emissions are more difficult to treat in the models, since their temporal variation is high and not generally reported. Fourth, there are indications that the assumed annual emissions may be underestimated by factors of two to ten, while the general emission patterns seem to be well understood. Finally, it became evident that Xe-133 sources mainly influence the sensitivity of the monitoring system in the mid-latitudes, where the network coverage is particularly good.