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Journal Article

Environmental Radioxenon Levels in Europe: a Comprehensive Overview

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Saey, P. R. J., Schlosser, C., Achim, P., Auer, M., Axelsson, A., Becker, A., et al. (2010). Environmental Radioxenon Levels in Europe: a Comprehensive Overview. PURE AND APPLIED GEOPHYSICS, 167(4-5), 499-515. doi:10.1007/s00024-009-0034-z.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0018-9A8C-3
Activity concentration data from ambient radioxenon measurements in ground level air, which were carried out in Europe in the framework of the International Noble Gas Experiment (INGE) in support of the development and build-up of a radioxenon monitoring network for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty verification regime are presented and discussed. Six measurement stations provided data from 5 years of measurements performed between 2003 and 2008: Longyearbyen (Spitsbergen, Norway), Stockholm (Sweden), Dubna (Russian Federation), Schauinsland Mountain (Germany), BruySres-le-ChA cent tel and Marseille (both France). The noble gas systems used within the INGE are designed to continuously measure low concentrations of the four radioxenon isotopes which are most relevant for detection of nuclear explosions: (131m)Xe, (133m)Xe, (133)Xe and (135)Xe with a time resolution less than or equal to 24 h and a minimum detectable concentration of (133)Xe less than 1 mBq/m(3). This European cluster of six stations is particularly interesting because it is highly influenced by a high density of nuclear power reactors and some radiopharmaceutical production facilities. The activity concentrations at the European INGE stations are studied to characterise the influence of civilian releases, to be able to distinguish them from possible nuclear explosions. It was found that the mean activity concentration of the most frequently detected isotope, (133)Xe, was 5-20 mBq/m(3) within Central Europe where most nuclear installations are situated (BruySres-le-ChA cent tel and Schauinsland), 1.4-2.4 mBq/m(3) just outside that region (Stockholm, Dubna and Marseille) and 0.2 mBq/m(3) in the remote polar station of Spitsbergen. No seasonal trends could be observed from the data. Two interesting events have been examined and their source regions have been identified using atmospheric backtracking methods that deploy Lagrangian particle dispersion modelling and inversion techniques. The results are consistent with known releases of a radiopharmaceutical facility.