RADIOXENON Monitoring

SAUNA QUBE – RADIOXENON MONITORING

SAUNA QUBE

A change of perspective: stationed on own territory, QUBE monitors distant nuclear events. Radioxenon is the earliest indicator of irregularities   in the operation of nuclear facilities. The isotope signature reveals the type of source and its condition, the array concept the point of origin.

SAUNA QUBE is the latest generation, fully automated system to measure the activity concentration of radioactive xenon in the atmosphere. QUBE uses a series of adsorption stages to extract xenon gas from the air. The volume of the xenon sample is measured and then transferred to a detector to measure the activity of the four relevant xenon isotopes using beta-gamma coincidence spectroscopy.

QUBE is highly scalable, operating as a single unit and in an array of multiple QUBE units spread over a larger geographic region. The array concept improves source localization and characterization. It also increases robustness compared to a single system as the array continues to function even if a single unit is down. Exchanging an individual unit is easy because of its transportability and plug-and-play design.

Applications:

  • Earliest warning

Radioactive xenon is the earliest remotely detectable precursor of nuclear events. Unusual radioxenon detections can indicate reactor operation outside of specifications.

  • Source localization

The larger the array, the more precisely the source of a radioxenon emission can be determined with atmospheric transport calculations.

  • Remote NPP monitoring

The xenon isotope ratios can contain information on the fuel cycle status of a specific NPP. The same holds true for concentration peaks or the absence of radioxenon under suitable wind conditions.

  • Nuclear weapons testing

Radioxenon isotope ratios can indicate whether the origin of an emission is an NPP, a medical isotope production facility, or a nuclear weapon test.

Features:

  • Low total cost of ownership: low power and gas consumption, nitrogen as carrier gas, low maintenance
  • Small and compact, easily transportable – on wheels, can be moved by one person
  • Plug-and-play installation
  • Modular design for easy maintenance
  • Exchange unit philosophy – quick and easy replacement
  • Built-in, uninterruptible power supply with automatic shutdown
  • Relaxed housing requirements: internal lead-shielded Cs-137 source (~1.5 kBq) for stabilization
  • Calibrated at the factory

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