Workshop on the Signatures of Man-Made Isotope Production (WOSMIP VI)

Experts from the nuclear test monitoring and isotope production communities gathered in San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina, from 28 November to 2 December, to address some of the challenges related to nuclear test monitoring. The Workshop on the Signatures of Man-Made Isotope Production (WOSMIP VI) was jointly hosted by the  Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), Investigación Aplicada (INVAP) and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). Noble gas systems deployed as part of the radionuclide network of the International Monitoring System (IMS) are equipped with very sensitive systems, capable of measuring even very low activity concentrations of radioactive isotopes of the noble gas xenon. Normal operational releases from nuclear facilities create an atmospheric background that is frequently detected by the IMS noble gas systems. It is a complex task to discriminate between background radioxenon from civil nuclear applications and radioxenon from nuclear testing. The Workshop provided a forum where experts from all over the world had an opportunity to discuss topics related to understanding the global radioxenon background, sharing their knowledge on the broader range of isotope sources and discussing recent advances in control of radioxenon emissions.


Wozzie Award winners Christophe Gueibe and Johan Camps

From left to right: Emmy Hoffmann (2015), Benoit Deconninck (2011), Richard de Caire (2012), Dominique Moyaux, Christophe Gueibe and Johan Camps (2016). In brackets are the years when these experts received the Wozzie Award.

This workshop was important to me because I gained a greater appreciation for the problems faced by the CTBT monitoring community as well as learning about potential solutions.

On the agenda was a presentation from PNNL on the STAX network, a new concept for using data on radioxenon release into the atmosphere for the CTBTO. STAX stands for Source Term Analysis of Xenon.  It is a project that would develop methods, tools and technology for the use of Medical Isotope Production (MIP) radioxenon emissions for better integration of radioxenon background data to support CTBT verification. WOSMIP was considered to be a good venue for peer review the STAX concept.

Ted Bowyer presenting

This workshop was important to me because sharing of expertise that helps me in my work.

Among the topics discussed were the results of the 2nd ATM (Atmospheric Transport Modelling) Challenge. The purpose of the 2nd ATM Challenge was to find out how well simulated concentrations compare with real IMS measurements. The simulations use only radioxenon release data and ATM. 17 participants from 9 different countries took part in the exercise.  The related workshop session gave an opportunity for ATM experts to present to the broader community challenges related to accurate modelling of radioxenon background concentrations.

Roy Brown presenting

Winning the Wozzie Award reflects the continuous work we do to contribute to the WOSMIP’s objectives.

This year the PNNL-sponsored Wozzie Award for leadership and commitment towards the better understanding of emissions from man-made isotope production was presented to SCK-CEN Belgian Nuclear Research Centre.
I’m very happy with the Wozzie award, it really motivates to continue our research to reduce Xenon emissions.

On the last day of the Workshop, participants had an opportunity to take part in the technical tour to INVAP headquarters and to visit the nuclear research reactor of Comisión Nacional de Energía Atómica (CNEA).
Watch CTBTO's short film on mitigating Xenon emissions.