WOSMIP Summary Reports
The sixth Workshop on Signatures of Man-Made Isotope Production (WOSMIP) was held in San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina from 28 November through 2 December, 2016. The focus of the workshop was to bring together representatives from the isotope production and nuclear explosion monitoring communities in order to discuss effects on the verification efforts for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) resulting from nuclear facility radioxenon emissions. In attendance there were 81 participants from 27 countries. Discussions at WOSMIP VI focused on alternative xenon sources (nuclear power plants, research reactors, production, handling, and use of medical isotopes, industrial isotopes, etc.), updates from current and prospective medical isotope producers (MIP) on production processes and facilities, R&D efforts toward radioxenon emission reduction, the use of nuclear facility stack emission data for verification purposes, and atmospheric transport modeling (ATM). The major outcomes of the workshop are presented in this summary.
The fifth Workshop on Signatures of Medical and Industrial Isotope Production (WOSMIP) was held in Brussels, Belgium on May 12-14, 2015. The focus of the workshop was to bring together representatives from the medical isotope production (MIP) and nuclear explosion monitoring communities to discuss ways to mitigate the effects of radioxenon emissions from fission-based MIP on the verification efforts for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). Discussions at this workshop focused on new developments in International Monitoring System (IMS) noble gas network and sensors, the science of radioxenon emissions and atmospheric transport, updates from medical isotope producers on production processes and facilities, technologies used to measure radioxenon stack releases, research and development targeted at reducing radioxenon emissions and methods for data sharing between the communities. This overview presents major outcomes from the workshop.
The fourth Workshop on Signatures of Medical and Industrial Isotope Production (WOSMIP IV) was held November 11-13, 2013, at the Vienna International Center in Vienna, Austria. The workshop brought together 82 experts from 25 countries from the isotope production and radionuclide nuclear explosion monitoring communities to continue discussions on the challenges for nuclear explosion monitoring presented by effluents from medical isotope production. This workshop continued to promote coordination and collaboration between these two distinct scientific communities in an effort to discover ways to mitigate the effects of isotope production on monitoring, while continuing to support efficient, reliable production of isotopes. This fourth workshop included a brief overview from each community, followed by detailed discussions on specific technical challenges and opportunities for future collaboration. The major outcomes and observations of WOSMIP IV were discussed with all participants at the conclusion of the workshop.
Radioactive xenon isotopes are produced by uranium fission in nuclear reactors and in nuclear-weapon explosions. Four xenon isotopes are produced in high yield and have sufficiently long half-lives to be useful in environmental monitoring associated with verification of compliance with the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT): 131mXe, 133mXe, 133Xe and 135Xe. Xenon emissions from medical isotope production facilities are a major source of the global atmospheric xenon background, and may confuse monitoring results by reducing the clarity of source attribution. Comparing the activity ratios of 135Xe/133Xe and 133mXe/131mXe provides one possible means of discriminating detections of nuclear explosions from detections of radioxenon from other sources.
Medical and industrial radioisotopes are fundamental tools used in science, medicine and industry with an ever expanding usage in medical practice where their availability is vital. Very sensitive environmental radionuclide monitoring networks have been developed for nuclear-security-related monitoring [particularly Comprehensive Test-Ban-Treaty (CTBT) compliance verification] and are now operational. The possibility that emissions from the all-important production facilities might impinge adversely on these monitoring operations was first raised in 2002. In the following years, as an increasing volume of monitoring data from around the world became available, specific measurement campaigns took place and all doubt over this possibility was removed and the seriousness of the issue realized. The recent Fukushima nuclear event overshadowed the issue somewhat by introducing another set of source-term variables.
Summary On July 1-3, 2009, in Strassoldo, Italy, more than 70 professionals representing the medical isotope production and the international monitoring communities from 16 countries came together to discuss the impacts of medical isotope production on the international monitoring system at the Workshop on Signatures of Medical and Industrial Isotope Production (WOSMIP). The workshop was hosted and organized by PNNL. Medical and industrial isotopes are fundamental tools used in science, medicine, and industry and hence large amounts of isotopes are produced every year at locations across the globe using a variety of means, and releasing detectable amounts of radioisotopes into the atmosphere. At the same time, the scientific community has explored increasingly sensitive methods for detecting isotopes as part of nuclear treaty monitoring and verification and for other reasons. As a consequence, isotopes including those that are short-lived, are frequently detected in these advanced measurement systems usually well below levels of naturally occurring radioisotopes such as Rn-222 and its daughters. WOSMIP presented the first opportunity for these two communities of people (medical isotope production and monitoring) to come together to discuss the impacts their missions have on each other. The workshop provided a forum to foster communication and build a stronger collaboration and information sharing between scientists. The workshop has resulted in a better understanding of the isotopic and chemical signatures created through isotope production mechanisms and the trace quantities of these isotopes that are detected in the environment. The workshop was very successful with a number of positive outcomes.