Michael Schoeppner, Wolfango Plastino, "Determination of the Global Coverage of the IMS Xenon-133 Component for the Detection of Nuclear Explosions," Science & Global Security 22, no. 3 (2014): 209-234
Radioxenon is an important atmospheric tracer to detect underground nuclear explosions. The International Monitoring System is designed to provide worldwide continuous physical monitoring and detection of nuclear explosions and incorporates 40 noble gas monitoring stations. They are constantly sampling the atmosphere for concentrations of radioxenon. This work analyses how effectively the network of stations is able to detect unusual xenon-133 concentrations in the atmosphere. A large multitude of nuclear explosions, evenly distributed in space and time, is simulated and the detection rate is calculated. Atmospheric transport modelling is applied to calculate the source-receptor-sensitivities for each monitoring station. The approach includes the anthropogenic radioxenon background, station-specific detection criteria, different scenarios for surface and subsurface nuclear explosions, and a spatial as well as a time dependent analysis. Recommendations are drawn for the improvement of the detection capability.