Experimental facility for the production of reference atmosphere of radioactive gases (Rn, Xe, Kr, and H isotopes).Appl Radiat Isot 2019; 155:108934AR
Radioactive gases are of great interest for environmental measurements and can be distinguished in two categories. The natural radionuclides such as the isotopes of radon (222Rn and 220Rn), and the anthropogenic radionuclides coming from fission products (isotopes of Xe and 85Kr) and activation products (3H and 37Ar). Gas monitoring in the environment is an important issue for radioprotection and for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which both require metrological traceability of these gases. For this purpose, two gas chambers, of 42 L and 125 L, have been conceived and built at the LNE-LNHB to produce reference atmospheres of various gas mixtures. These chambers were created in order to provide any radioactive gas atmosphere with a wide range of activity concentrations (Bq·m-3 to MBq·m-3). The goal of this setup is to be representative of the different environmental conditions for detector qualification and to perform studies of radioactive gas absorption in materials of interest. As a result, the 2 chambers used in this experimental facility are designed to work from vacuum pressure to atmospheric pressure, with a constant activity concentration for any radioactive gas, and under dry to high humidity conditions. It can also be used in a static mode, in which the activity concentration will follow the radioactive decay of the gas. In this paper, the characterization of the chambers will be discussed. These two chambers are combined with different primary standards established by the LNE-LNHB. As the production of the reference atmosphere depends on the primary standard method, we present the details for each atmosphere production, which require a well-known volume, pressure or a direct activity concentration measurement.