Medical isotope producers sign agreement with CTBTO to reduce xenon emissions

The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization announced on Wednesday that four new producers of medical isotopes signed an agreement to minimize radioxenon emissions of the radioactive noble gas xenon.

"I welcome this cooperation with some of the key producers of medical isotopes," CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo said. "It helps us to provide confidence to our Member States that now and in the future, no radioactive release from a nuclear test will go unnoticed."

The Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, Indonesia's PT Batan Teknologi Company and Coqui Radio Pharmaceuticals Corp. in the U.S. all signed pledges to reduce their xenon emissions. The gases are not dangerous to health or the environment, but xenon gas can be improperly detected by the International Monitoring System, which detects nuclear emissions, as a nuclear threat.

Under the terms of the agreement, the producers will reasonably minimize isotopic releases to minimally impact the CTBTO's underground nuclear testing detectors. The producers will also be in regular communication with the CTBTO to determine if a detected threat is a nuclear threat or xenon emissions.

As stated in the agreement, the CTBTO will cooperate with the producers to properly manage any elevated reading of radioxenon isotopes by the IMS. The CTBTO will also offer direct support to the producers by means of expert advice and developments in technology.