The U.S. Air Force has awarded a $40 million ceiling contract to Teledyne Brown Engineering, based in Huntsville, for production of Automated Radioxenon Concentrator and Spectrometer units — systems that help monitor illegal nuclear testing.
The automated system developed by Teledyne Brown collects, separates, purifies, quantifies and performs nuclear counting of radioxenon isotopes indicative of nuclear explosions.
“Detection of xenon isotopes is a proven and important method for distinguishing nuclear explosions from earthquakes and detecting undeclared, underground testing,” TBE explains.
The contract will provide multiple radioxenon sampler systems to support nuclear test monitoring requirements of the U.S. Atomic Energy Detection System network for the verification of international treaties. The system is also consistent with requirements of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), Teledyne Brown reports.
Work on the contract should be complete by early 2028.
“This contract is a continuation of the instrumental work we have provided in support of the Air Force Technical Applications Center for decades,” said Jan Hess, president of Teledyne Brown Engineering. “Our team is proud to support this effort and mission that AFTAC and the CTBTO are pursuing to keep both our nation and its allies safe.”
The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty bans all nuclear explosions, civilian and military. It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1996, but has not taken effect because eight key nations, including the United States, have not ratified it to date. The CTBTO maintains the International Monitoring System, a world-wide network of nuclear sensing stations.
Last winter, the system won an R&D 100 award for Teledyne Brown and co-developer Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.