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A multicomponent, multipurpose PWR containment air monitoring system (CAMS) for normal and accident conditions is described. Both radiation levels and gas composition are monitored. In addition to conventional particulate, iodine and noble gas monitors, the system includes an automatic grab sampling system actuated by high radiation levels, an automated gas chromatograph, a tritium sampler, and externally mounted detectors for reliable monitoring of high radiation levels inside containment. The system incorporates special design features to alleviate problems caused by fluctuating background radiation, internal contamination, plateout, high sample pressure and temperature, and high radiation levels.