The international monitoring system (IMS) has been developed to verify compliance with the comprehensive nuclear test-ban treaty (CTBT) and radionuclide monitoring stations are the smoking gun for underground nuclear explosions identification. One of the main objectives of the verification regime is to improve the sensitivity of measurements providing background reduction and, as a result, decrease the minimum detectable activity (MDA) values. At this ENEA laboratory an anticoincidence system has been developed: the system is comprised of a high purity germanium (HPGe) detector surrounded by a low–background shield and two plastic scintillators able to detect coincident cosmic-ray interactions. Tests conducted with the anticoincidence system have shown a reduction of the Compton continuum that contributes to the spectrum background and the measured MDA values, compared to those obtained using the standard system, decreased for all the four radioxenon isotopes. © 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.