X-ray emission has been detected occasionally during the streamer-corona propagation in a wire-plate corona reactor open to ambient air. A 65 kV pulse with 15 ns rise time is applied to the wire anode superimposed on a 20 kV dc bias. The duration of the driving voltage pulse (110 ns) is less than 2.5 times the primary streamer transit time. Under this condition no arc discharge occurs between the wire and the cathode plates separated by 6 cm air. The onset of x-ray emission coincides with the initiation of the primary streamers near the wire anode. No x-rays were detected later, during or after the primary or secondary streamer development. X-ray energies ranged between 10 and 42 keV, as detected by a LaBr3 (Ce) scintillator–photomultiplier combination. Time resolved imaging of the streamer propagation highlights the different stages in the streamer discharge process. The energetic electrons originate near the anode, at the moment of streamer initialization.