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Plutonium Inventories in Two Old‐Field Ecosystems in the Vicinity of a Nuclear‐Fuel Reprocessing Facility

Author:
Pinder, J. E., III, Smith, M. H., Boni, A. L., Corey, J. C., Horton, J. H.
Source:
Ecology 1979 v.60 no.6 pp. 1141-1150
ISSN:
0012-9658
Subject:
Pinus, biomass, ecosystems, food contamination, inventories, plutonium, vegetation, wind
Abstract:
Plutonium inventories were determined in two old—field ecosystems, Fields 1 and 2, located near a nuclear—fuel reprocessing facility that had released approximately 640 mCi (24 GBq) ² ³ ⁸Pu and 57o mCi (21 GBq) ² ³ ⁹ , ² ⁴ ⁰Pu to the atmosphere in the 20 yr preceding sampling. Field 1 was 230 m from the point of release (a 62—m stack) and contained 57 nCi (2.1 kBq) ² ³ ⁸Pu/m² and 225 nCi (9.4 kBq) ² ³ ⁹ , ² ⁴ ⁰Pu/m². Field 2 was 420 m from the stack and contained 15 nCi (0.56 kBq) ² ³ ⁸Pu/m² and 79 nCi (2.9 kBq) ² ³ ⁹ , ² ⁴ ⁰Pu/². The distribution of Pu between soil and vegetation components was similar in the two fields with only 1.3% of the ² ³ ⁸Pu and 0.2% of the ² ³ ⁹ , ² ⁴ ⁰Pu occuring in pines, herbaceous vegetation and litter. More of the Pu could be suspended from the soil into the atmosphere by a 6 m/s wind on Field 1 than on Field 2 due to the lower biomass of herbaceous vegetation and litter on Field 1. Approximately 2% of the ² ³ ⁸ , ² ⁴ ⁰Pu and 0.5% of the ² ³ ⁹ , ² ⁴ ⁰Pu could be resuspended on Field 1, whereas only 0.5% of the ² ³ ⁸Pu and 0.1% of the ² ³ ⁹ , ² ⁴ ⁰Pu could be resuspended on Field 2. Plutonium contamination of the vegetation occurred primarily by (1) direct deposition of recently released Pu onto vegetation, and (2) resuspension of Pu from the soil to vegetation surfaces. Root uptake apparently made negligible contributions to the Pu content of above—ground vegetation.
Agid:
5186549