Environmental monitoring for some transuranium elements Page: 4 of 5
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Plutonium in soil and )grtss is shown in Table 3. The results, averages of
8 to 30 samples each year, are similar to those obtained by others at simi-
lar northern latitudes. In terms of deposition, grass contained about 104
less Pu than soil frvv the same locations. The sampling and sample trear-
ment methods do not pc-mit the calculation of meaningful uptake factors
since the soil was sanied down to 30 cm (50-90% of the Pu was in the first
5 cm), the grass was washed with water and oven-dried before analysis, and
perhaps not all the surface Pu was removed.
Soil (nCi/m2) Grass (pCi/m2)
Year 230,240Pu 238Pu 239,240Pu 238pu
1972 1.8 0.2 0.21 5.03 0.32 0.15 -
1973 2.5 0.3 0.20 t 0.03 0.13 0.04 ~
1974 1.9 0.4 0.13 0.04 0.25 0.08 0.02 0.01
1975 2.2 0.3 0.17 0.05 0.13 0.05 < 0,01
Table 3 Plutonium Content of Soil and Grass
The surface deposition of Pu for the past several years averaged about
1 pCi/m2/month, but shows pronounced spring peaks which correlate with atmo-
spheric nuclear detonations. The annual depositions ranged between 4 and
25 pCi/m2 from 1973 to 1976. The total deposition for these four years was
only about 2.5% of the total soil inventory.
Table 4 gives average concentrations of several trausuranics in surface
water during 1975 near Argonne National Laboratory. Waste water, after
treatment and analysis, is discharged into Sawmill Creek, which flows into
the Des Plaines River, which in turn empties into the Illinois River. Very
small but measurable amounts were found in Sawmill Creek, but these concen-
trations were not detectable as to origin in the larger streams. The Pu
concentrations in the Des Plaines and Illinois Rivers (0.5 0.3 fCi/1) are
the same as found in other bodies of water in the area, including Lake
Michigan, and may represent the solubility of fallout Pu in natural water
Nuclide Sawmill Creek Des Plaines River Illinois River
237Np 42 12 < 0.5 < 0.5
238pu < 2.6 (*) < 0.5 < 0.5
239,240pu 9.4 1.3 0.7 0.2 0.3 0.1
241Am 4.3 0.7 < 0.5 -
242Cm/252Cf < 1.2 (*) < 0.5 -
244Cm/249Cf 4.5 0.8 < 0.5 -
Average of many samples, some containing less than the detection limit.
Table 4 Transuranium Nuclides in Surface Water (fCi/l), 1975
Environmental concentrations of a few transuranics are adequate to study
some of their properties. For example, information on the solubility of Np
and Pu in Sawmill Creek water is given in Table 5. These samples were aci-
dified to 0.lN HN03 and filtered through cellulose paper immediately after
collection. The results show that much of the Pu can be readily filtered,
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Sedlet, J. & Golchert, N. W. Environmental monitoring for some transuranium elements, article, January 1, 1977; Illinois. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1445745/m1/4/: accessed April 23, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.