Case study of {sup 137}Cesium plots remediation at Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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The primary goal of the experiment was to evaluate the long-term, low-dose effect of radiation to the environment, particularly to vegetation i.e., fescue and insects in the event of a nuclear attack. In 1968, {sup 137}Cs was fused at high temperatures with silica sand particles (100 uCi/g) and applied to the surface of four 33 x 33 ft plots. Four other plots were constructed at the site to serve as background controls and were not contaminated with {sup 137}Cs. The particles ranged from 88 to 177 {micro}m in diameter and were spread at a load of 72 g/m{sup 2} over ... continued below

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6 p.

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Bednarz, C.A. & Garrett, D.L. May 1, 1994.

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The primary goal of the experiment was to evaluate the long-term, low-dose effect of radiation to the environment, particularly to vegetation i.e., fescue and insects in the event of a nuclear attack. In 1968, {sup 137}Cs was fused at high temperatures with silica sand particles (100 uCi/g) and applied to the surface of four 33 x 33 ft plots. Four other plots were constructed at the site to serve as background controls and were not contaminated with {sup 137}Cs. The particles ranged from 88 to 177 {micro}m in diameter and were spread at a load of 72 g/m{sup 2} over the plots. The particle size distribution was selected to simulate particle diameters characteristic of weapons fallout. Each plot received approximately 2.2 Ci of {sup 137}Cs, which resulted in a total of 8.8 Ci applied to the site. The cesium plots occupy approximately 6 acres of grassy fields 330 ft north of the Clinch River. The plots are enclosed by a perimeter fence approximately 1,000 ft x 250 ft. Each of the eight plots was enclosed with sheet metal that extended 18 in. below and 24 in. above the ground surface. ORNL researchers involved with the application of the cesium (circa 1968) believed the cesium fused silica particles would not migrate vertically more than 6 to 12 in. nor migrate horizontally in any direction because of the plot metal enclosures. However, soil samples taken from the plots revealed the cesium had migrated vertically to depths of 3 to 4 ft. and horizontally in a northwest plume of several feet. Because of direct radiation exposure concerns to workers and the public, a CERCLA interim action was taken to remediate the plots. The intent of the paper will be to explain the remediation and examine the challenges associated with the remediation focusing primarily on lessons learned.

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6 p.

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INIS; OSTI as DE96009621

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  • SPECTRUM `94: international nuclear and hazardous waste management conference, Atlanta, GA (United States), 14-18 Aug 1994

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  • Other: DE96009621
  • Report No.: CONF-940815--118
  • Grant Number: AC05-84OR21400
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 238495
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc668207

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Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • May 1, 1994

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  • June 29, 2015, 9:42 p.m.

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  • Jan. 25, 2016, 12:11 p.m.

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Bednarz, C.A. & Garrett, D.L. Case study of {sup 137}Cesium plots remediation at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, article, May 1, 1994; Tennessee. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc668207/: accessed October 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.