Survey of plutonium and uranium atom ratios and activity levels in Mortandad Canyon

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For more than three decades, Mortandad Canyon has been the primary release area of treated liquid radioactive waste from the Los Alamos National Laboratory (Laboratory). In this survey, six water samples and seven stream sediment samples collected in Mortandad Canyon were analyzed by thermal ionization mass spectrometry to determine the plutonium and uranium activity levels and atom ratios. By measuring the {sup 240}Pu/{sup 239}Pu atom ratios, the Laboratory plutonium component was evaluated relative to that from global fallout. Measurements of the relative abundance of {sup 235}U and {sup 236}U were also used to identify non-natural components. The survey results indicate ... continued below

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26 p.

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Gallaher, B.M.; Efurd, D.W.; Rokop, D.J.; Benjamin, T.M. & Stoker, A.K. October 1, 1997.

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Description

For more than three decades, Mortandad Canyon has been the primary release area of treated liquid radioactive waste from the Los Alamos National Laboratory (Laboratory). In this survey, six water samples and seven stream sediment samples collected in Mortandad Canyon were analyzed by thermal ionization mass spectrometry to determine the plutonium and uranium activity levels and atom ratios. By measuring the {sup 240}Pu/{sup 239}Pu atom ratios, the Laboratory plutonium component was evaluated relative to that from global fallout. Measurements of the relative abundance of {sup 235}U and {sup 236}U were also used to identify non-natural components. The survey results indicate that the Laboratory plutonium and uranium concentrations in waters and sediments decrease relatively rapidly with distance downstream from the major industrial sources. Plutonium concentrations in shallow alluvial groundwater decrease by approximately 1,000-fold along a 3,000-ft distance. At the Laboratory downstream boundary, total plutonium and uranium concentrations were generally within regional background ranges previously reported. Laboratory-derived plutonium is readily distinguished from global fallout in on-site waters and sediments. The isotopic ratio data indicate off-site migration of trace levels of Laboratory plutonium in stream sediments to distances approximately two miles downstream of the Laboratory boundary.

Physical Description

26 p.

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INIS; OSTI as DE98000767

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  • Other Information: PBD: Oct 1997

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  • Other: DE98000767
  • Report No.: LA--13379-MS
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-36
  • DOI: 10.2172/541834 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 541834
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc692788

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

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

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  • October 1, 1997

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  • Aug. 14, 2015, 8:43 a.m.

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  • May 20, 2016, 5:54 p.m.

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Gallaher, B.M.; Efurd, D.W.; Rokop, D.J.; Benjamin, T.M. & Stoker, A.K. Survey of plutonium and uranium atom ratios and activity levels in Mortandad Canyon, report, October 1, 1997; New Mexico. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc692788/: accessed October 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.