Background Radioactivity in River and Reservoir Sediments near Los Alamos, New Mexico

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As part of its continuing Environmental Surveillance Program, regional river and lake-bottom sediments have been collected annually by Los Alamos National Laboratory (the Laboratory) since 1974 and 1979, respectively. These background samples are collected from three drainage basins at ten different river stations and five reservoirs located throughout northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. Radiochemical analyses for these sediments include tritium, strontium-90, cesium-137, total uranium, plutonium-238, plutonium-239,-240, americium-241, gross alpha, gross beta, and gross gamma radioactivity. Detection-limit radioactivity originates as worldwide fallout from aboveground nuclear weapons testing and satellite reentry into Earth's atmosphere. Spatial and temporal variations in individual analyte ... continued below

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110 pages

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McLin, Stephen G. & Lyons, Dale W. May 5, 2002.

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Description

As part of its continuing Environmental Surveillance Program, regional river and lake-bottom sediments have been collected annually by Los Alamos National Laboratory (the Laboratory) since 1974 and 1979, respectively. These background samples are collected from three drainage basins at ten different river stations and five reservoirs located throughout northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. Radiochemical analyses for these sediments include tritium, strontium-90, cesium-137, total uranium, plutonium-238, plutonium-239,-240, americium-241, gross alpha, gross beta, and gross gamma radioactivity. Detection-limit radioactivity originates as worldwide fallout from aboveground nuclear weapons testing and satellite reentry into Earth's atmosphere. Spatial and temporal variations in individual analyte levels originate from atmospheric point-source introductions and natural rate differences in airborne deposition and soil erosion. Background radioactivity values on sediments reflect this variability, and grouped river and reservoir sediment samples show a range of statistical distributions that appear to be analyte dependent. Traditionally, both river and reservoir analyte data were blended together to establish background levels. In this report, however, we group background sediment data according to two criteria. These include sediment source (either river or reservoir sediments) and station location relative to the Laboratory (either upstream or downstream). These grouped data are statistically evaluated through 1997, and background radioactivity values are established for individual analytes in upstream river and reservoir sediments. This information may be used to establish the existence and areal extent of trace-level environmental contamination resulting from historical Laboratory research activities since the early 1940s.

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110 pages

Notes

OSTI as DE00811036

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  • Other Information: PBD: 5 May 2002

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  • Report No.: LA-13603-MS
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-36
  • DOI: 10.2172/811036 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 811036
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc737645

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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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  • May 5, 2002

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Oct. 18, 2015, 6:40 p.m.

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  • Feb. 29, 2016, 1:16 p.m.

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McLin, Stephen G. & Lyons, Dale W. Background Radioactivity in River and Reservoir Sediments near Los Alamos, New Mexico, report, May 5, 2002; New Mexico. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc737645/: accessed April 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.