Description: In 1974 the Laboratory of Radiation Ecology began a program to determine the radionuclides found in foods, plants, animals, and soils of the Central Pacific. As part of this program the present study was undertaken to determine radionuclides found in the common foods and soils in areas of Micronesia other than those areas receiving local fallout from the test sites at Bikini or Enewetak atolls. Areas sampled in 1975 were Majuro Atoll in the Marshall Islands, Truk and Ponape in the Caroline Islands, Guam in the Marianas Islands, and Koror and Babelthaup in the Palau Islands. All samples were analyzed for gamma-emitting radionuclides while some were also analyzed for /sup 90/Sr of /sup 239/ /sup 240/Pu. Results of the analyses indicate that naturally occurring /sup 40/K is the predominant radionuclide in the biological samples. Cesium-137 in amounts less than 1 pCi/g (dry) was the only fallout radionuclide detected in most of the biological samples. Soil samples usually contained /sup 90/Sr, /sup 137/Cs, /sup 238/U, and /sup 239/Pu, while soil from Truk, Palau, and Ponape also contained isotopes of radium and thorium. Soil from Guam also contained /sup 210/Pb and /sup 235/U in addition to the above radionuclides. Considering only the fallout radionuclides, the values for /sup 90/Sr, /sup 137/Cs, and /sup 239/ /sup 240/Pu in samples from Guam, Palau, Truk, Ponape, and Majuro are less than the values for these radionuclides in similar samples from atolls such as Utirik, Rongerik, and Ailinginae in the northern Marshall Islands, and are much less than values of these radionuclides in samples from Bikini and Rongelap atolls.
Date: November 1, 1975
Creator: Nelson, V.A.
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