Description: Inventories of plutonium radionuclides greatly in excess of global fallout levels persists in the benthic environments of Bikini and Eniwetok Atolls. It now appears that the atolls have reached a chemical steadystate condition with respect to the partitioning of /sup 239 +240/Pu between solution and solid phases of the environment. The mobilized /sup 239 +240/Pu has solute-like characteristics, passes rapidly and readily through dialysis membranes, has adsorption characteristics similar to those of fallout plutonium in the open ocean, and exists in solution primarily as some oxidized +5 or +6 chemical species. Water-column profiles of /sup 239 +240/Pu taken outside the atolls show a plutonium excess in the deep water mass. This remobilized /sup 239 +240/Pu possibly originates from the contaminated sediments previously deposited on the outer slopes of the atolls and surrounding basins.
Date: October 1, 1979
Creator: Noshkin, V.E. & Wong, K.M.
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