Relationships among plutonium contents of soil, vegetation, and animals collected on and adjacent to an integrated nuclear complex in the humid southeastern United States
Description: Twenty-three representative sampling locations in and adjacent to the Savannah River Plant (SRP) site were selected to obtain information on Pu movement in the food chain under southeastern U. S. environmental conditions. Soil, a resuspendible fraction of the soil, honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), and camphor weed (Heterotheca subaxillaris) were collected at each location. Grasshoppers and cotton rats (Sigmodon hispidus) were collected at some locations. The soil concentrations at the selected locations ranged from 1.5 fCi/g to 171 fCi/g, and alpha percentages of $sup 238$Pu ranged from 2 to 66. The concentration of plutonium in the vegetation and on the leaves ranged from 0.17 to 76.1 fCi/g, and the alpha percentages of $sup 238$Pu, from 3 to 61. The concentration of plutonium in cotton rats and grasshoppers ranged from 0.07 to 3.58 fCi/g, and the alpha percentages of $sup 238$Pu ranged from 22 to 80. Comparisons among the Pu values of the vegetation, soil, and resuspendible fractions suggest the use of a proposed resuspendible measurement technique as a monitoring method to indicate subtle changes in the Pu concentration of the soil surface that are not detectable by routine soil sampling. Although the $sup 238$Pu data in the various ecosystem components were not conclusive, they support evidence that there is an apparent increase in the biological availability of $sup 238$Pu relative to the $sup 239$' $sub 240$ in the environment. The Pu concentrations of ecosystem components decreased as the distance from the reprocessing plants increased. (auth)
Date: January 1, 1975
Creator: McLendon, H. R.; Stewart, O. M.; Boni, A. L.; Corey, J. C.; McLeod, K. W. & Pinder, J. E.
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