Description: Cesium in the Savannah River Site Environment is published as a part of the Radiological Assessment Program (RAP). It is the fourth in a series of eight documents on individual radioisotopes released to the environment as a result of Savannah River Site (SRS) operations. The earlier documents describe the environmental consequences of tritium, iodine, and uranium. Documents on plutonium, strontium, carbon, and technetium will be published in the future. These are dynamic documents and current plans call for revising and updating each one on a two-year schedule.Radiocesium exists in the environment as a result of above-ground nuclear weapons tests, the Chernobyl accident, the destruction of satellite Cosmos 954, small releases from reactors and reprocessing plants, and the operation of industrial, medical, and educational facilities. Radiocesium has been produced at SRS during the operation of five production reactors. Several hundred curies of [sup 137]Cs was released into streams in the late 50s and 60s from leaking fuel elements. Smaller quantities were released from the fuel reprocessing operations. About 1400 Ci of [sup 137]Cs was released to seepage basins where it was tightly bound by clay in the soil. A much smaller quantity, about four Ci. was released to the atmosphere. Radiocesium concentration and mechanisms for atmospheric, surface water, and groundwater have been extensively studied by Savannah River Technology Center (SRTC) and ecological mechanisms have been studied by Savannah River Ecology Laboratory (SREL). The overall radiological impact of SRS releases on the offsite maximum individual can be characterized by total doses of 033 mrem (atmospheric) and 60 mrem (liquid), compared with a dose of 12,960 mrem from non-SRS sources during the same period of time. Isotope [sup 137]Cs releases have resulted in a negligible risk to the environment and the population it supports.
Date: March 1, 1992
Creator: Carlton, W.H.; Bauer, L.R.; Evans, A.G.; Geary, L.A.; Murphy, C.E. Jr.; Pinder, J.E. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department