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Plutonium release from Fukushima Daiichi fosters the need for more detailed investigations.

Authors
Schneider-S; Walther-C; Bister-S; Schauer-V; Christl-M; Synal-H-A; Shozugawa-K; Steinhauser-G
Source
Sci Rep 2013 Oct; 3:2988
NIOSHTIC No.
20044680
Abstract
The contamination of Japan after the Fukushima accident has been investigated mainly for volatile fission products, but only sparsely for actinides such as plutonium. Only small releases of actinides were estimated in Fukushima. Plutonium is still omnipresent in the environment from previous atmospheric nuclear weapons tests. We investigated soil and plants sampled at different hot spots in Japan, searching for reactor-borne plutonium using its isotopic ratio 240Pu/239Pu. By using accelerator mass spectrometry, we clearly demonstrated the release of Pu from the Fukushima Daiichi power plant: While most samples contained only the radionuclide signature of fallout plutonium, there is at least one vegetation sample whose isotope ratio (0.381 +/- 0.046) evidences that the Pu originates from a nuclear reactor (239+240Pu activity concentration 0.49 Bq/kg). Plutonium content and isotope ratios differ considerably even for very close sampling locations, e.g. the soil and the plants growing on it. This strong localization indicates a particulate Pu release, which is of high radiological risk if incorporated.
Keywords
Nuclear-energy; Nuclear-power-plants; Nuclear-reactor-accidents; Fission-reactors; Radiation-contamination; Plutonium-compounds; Environmental-contamination; Environmental-hazards; Volatiles; Sampling; Soil-analysis; Soil-sampling; Plants; Vegetation; Mass-spectrometry; Radioisotopes; Radionuclides; Monitoring-systems; Accidents; Radioactive-fallout
Contact
Georg Steinhauser, Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1618, USA
CODEN
SRCEC3
CAS No.
7440-07-5
Publication Date
20131018
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
georg.steinhauser@colostate.edu
Funding Type
Grant
Fiscal Year
2014
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-T42-OH-009229
ISSN
2045-2322
Source Name
Scientific Reports
State
CO
Performing Organization
University of Colorado, Denver
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