Plants as bio-monitors for Cs-137, Pu-238, Pu-239,240 and K-40 at the Savannah River Site

Eric Frank Caldwell, Martine C. Duff, Caitlin E. Ferguson, Daniel P. Coughlin
2011 Journal of Environmental Monitoring  
selected for this study. These plants grow in edge habitats, potentially exposing a large diversity of 33 fauna to contaminants. Also, streams present a primary mode of radionuclide transport at SRS. 34 Temporal and spatial parameters make stream characterization particularly problematic for 35 contemporary methodologies; whereas plant bio-monitors offer a mechanism for ubiquitous, random, 36 in situ sampling of the water column and sediments for contamination. 37 This study identifies ten SRS
more » ... identifies ten SRS plant species, considered to have well established populations at 38 the SRS, for their ability to accumulate the following isotopes of interest: 137 Cs, 40 K, 238 Pu and 39 239,240 Pu. Radiocesium is of interest to this study as it is associated with all nuclear testing and some 40 nuclear accidents. It is considered the radionuclide with the greatest health impact from the 41 Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986. It is also one of the principal radionuclides released from SRS 42 operations. Approximately 148 GBq of radiocesium have been released into the atmosphere and 43 approximately 70,300 GBq of radiocesium have been released to seepage basins and streams, largely 44 resulting from spills. 15 Most of the radiocesium that was released to on-site streams primarily 45 adsorbed to stream or impoundment sediments near the point of release. Concentrations of Cs 46 suspended in the water column are very low, with sediments retaining over 90% of the total inventory 47
doi:10.1039/c0em00610f pmid:21412545 fatcat:tcx37rjytvc3poaskhfcu4mp2e