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Strontium-90 in Canada goose eggshells and reed canary grass from the Columbia River, Washington

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Strontium-90 (90SR) released to the ground near the N Reactor at the U.S. Department of Energy's Hanford Site enters the Columbia River through shoreline seeps. The 90Sr is then potentially available for uptake by plants and animals. The life history and foraging behavior of nesting Canada geese is such that female geese could ingest 90Sr while foraging on shoreline plants. Radichemical analyses showed that goose eggshells taken from an island, downstream from the N Reactor, contained more 90Sr than did eggshells collected from other downstream islands. Reed canary grass samples taken from shoreline areas immediately downstream from the N Reactor contained higher concentrations of 90Sr than samples from other downstream areas. All goose eggshells did not contain enhanced levels of 90Sr, and all reed canary grass samples did not contain enhanced levels of 90Sr, but a relationship exists between the releases of 90Sr to the Columbia River and the enhanced levels of 90Sr in some of the environmental samples analyzed.

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Pacific Northwest Laboratory is operated by Battelle Memorial Institute for the U.S. Department of Energy under contract DE-ACO6-76RLO 1830.

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Rickard, W.H., Price, K.R. Strontium-90 in Canada goose eggshells and reed canary grass from the Columbia River, Washington. Environ Monit Assess 14, 71–76 (1990).

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  • Environmental Management
  • Life History
  • Environmental Sample
  • Downstream Area
  • Canary Grass