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Cesium-137 in floodplain sediments of the Lower Three Runs Creek on the DOE Savannah River Site

  • P. M. Bertsch
Article

Summary

The legacy of nuclear weapons production has resulted in vast tracks of land contaminated with fission products, mainly <Superscript>137</Superscript>Cs, and at the U.S. Department of Energy&apos;s Savannah River Site (SRS) alone there is over 120 km<Superscript>2</Superscript> of land contaminated with low-levels of<Superscript> 137</Superscript>Cs. Soils on the SRS are highly weathered and dominated by sand-sized quartz grains with the clay fraction consisting primarily of kaolinite and crystalline and poorly crystalline iron oxides (&lt;5&percnt;). Our results showed that the majority of <Superscript>137</Superscript>Cs in the Lower Three Runs Creek floodplain were retained in the sand-sized fraction (&gt;52 mm) of the soil. Frayed edge site measurements were performed in order to probe the interaction between <Superscript>137</Superscript>Cs and the sand fraction, with the results indicating that the vast majority of the <Superscript>137</Superscript>Cs was strongly retained and existed in the residual fraction. These results prompted examination into the mineralogy of the soils in a hope to elucidate the mechanisms of <Superscript>137</Superscript>Cs retention by the sand fraction. The results from this study provide new evidence for selective retention of <Superscript>137</Superscript>Cs in larger-grained particles than previously demonstrated.

Keywords

Clay Fraction 137Cs Activity Sand Fraction Selectivity Coefficient Savannah River Site 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Akadémiai Kiadó 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. M. Bertsch
    • 1
  1. 1.Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, University of Georgia

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