SREL Reprint #0396




Radiocesium Concentrations of Snakes from Contaminated and Non-Contaminated Habitats of the AEC Savannah River Plant

I. Lehr Brisbin, Jr., Mark A. Staton, John E. Pinder, III, and Richard A. Geiger



Concentration levels of radiocesium were determined for 117 snakes of 19 species collected on the AEC Savannah River Plant near Aiken, South Carolina.  Snakes collected from the vicinity of a reactor effluent stream averaged 131.5 pCi radiocesium/g live weight, with a maximum of 1032.6 pCi/g, and represented the highest level of radiocesium concentration reported in the literature for any naturally-occurring wild population of vertebrate predators.  These snakes had significantly higher concentrations of radiocesium than those collected in the vicinity of a reactor cooling reservoir which averaged 27. PCi/g live weight, with a maximum of 139.3 pCi/g.  The radiocesium contents of snakes collected from uncontaminated habitats average 2.6 and 2.4 pCi/g live weight, respectively, and did not differ significantly from background radiation levels.  Radiocesium concentrations approximated a log-normal frequency distribution, and no significant differences in frequency-distribution patterns could be demonstrated between collection areas.


SREL Reprint #0396

Brisbin, I.L., Jr., M.A. Staton, J.E. Pinder III, and R.A. Geiger. 1974. Radiocesium concentrations of snakes from contaminated and non contaminated habitats of the AEC Savannah River Plant. Copeia 1974:501-506.

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