SREL Reprint #0430




Radiocesium in Birds of the Savannah River Plant

D. O. Straney, Barbara Beaman, I. L. Brisbin, Jr. and M. H. Smith



Radiocesium body burdens were determined for 255 birds which were collected in the summers of 1971 and 1972 at six locations on the AEC Savannah River Plant near Aiken, South Carolina.  The results suggest that juvenile and adult birds have different patterns of radiocesium uptake which would render them not directly comparable.  Juvenile birds showed no significant differences in radiocesium body burden due to locations or diets.  Significant levels of radiocesium were found in adult avian communities inhabiting areas near a reactor waste effluent stream and adjacent to a radioactive waste burial ground.  Levels of radiocesium in communities from areas more peripheral to the effluent stream and a reactor cooling reservoir, as well as from two control areas were not statistical distinguishable from background.  Differences were also apparent due to the diets of birds at each location.  Despite the mobility of birds, major environmental discontinuities seem to act as effective barriers to the lateral movement of radionuclides in such avian communities.


SREL Reprint #0430

Straney, D.O., B. Beaman, I.L. Brisbin Jr., and M.H. Smith. 1975. Radiocesium in birds of the Savannah River Plant. Health Physics 28:341-345.

To request a reprint