SREL Reprint #1515

 

 

 

 

ATMOSPHERIC DEPOSITION, RESUSPENSION, AND ROOT UPTAKE OF Pu IN CORN AND OTHER GRAIN-PRODUCING AGROECOSYSTEMS NEAR A NUCLEAR FUEL FACILITY

J. E. Pinder III, K. W. McLeod and D. C. Adriano
Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Aiken, SC 29801
and
J. C. Corey and A. L. Boni
Savannah River Laboratory, Aiken, SC 29801

Abstract-Plutonium released to the environment may contribute to dose to humans through inhalation or ingestion of contaminated foodstuffs. Plutonium contamination of agricultural plants may result from interception and retention of atmospheric deposition, resuspension of Pu-bearing soil particles to plant surfaces, and root uptake. Plutonium on vegetation surfaces may be transferred to grain surfaces during mechanical harvesting. Data obtained from corn grown near the U.S. Department of Energy's H-Area nuclear fuel chemical separations facility on the Savannah River Site were used to estimate parameters of a simple model of Pu transport in agroecosystems. The parameter estimates for corn were compared to those previously obtained for wheat and soybeans. Despite some differences in parameter estimates among crops, the relative importances of atmospheric deposition, resuspension, and root uptake were similar among crops. For even small deposition rates, the relative importances of processes for Pu contamination of corn grain should be: transfer of atmospheric deposition from vegetation surfaces to grain surfaces during combining > resuspension of soil to grain surfaces > root uptake. Approximately 3.9 X 10-5 of a year's atmospheric deposition is transferred to grain. Approximately 6.2 X 10 -9 of the Pu inventory in the soil is resuspended to corn grain, and a further 7.3 X 10-10 of the soil Pu inventory is absorbed and translocated to grains.

SREL Reprint #1512

Pinder, J.E., III, K.W. McLeod, D.C. Adriano, J.C. Corey, and A.L. Boni. 1990. Atmospheric deposition, resuspension, and root uptake of Pu in corn and other grain producing agroecosystems near a nuclear fuel facility. Health Physics 59:853-867.

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