Volume 40, May 2005ECORAD 2004
|S27 - S32
|17 June 2005
Radioactive particles released from various nuclear sources
Isotope Laboratory, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Agricultural University of Norway, 1432 Aas, Norway
Radionuclides released to the environment may be present in different physico-chemical forms, ranging from ionic species to colloids, particles and fragments. Following releases during nuclear events such as nuclear weapon tests or use of depleted uranium munitions, and from nuclear accidents associated with explosions or fires, radionuclides such as uranium and plutonium are predominantly present as particles, mainly fuel particles. Similarly, radioactive particles are present in effluents from reprocessing facilities, and radioactive particles are observed in sediments in the close vicinity of radioactive waste dumped at sea. Thus, releases of radioactive particles occur far more often than earlier anticipated. Soils and sediments can act as a sink for colloids, particles and fragments, while contaminated soils and sediments may also act as a potential diffuse source, depending on particle characteristics and processes influencing particle weathering and remobilisation of associated radionuclides. To assess long-term impact from radioactive particle contamination, information on the source term is essential, i.e. activity concentrations and isotopic ratios as well as the particle size distribution, crystallographic structures and oxidation states influencing particle weathering rates and the subsequent mobilisation and biological uptake of associated radionuclides. The activity concentrations and the isotopic ratios will be source dependant, while particle characteristics will also reflect the release scenario, dispersion processes and deposition conditions. The present paper will summarise information on various nuclear sources summarise having released radioactive particles in the past
© EDP Sciences, 2005
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