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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 10 No. 1, p. 31-37
    Received: May 17, 1980

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Foliar Retention and Leachability of Submicron Plutonium and Americium Particles1

  1. D. A. Cataldo,
  2. T. R. Garland and
  3. R. E. Wildung2



Submicron particles of Pu and Am were aerosolized, deposited onto foliage of bush bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.), and their subsequent retention and behavior determined. Particles having mass median diameters of < 1 µm are not readily dislodged from leaf surfaces at wind speeds of −400 m min−1. Under conditions of simulated rainfall, weathering half-times range from 164 to 1,000 days, and are dependent on both particle size and initial solubility. The residence time of contaminants on foliar surfaces prior to leaching influences subsequent foliar retention and leachate characteristics. Foliar retention of particles ranges from 20 to 92% and is dependent on particle size of Pu- and Am-oxides, chemical form of Pu, and environmental conditions such as humidity, simulated rainfall, and acidity of the simulated rain.

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