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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 9 No. 2, p. 306-315
    Received: July 3, 1979

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Influence of a Nuclear Fuel Chemical Separations Facility on the Plutonium Contents of a Wheat Crop1

  1. K. W. McLeod2,
  2. D. C. Adriano2,
  3. A. L. Boni3,
  4. J. C. Corey3,
  5. J. H. Horton3,5,
  6. D. Paine2,4 and
  7. J. E. Finder III2



Winter wheat (Triticum aestivum) was grown in very close proximity to a nuclear-fuel chemical separations facility to determine the environmental behavior and potential health hazard of chronic low-level releases of plutonium (Pu) to the atmosphere from that facility. The majority (>95%) of the contamination of wheat plants was surfical contamination resulting from direct deposition of recently released Pu-bearing particles onto plant surfaces and resuspension of Pu from soil. Internal contamination resulting from root uptake of Pu was negligible compared to surface contamination. The major pathway (>70%) of Pu to wheat grain was via harvesting activities when Pu was transferred from the surface of vegetative portions of plants to the surface of the grain. Radiation dose resulting from consumption of grain grown in the vicinity of a nuclear-fuel separations facility is negligible compared to that currently received from natural and fallout sources of radiation.

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