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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Plutonium in a Grassland Ecosystem at Rocky Flats1


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 9 No. 3, p. 350-354
    Received: Aug 28, 1979

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  1. Craig A. Little,
  2. F. Ward Whicker and
  3. Terrol F. Winsor2



Portions of the grassland around the Rocky Flats installation of the U.S. Department of Energy, located about 12 km northwest of the Denver metropolitan area, were contaminated with Pu between 1959 and 1964. This study was designed to elucidate the Pu distribution patterns in the terrestrial ecosystem immediately downwind of the contamination source. We concluded that wind erosion of contaminated soil was likely the chief mechanism of plutonium transport and that soil contained 99.7% of the plutonium in the system. Plant and small animal compartments combined contained less than 0.3% of the total Pu inventory which averaged about 53 µCi/m2 in the study area.

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