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Resolving global versus local/regional Pu sources in the environment using sector ICP-MS

January 1, 2004

Sector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry is a versatile method for the determination of plutonium activities and isotopic compositions in samples containing this element at fallout levels. Typical detection limits for 239+240Pu are 0.1, 0.02 and 0.002 Bq kg -1Pu for samples sizes of 0.5 g, 3 g, and 50 g of soil, respectively. The application of sector ICP-MS-based Pu determinations is demonstrated in studies in sediment chronology, soil Pu inventory and depth distribution, and the provenance of global fallout versus local or regional Pu sources. A sediment core collected from Sloans Lake (Denver, Colorado, USA) exhibits very similar 137Cs and 239+240Pu activity profiles; 240Pu/239Pu atom ratios indicate possible small influences from the Nevada Test Site and/or the Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site. An undisturbed soil profile from Lockett Meadow (Flagstaff, Arizona, USA) exhibits an exponential decrease in 239+240Pu activity versus depth; 240Pu/239Pu in the top 3 cm is slightly lower than the global fallout range of 0.180 ?? 0.014 due to possible regional influence of Nevada Test Site fallout. The 239??240Pu inventory at Lockett Meadow is 56 ?? 4 Bq m-2, consistent with Northern Hemisphere mid-latitude fallout. Archived NdF3 sources, prepared from Polish soils, demonstrate that substantial 239+240Pu from the 1986 Chernobyl disaster has been deposited in north eastern regions of Poland; compared to global fallout, Chernobyl Pu exhibits higher abundances of 240Pu and 241Pu. The ratios 240Pu/239pu and 241Pu/239Pu co-vary and range from 0.186-0.348 and 0.0029-0.0412, respectively, in forest soils (241Pu/239Pu = 0.2407??[240Pu/239Pu] - 0.0413; r2 = 0.9924). ?? The Royal Society of Chemistry 2004.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2004
Title Resolving global versus local/regional Pu sources in the environment using sector ICP-MS
DOI 10.1039/b302903d
Authors M.E. Ketterer, K.M. Hafer, C.L. Link, D. Kolwaite, Jim Wilson, J.W. Mietelski
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry
Series Number
Index ID 70026324
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization