Local and global trace plutonium contributions in fast breeder legacy soils

Tighe, C. and Castrillejo, M. and Christl, M. and Degueldre, C. and Andrew, J. and Semple, K.T. and Joyce, M.J. (2021) Local and global trace plutonium contributions in fast breeder legacy soils. Nature Communications, 12 (1). ISSN 2041-1723

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Abstract

Trace-level plutonium in the environment often comprises local and global contributions, and is usually anthropogenic in origin. Here, we report estimates of local and global contributions to trace-level plutonium in soil from a former, fast-breeder reactor site. The measured 240Pu/239Pu ratio is anomalously low, as per the reduced 240Pu yield expected in plutonium bred with fast neutrons. Anomalies in plutonium concentration and isotopic ratio suggest forensic insight into specific activities on site, such as clean-up or structural change. Local and global 239Pu contributions on-site are estimated at (34 ± 1)% and (66 ± 3)%, respectively, with mass concentrations of (183 ± 6) fg g−1 and (362 ± 13) fg g−1. The latter is consistent with levels at undisturbed and distant sites, (384 ± 44) fg g−1, where no local contribution is expected. The 240Pu/239Pu ratio for site-derived material is estimated at 0.05 ± 0.04. Our study demonstrates the multi-faceted potential of trace plutonium assay to inform clean-up strategies of fast breeder legacies. © 2021, The Author(s).

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Nature Communications
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3100
Subjects:
ID Code:
153370
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
01 Apr 2021 09:40
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
16 Jun 2021 09:09