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Radioactive particles from a range of past nuclear events; Challenges posed by highly varied structure and composition

核兵器実験由来の放射性粒子の分析

Johansen, M. P.*; Child, D. P.*; Collins, R.*; Cook, M.*; Davis, J.*; Hotchkis, M. A. C.*; Howard, D. L.*; Howell, N.*; 池田 篤史  ; Young, E.*

Johansen, M. P.*; Child, D. P.*; Collins, R.*; Cook, M.*; Davis, J.*; Hotchkis, M. A. C.*; Howard, D. L.*; Howell, N.*; Ikeda, Atsushi; Young, E.*

While they have appeared only recently in earth's history, radioactive particles from anthropogenic sources are widespread in global environments and present radiological harm potentials to living organisms. Here we compare a varied set of particles from past nuclear fission and non-fission sources in Australia of highly diverse magnitudes, release modes, and environments. Numerous radioactive particles persist in soils 60 + years after their release events. Particles can be distinguished by their Ca/Fe and Si/Fe elemental ratios, which in this study range over orders of magnitude and reflect the materials available during their individual formation events. The particles from nuclear testing have dominant $$^{239+240}$$Pu activity concentrations, relative to $$^{90}$$Sr and $$^{137}$$Cs, which increases long-term radiological hazard from alpha emissions if inhaled or ingested, and contrasts with particles from nuclear power accidents (e.g., Fukushima). Internal fracturing is more prevalent than previously reported, and fracturing is greater in Ca-rich vs. Si-dominated matrices.

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