Browsing by Author "Johansen, MP"
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- ItemAccumulation of plutonium in mammalian wildlife tissues following dispersal by accidental-release tests(Elsevier, 2016-01-01) Johansen, MP; Child, DP; Caffrey, EA; Harrison, JJ; Hotchkis, MAC; Payne, TE; Ikeda-Ohno, A; Thiruvoth, S; Beresford, NA; Twining, JR; Davis, EWe examined the distribution of plutonium (Pu) in the tissues of mammalian wildlife inhabiting the relatively undisturbed, semi-arid former Taranaki weapons test site, Maralinga, Australia. The accumulation of absorbed Pu was highest in the skeleton (83% ± 6%), followed by muscle (10% ± 9%), liver (6% ± 6%), kidneys (0.6% ± 0.4%), and blood (0.2%). Pu activity concentrations in lung tissues were elevated relative to the body average. Foetal transfer was higher in the wildlife data than in previous laboratory studies. The amount of Pu in the gastrointestinal tract was highly elevated relative to that absorbed within the body, potentially increasing transfer of Pu to wildlife and human consumers that may ingest gastrointestinal tract organs. The Pu distribution in the Maralinga mammalian wildlife generally aligns with previous studies related to environmental exposure (e.g. Pu in humans from worldwide fallout), but contrasts with the partitioning models that have traditionally been used for human worker-protection purposes (approximately equal deposition in bone and liver) which appear to under-predict the skeletal accumulation in environmental exposure conditions. © 2015, Elsevier Ltd.
- ItemAccumulation of plutonium in mammalian wildlife tissues: comparison of recent data with the ICRP distribution models(International Conference on Radioecology and Environmental Radioactivity, 2014-07-01) Johansen, MP; Child, DP; Davis, E; Hotchkis, MAC; Payne, TE; Ikeda-Ohno, A; Twining, JRWe examined the distribution of plutonium (Pu) in the tissues of mammalian wildlife to address the paucity of such data under environmental exposure conditions. Pu activity concentrations were measured in Macropus rufus (red kangaroo), Oryctolagus cuniculus (European rabbit), and Pseudomys hermannsburgensis (sandy inland mouse)inhabiting the relatively undisturbed, semi-arid conditions at the former Taranaki weapons test site at Maralinga, Australia. Of the absorbed Pu (distributed via circulatory and lymph systems) accumulation was foremost in bone (83% ±10% SD), followed by muscle (9% ±10%), liver (7% ±7%), kidneys (0.5% ±0.3%), and heart (0.4% ±0.4%). The bone values are higher than those reported in ICRP 19 and 48 (45-50% bone), while the liver values are lower than ICRP values (30-45% liver). The ICRP values were based on data dominated by relatively soluble forms of Pu, including prepared solutions and single-atom ions produced by decay following the volatilisation of uranium during nuclear detonation (fallout Pu, ICRP 1986). In contrast, the Maralinga data relates to low-soluble forms of Pu used in tests designed to simulate accidental release and dispersal. We measured Pu in lung, GI-tract and the skin and fur as distinct from the absorbed Pu in bone, liver, muscle, and kidneys. Compared with the mean absorbed activity concentrations, the results for lung tissues were higher by up to one order of magnitude, and those in the GI tract contents and the washed skin/fur were higher by more than two orders of magnitude. These elevated levels are consistent with the presence of low-soluble Pu, including particulate forms, which pass through, or adhere upon, certain organs, but are not readily absorbed into the bloodstream. This more transitory Pu can provide dose to the lung and GI tract organs, as well as provide potential transfer of contamination when consumed in predator-prey food chains, or during human foodstuff consumption. For example, activity concentrations in O. cuniculus edible samples prepared according to traditional aboriginal methods were more than two orders of magnitude higher than in muscle alone. The increase was due to inclusion of GI tract components and contents in the traditional method. Our results provide new insights into the sequestration of Pu in mammalian tissues under environmental exposure conditions. These results contrast with those related to the specific forms of Pu and exposure conditions upon which the ICRP models were based. However, they provide data relevant to the assessment of key environmental legacy waste sites, and of potential release scenarios for the low-soluble oxide forms in the growing worldwide inventory of Pu associated with power production.
- ItemAnalysis of hot particle characteristics affecting environmental fate and interaction with living organisms(SPERA, 2016-09-09) Johansen, MP; Child, DP; Collins, RN; Hotchkis, MAC; Howell, NR; Payne, TE; Ikeda-Ohno, A; Mokhber-Shahin, LThe 2nd International Conference on the Sources, Effects and Risks of Ionizing Radiation (SERIR-2) and the 14th Biennial Conference of the South Pacific Environmental Radioactivity Association (SPERA-2016) and will be held in Bali, Indonesia 5-9 September 2016. The South Pacific Environmental Radioactivity Association (SPERA), in conjunction with the Indonesian National Nuclear Energy Agency (BATAN) and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) made the decision to jointly hold these conferences in one week at the same venue to avoid topical overlap and to strengthen regional participation at both events. SERIR2 will be a 1-day conference (5 September) and deals with the efforts to enhance data collection and disseminate scientific findings related to the issues of sources, effects and risks of the ionizing radiation, as well as to seek ways of communicating with stakeholders (scientific communities, regulatory authorities and general public) on those issues. The 14th Biennial Conference of the South Pacific Environmental Radioactivity Association (SPERA), to be held 6-9 September, provides a platform for discussion and debate among scientists on the occurrence, behaviour, impact and measurement of radioactive species present in the environment through natural processes, or resulting from human activities. This international conference facilitates knowledge sharing on environmental radioactivity and related topics of local and global significance. The joint conference will be held 5-9 September 2016, with a welcome reception on 4 September, at the Sanur Paradise Plaza Hotel in Bali. The joint conference will include a one-day workshop on the 6 September on topic(s) to be decided.
- ItemAnthropogenic radionuclides persist in marine sediment at the Montebello Islands nuclear legacy site in Western Australia(South Pacific Environmental Radioactivity Association, 2022-11-28) Williams-Hoffman, M; Johansen, MP; Lavery, P; Thiruvoth, S; Serrano, O; Masqué, PIn 1952 and 1956 the UK government conducted three atmospheric nuclear fission tests in the Montebello Islands, an archipelago approximately 100 km off the coast of northern Western Australia. Radioactive contamination from the tests was deposited locally across the archipelago in both terrestrial and marine environments but was investigated minimally in the decades that followed. This is particularly true for the marine environment which is composed of various distinct ecosystems – from mangroves to open marine channels and is home to a diverse trophic web of marine organisms. To understand the extent and persistence of anthropogenic radionuclides introduced by the tests into this region, we aim to establish the distribution of anthropogenic radionuclides in the marine surface sediments throughout the archipelago. Here we present the results on activity concentrations and distributions of 90Sr, 137Cs, 238 Pu, 239&240Pu and 241Am due to their long half lives and their potential to impart radiological dose to organisms existing at the sediment-water interface. Quantification of anthropogenic and naturally occurring radionuclides in surface and core samples was completed by alpha spectrometry, Cherenkov counting and gamma spectrometry. Activity concentrations of 90Sr, 137Cs, 238 Pu, 239&240Pu and 241Am were highest around the detonation locations in the north of the archipelago in surface sediment samples. Observable activity concentrations also persist in the north-west of the detonation locations, reflecting the direction of the original fallout plumes from the weapons. One additional location showed higher activity concentrations of 90Sr, 137Cs, 238 Pu, 239&240Pu and 241Am in comparison to other locations within the archipelago (121 Bq/kg, 1.6 Bq/kg, 80 Bq/kg, 402 Bq/kg and 28 Bq/kg respectively). This sample was collected 26 km south of the nearest detonation site and was originally selected as an environmental control outside of the state marine park boundaries, suggesting migration of anthropogenic radionuclides has occurred in the 70 years since the detonations took place. Sediment cores were also taken from different marine environments of the region, including at the bottom of the crater created by Operation Hurricane, which involved the detonation of a naval ship in shallow water in 1952. 210Pb was analysed to assess the sedimentation rates over the last century across the cores. In most instances, mixing dominated throughout the sediment core profiles. This reflects the highly dynamic and turbulent nature of the region, subject to seasonal cyclones and fast-moving tides within the archipelago. The exception to this observed mixing was found in a single core, the ‘Hurricane Core’, taken in the bottom of the Operation Hurricane crater. 137Cs and 241Am activity concentrations of this core showed a clear peak in activity at 50 cm depth; an order of magnitude above those found in similar parts of the region within surface sediments. The maximum activity concentrations of 180 Bq/kg and 66 Bq/kg for 137Cs and 241Am respectively were established in the core at 50 cm depth, with the closest surface sediment activity concentrations established at 56 Bq/kg and 20 Bq/kg.
- ItemAssessing doses to terrestrial wildlife at a radioactive waste disposal site: Inter-comparison of modelling approaches(Elsevier Science BV, 2012-06-15) Johansen, MP; Barnett, CL; Beresford, NA; Brown, JE; Černe, M; Howard, BJ; Kamboj, S; Keum, DK; Smodiš, B; Twining, JR; Vandenhove, H; Vives i Batlle, J; Wood, MD; Yu, CRadiological doses to terrestrial wildlife were examined in this model inter-comparison study that emphasised factors causing variability in dose estimation. The study participants used varying modelling approaches and information sources to estimate dose rates and tissue concentrations for a range of biota types exposed to soil contamination at a shallow radionuclide waste burial site in Australia. Results indicated that the dominant factor causing variation in dose rate estimates (up to three orders of magnitude on mean total dose rates) was the soil-to-organism transfer of radionuclides that included variation in transfer parameter values as well as transfer calculation methods. Additional variation was associated with other modelling factors including: how participants conceptualised and modelled the exposure configurations (two orders of magnitude); which progeny to include with the parent radionuclide (typically less than one order of magnitude); and dose calculation parameters, including radiation weighting factors and dose conversion coefficients (typically less than one order of magnitude). Probabilistic approaches to model parameterisation were used to encompass and describe variable model parameters and outcomes. The study confirms the need for continued evaluation of the underlying mechanisms governing soil-to-organism transfer of radionuclides to improve estimation of dose rates to terrestrial wildlife. The exposure pathways and configurations available in most current codes are limited when considering instances where organisms access subsurface contamination through rooting, burrowing, or using different localised waste areas as part of their habitual routines. Crown Copyright © 2012 Published by Elsevier B.V
- ItemAssessment of radioactive ‘Hot Particles’ and marine sediment plutonium and americium levels from the Montebello Islands, Western Australia(South Pacific Environmental Radioactivity Association, 2018-11-06) Hoffman, M; Johansen, MP; Cook, M; Howell, NR; Kleinschmidt, R; Clegg, JKThe Montebello islands are an archipelago off the Western Australian coast that to this day display an artificial radioactive legacy. The legacy is the result of nuclear testing from 1952-1956. that produced long-lived radionuclides such as americium (Am-241) and plutonium (Pu-239/240). This study investigated the extent and characteristics of radioactive contamination in marine sediments near the former Operation Hurricane and Operation Mosaic G2 detonation sites in hopes of contributing to future management strategies and updated assessment of health risks to native flora, fauna and human populations. The project was conducted with samples collected in 2015 by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) as two series; Series 1 chosen to monitor the activity from the Operation Mosaic G2 detonation and Series 2 aiming to determine residual activity from the Operation Hurricane HMS Plymouth detonation. Samples were initially sieved to separate the bulk samples into four size-based fractions for analysis of activity fractionation among sediment grain sizes. Radiation counting processes included alpha spectrometry and gamma spectrometry, back-scatter electron mode scanning electron microscopy (BEI-SEM) and photo-stimulated luminescent (PSL) autoradiography to evaluate the overall radiative status of the sediment locations and to investigate the presence of ‘hot’ particles or heterogenous dispersion of radioactivity. Both spectrometry processes revealed that Series 1 Am-241 and Pu-239/240 activity was dispersed preferentially in the two larger fractions (>500 um and 500-200 um). Activity determined as Am241 and Pu-289/240 vi/as observed across Series 2 as well but as values an order of magnitude lower. Environmental plutonium from Series 1 was present in hot particle form, specifically within particles from the more active >500 um [largest] fraction which revealed gamma emissions of the plutonium progeny Am241. imaging and subsequent analysis by BE!-SEM and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) of the particles revealed that the majority of the particle material was calcium carbonate, indicative of the dominant geology at the detonation site. Study results provide insights into the radioactive characteristics of hot-particles and bulk sediments at the Montebello site. it is believed and hoped that this investigation will aid decisions on the future management of the Montebello wildlife resources and marine park management, and provide insights into potential risks and protective measures for site visitors and researchers.
- ItemAssessment of radionuclide distributions at an Australian legacy radioactive waste site(South Pacific Radioactivity Association, 2010-09-01) Payne, TE; Cendón, DI; Collins, RN; Dore, M; Hankin, SI; Harrison, JJ; Hughes, CE; Johansen, MP; Thiruvoth, S; Twining, JR; Wilsher, KLDuring the 1960s, low level radioactive waste was buried in shallow trenches at a disposal site in south-eastern Australia, known as the Little Forest Burial Ground. This paper discusses preliminary findings of research into the distribution of radionuclides at the site, including soils, groundwater and biota. In particular, we are studying the mobility of radionuclides; and their uptake by plants, insects and small animals. Groundwater monitoring indicates that there has been limited movement of radioactivity, other than a tritium plume that extends at least 100 m. The tritium results are being used to define the groundwater flowpaths, and the effects of seasonal and climatic factors. The pattern of tritium distribution suggests that the source of tritium is predominantly within the waste materials. However, tritium derived from a nearby municipal landfill contributes to tritium concentrations in some groundwaters, with smaller amounts from cosmogenic tritium and atmospheric deposition originating from the nearby HIFAR reactor (shut down in 2007). The tritium data provide a record of water movement against which the relative mobility of other radionuclides can be assessed. There are measurable amounts of 60Co, 90Sr, 137Cs and traces of actinides in some soils, groundwater and vegetation samples taken in close proximity to the disposal area. Isotopic ratios such as δ13C, δ180, δ2H, δ34S and 87Sr/86Sr are being measured in groundwater, in addition to the radioactive isotopes originating from the disposed wastes. Synchrotron EXAFS and XANES studies are being applied to study elemental chemical environments and oxidation states in the soils at the site. We have recently undertaken a major geophysical investigation and drilling program; and installation of an improved array of water sampling boreholes is planned. Therefore, many more samples of groundwater and soils are becoming available for analysis.
- ItemAssessment of radionuclide movement at an Australian legacy radioactive waste site(EMSL, 2009-09-20) Payne, TE; Cendón, DI; Collins, RN; Hankin, SI; Harrison, JJ; Hughes, CE; Johansen, MP; Twining, JR; Waite, TDNot available
- ItemAustralian inputs into the IAEA EMRAS program: terrestrial animal concentration factors and the LFBG environmental dose assessment scenario(South Pacific Radioactivity Association, 2010-08-31) Twining, JR; Johansen, MPThere has been a recent international emphasis placed on assessing radiological dose and its impacts on ecosystems in addition to those directly affecting humans. This is reflected in the development of the IAEA Environmental Modelling for Radiation Safety (EMRAS) Program. As part of Australia's contribution to EMRAS, we have been looking at ecosystems previously affected by nuclear activities within the country and acquiring data pertinent to Australian animals and plants, many of which are unique. Within Australia, one area of concern has been identified as the yet-to-be-developed national nuclear waste repository and we are acquiring data to help in modelling any potential effects. The Little Forest Burial Ground (LFBG) is a near surface nuclear waste site dating from the 19605. As well as providing data on the behaviour of radioactivity within an Australian ecosystem, it is also a case study site for EMRAS dose assessment modelling where a range of methods for estimating bio-uptake in plants and animals are being applied by IAEA participants. Further, there are a number of uranium mines or deposits and a weapons test site, Maralinga, that give us additional radioecological information as input to those models. A summary of the Australian terrestrial fauna concentration factors will be presented.
- ItemBeryllium sorption to sandy soil at a legacy waste site(CRC CARE Pty Ltd,, 2019-09-08) Islam, MR; Sanderson, P; Naidu, R; Johansen, MP; Payne, TEBeryllium (Be) is utilized in various science and technology applications including aerospace, defence, electronics and nuclear energy (USGS, 2018). Beryllium and its compounds are highly toxic and considered carcinogenic to humans (IARC, 2001). In soil, Be is highly reactive, amphoteric, hydrates readily and reacts with different organic and inorganic elements due to its high charge to size ratio (Alderighi et al., 2000, Boschi and Willenbring, 2016, Rudolph et al., 2009, Edmunds, 2011). The sorption mechanism strongly depends on soil physicochemical properties like pH, cation exchange capacity (CEC), soil texture, soil organic matter (SOM) content, and the presence of sulphur, nitrogen, phosphorous, aluminium etc. (Sutton et al., 2012, Boschi and Willenbring, 2016). Of these, pH is a strong controller of Be sorption, with chemisorption increasing substantially from pH 4 to 6 with precipitation being the predominant mechanism between pH 6-12 (Boschi and Willenbring, 2016). This study examined the sorption of Be in surface soils of a legacy waste site that contains Be and low-level radioactive wastes disposed in shallow trenches to determine how Be may be retained in the surface soil if it is mobilised from the wastes. The sorption of Be with respect to physiochemical properties and the applicability of the Langmuir, Freundlich and Temkin sorption models was examined
- ItemBest practices for predictions of radionuclide activity concentrations and total absorbed dose rates to freshwater organisms exposed to uranium mining/milling(Elsevier, 2022-02) Goulet, R; Newsome, L; Vandenhove, H; Keum, DK; Horyna, J; Kamboj, S; Brown, JE; Johansen, MP; Twining, JR; Wood, MD; Černe, M; Beaugelin-Seiller, K; Beresford, NAPredictions of radionuclide dose rates to freshwater organisms can be used to evaluate the radiological environmental impacts of releases from uranium mining and milling projects. These predictions help inform decisions on the implementation of mitigation measures. The objective of this study was to identify how dose rate modelling could be improved to reduce uncertainty in predictions to non-human biota. For this purpose, we modelled the activity concentrations of 210Pb, 210Po, 226Ra, 230Th, and 238U downstream of uranium mines and mills in northern Saskatchewan, Canada, together with associated weighted absorbed dose rates for a freshwater food chain using measured activity concentrations in water and sediments. Differences in predictions of radionuclide activity concentrations occurred mainly from the different default partition coefficient and concentration ratio values from one model to another and including all or only some 238U decay daughters in the dose rate assessments. Consequently, we recommend a standardized best-practice approach to calculate weighted absorbed dose rates to freshwater biota whether a facility is at the planning, operating or decommissioned stage. At the initial planning stage, the best-practice approach recommend using conservative site-specific baseline activity concentrations in water, sediments and organisms and predict conservative incremental activity concentrations in these media by selecting concentration ratios based on species similarity and similar water quality conditions to reduce the uncertainty in dose rate calculations. At the operating and decommissioned stages, the best-practice approach recommends relying on measured activity concentrations in water, sediment, fish tissue and whole-body of small organisms to further reduce uncertainty in dose rate estimates. This approach would allow for more realistic but still conservative dose assessments when evaluating impacts from uranium mining projects and making decision on adequate controls of releases. © 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license.
- ItemBioaccumulation kinetics and internal distribution of the fission products radiocaesium and radiostrontium in an estuarine crab(Elsevier, 2021-04-15) Cresswell, T; Prentice, E; Howell, NR; Callaghan, PD; Metian, M; Johansen, MPCrab has been designated by the ICRP as one of twelve reference/model organisms for understanding the impacts of radionuclide releases on the biosphere. However, radionuclide-crab interaction data are sparse compared with other reference organisms (e.g. deer, earthworm). This study used an estuarine crab (Paragrapsus laevis) to investigate the contribution of water, diet and sediment sources to radionuclide (134Cs and 85Sr) bioaccumulation kinetics using live-animal radiotracing. The distribution of each radionuclide within the crab tissues was determined using dissection, whole-body autoradiography and synchrotron X-ray Fluorescence Microscopy (XFM). When moulting occurred during exposure, it caused significant increases in 85Sr bioaccumulation and efflux of 134Cs under constant aqueous exposure. Dietary assimilation efficiencies were determined as 55 ± 1% for 134Cs and 49 ± 3% for 85Sr. 85Sr concentrated in gonads more than other organs, resulting in proportionally greater radiation dose to the reproductive organs and requires further investigation. 134Cs was found in most soft tissues and was closely associated with S and K. Biodynamic modelling suggested that diet accounted for 90–97% of whole-body 137Cs, while water accounted for 59–81% of 90Sr. Our new data on crab, as a representative invertebrate, improves understanding of the impacts of planned or accidental releases of fission radionuclides on marine ecology. Crown Copyright © 2020 Published by Elsevier B.V.
- ItemBiofilm-enhanced adsorption of strong and weak cations onto different microplastic sample types: use of spectroscopy, microscopy and radiotracer methods(Elsevier, 2019-07-01) Johansen, MP; Cresswell, T; Davis, J; Howard, DL; Howell, NR; Prentice, EThe adsorption of metals and other elements onto environmental plastics has been previously quantified and is known to be enhanced by surface-weathering and development of biofilms. However, further biofilm-adsorption characterisation is needed with respect to the fate of radionuclides. This study uses spectroscopy, microscopy and radiotracer methods to investigate the adsorption capacity of relatively strong and weak cations onto different microplastic sample types that were conditioned in freshwater, estuarine and marine conditions although marine data were limited. Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy confirmed that surface oxidation chemistry changes induced by gamma irradiation were similar to those resulting from environmental exposures. Microscopy elemental mapping revealed patchy biofilm development, which contained Si, Al, and O, consistent with microbial-facilitated capture of clays. The plastics+biofilm of all sample types had measurable adsorption for Cs and Sr radiotracers, suggesting environmental plastics act broadly as a sink for the key pervasive environmental radionuclides of 137Cs and 90Sr associated with releases from nuclear activities. Adsorption onto high-density polyethylene plastic types was greater than that on polypropylene. However, in most cases, the adsorption rates of all types of plastic+biofilm were much lower than those of reference sediments and roughly consistent with their relative exchangeable surface areas. Crown Copyright © 2019 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
- ItemBiota dose assessment for environmental radiotracer releases in aquatic environments(Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, 2012-10-17) Hughes, CE; Johansen, MP; Wilson, RC; Copplestone, D; Vives i Batlle, JThe intentional release of short lived radioisotopes to trace transport and partitioning processes in the environment has been in decline in recent decades due to negative regulatory and public perceptions of the associated risks. Radiotracing is subject to significant regulatory requirements; in some jurisdictions one of these requirements is to demonstrate that radiation exposure to ecosystems is limited to ensure protection of populations of species. Radiation exposures from radiotracer studies are localised, transient and infrequent by nature, making it difficult to apply guidelines and biota dose assessment tools that are designed for chronic and widespread exposure scenarios. We will discuss the limitations of available guidelines and dose assessment methodologies when applied to radiotracer studies. A range of case studies for biota dose assessment will be presented using a variety of available tools including the ERICA Assessment Tool, the methodology of Copplestone et al. (2001) and a dynamic dose assessment model (Vives I Batlle et al., 2008). These case studies demonstrate that steady state, spatial homogeneity and bioavailability assumptions inherent in available dose assessment tools may lead to an over-estimate of dose to biota from radiotracer studies, and that many radiotracer studies can be conducted with minimal dose to biota.
- ItemBiotic, temporal and spatial variability of tritium concentrations in transpirate samples collected in the vicinity of a near-surface low-level nuclear waste disposal site and nearby research reactor(Elsevier Science Ltd, 2011-06-01) Twining, JR; Hughes, CE; Harrison, JJ; Hankin, SI; Crawford, J; Johansen, MP; Dyer, LLThe results of a 21 month sampling program measuring tritium in tree transpirate with respect to local sources are reported. The aim was to assess the potential of tree transpirate to indicate the presence of sub-surface seepage plumes. Transpirate gathered from trees near low-level nuclear waste disposal trenches contained activity concentrations of (3)H that were significantly higher (up to similar to 700 Bq L(-1)) than local background levels (0-10 Bq L(-1)). The effects of the waste source declined rapidly with distance to be at background levels within 10s of metres. A research reactor 1.6 km south of the site contributed significant (p < 0.01) local fallout (3)H but its influence did not reach as far as the disposal trenches. The elevated (3)H levels in transpirate were, however, substantially lower than groundwater concentrations measured across the site (ranging from 0 to 91% with a median of 2%). Temporal patterns of tree transpirate (3)H, together with local meteorological observations, indicate that soil water within the active root zones comprised a mixture of seepage and rainfall infiltration. The degree of mixing was variable given that the soil water activity concentrations were heterogeneous at a scale equivalent to the effective rooting volume of the trees. In addition, water taken up by roots was not well mixed within the trees. Based on correlation modelling, net rainfall less evaporation (a surrogate for infiltration) over a period of from 2 to 3 weeks prior to sampling seems to be the optimum predictor of transpirate (3)H variability for any sampled tree at this site. The results demonstrate successful use of (3)H in transpirate from trees to indicate the presence and general extent of sub-surface contamination at a low-level nuclear waste site. Crown Copyright © 2011, Elsevier Ltd.
- ItemChallenges in the radiochemical separation of marine samples from the Montebello Islands(South Pacific Environmental Radioactivity Association, 2018-11-06) Thiruvoth, S; Child, DP; Harrison, JJ; Johansen, MP; Silitonga, A; Vardanega, CR; Wilsher, KL; Wong, HKYThe Montebello Islands, located off the North Western coast of Western Australia, was used as a nuclear weapons test site by the British government in the 1950s. Three nuclear tests were conducted around the islands. The first in 1952 (W818) detonated in the hull of the HMS Plym anchored in 12 m of water between Alpha and Trimouille Islands, and the second and third tests (MOSAIC G1 and G2) were detonated on 30 m Aluminium towers in May and June 1956, G1 on the Northern Western tip of Trimouille island and G2, the largest test conducted in Australian territory, on Alpha island. The fallout from these tests deposited long-lived anthropogenic radionuclides on nearby islands and ocean surface, host to an array of animals and plants. Marine sand, marine sediment, algae, fish, turtles and turtle eggs, among others, were sampled from the surrounding zones for dose assessment studies, thirty-nine of which were processed for actinide and strontium analysis. Due to the expected presence of discrete radioactive particles in some matrices a three step digestion method was applied to obtain complete dissolution of sample material. To overcome sample heterogeneity, the digest solution was sub-sampled for actinide and Sr-90 analysis by alpha spectrometry and liquid scintillation analysis, for plutonium isotopic analysis by AMS, and for elemental analysis by ICPAES/MS. The radiochemical separation method developed at ANSTO for Am, Pu, Th, U, and Sr for terrestrial soils and sediments (Harrison et al, 2011) was adapted to samples from the marine environment. However, some sample matrices proved to be challenging in achieving acceptable chemical recoveries of strontium due to the high concentrations of native calcium. This current study will discuss the methods used, and challenges overcome, in radiochemical separation for alpha spectrometry and liquid scintillation analysis for a wide range of sample types.
- ItemCharacterisation of anthropogenic radioactive particles from former weapon test sites in Australia(South Pacific Environmental Radioactivity Association, 2018-11-06) Young, EL; Johansen, MP; Child, DP; Hotchkis, MAC; Howell, NR; Pastuovic, Z; Howard, DL; Palmer, T; Davis, JFormer nuclear test sites on Australian territories such as those at Maralinga and the Montebello islands have been remediated to varying extents but wide-spread radioactivity still remains. Fission and neutron-activation products at the test sites have been decaying over time but long-lived radioisotopes such as uranium and plutonium persist within the environment, predominantly in the form of discrete particles. These particles vary widely in composition depending upon the detonation characteristics and local geology, and are widely dispersed around each site. Radioactive particles are the dominant form of radionuclides at the former test sites and the future distribution of radioactive contaminants in the environment at these sites is largely dependent upon their fate and behaviour. The weathering of particles in the environment and the potential release of the radioactivity they contain is influenced by a range of factors including particle morphology, elemental composition and chemical form, and the prevailing environmental conditions. Radioactive particles have been isolated from soils and sediments from Australian test sites and characterised using photostimulated luminescence (PSL)-autoradiography, scanning electron microscopy energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDS), Synchrotron X-ray fluorescence microscopy (XFM) and particle-induced X-ray emission (PIXE). The characteristics of the particles and potential implications for their long term fate will be discussed in the context of the techniques applied and the environments in which the particles were found.
- ItemDecoding an unexpected mystery at the Montebello Islands(South Pacific Environmental Radioactivity Association, 2022-11-30) Williams-Hoffman, M; Johansen, MP; Lavery, PL; Thiruvoth, S; Serrano, O; Masqué, PDuring the 1950’s three nuclear tests were conducted in the Montebello Islands in Western Australia by the UK government. The tests introduced a radioactive legacy into the surrounding marine environment but were investigated minimally immediately after and in the decades that followed. Work is currently underway to quantify the persistence and migration of anthropogenic radionuclides within the island archipelago’s marine sediments. Activity concentrations of studied radionuclides (137Cs, 238Pu, 239&240Pu and 241Am) in surface sediments so far have concentrated within a 5 km radius of the three ground zero locations and in the north-west of the islands inline with the original fallout plume trajectories. However, one sampling location does not fit within this originally hypothesised pattern of distribution. This single site, called the Lowendal Islands site, was 26 km south of the detonation ground zero locations and originally sampled as an environmental background. Activity concentrations of studied radionuclides were the second highest of all surface sediments collected (1.6 Bq kg-1, 80 Bq kg-1, 402 Bq kg-1 and 28 Bq kg-1 respectively). Four initial theories are proposed to explain this mystery: currents, air movement, rafting or human involvement. Current analysis indicates that either rafting or human involvement are most likely, based on reviews of historical data, knowledge of regional water movement and 241Am/240Pu/239Pu ratios.
- ItemDeveloping international radiological risk assessment tools for Australian arid environments(South Pacific Environmental Radioactivity Association, 2018-11-06) Popelka-Filcoff, R; Pring, A; Pandelus, SB; Johns, SM; Tucker, W; Rossouw, D; Lenehan, CE; Hondros, J; Hirth, GA; Carpenter, JG; Johansen, MP; Payne, TE; Roberts, M; Levingstone, K; Tuft, K; Duff, TRecent international and Australian regulatory guidance llCRP 108 and ARRANSA Env. Prot. Guide, 2015) has increased the need for effective tools to assess radiological impacts in the environment. The existing internationally accepted methods and models are generally based on data collected in the northern hemisphere and there is a recognised lack of southern hemisphere data, particularly from Australia. When applying the models and methods in Australia, acknowledgement of this lack of data is required which tends to undermine public and regulatory confidence in the assessment. Development of an Australian-specific data set is essential to a better understanding and more credible environmental impact assessment process. In addition, decision-making by operators and regulatory authorities will be based on more relevant local information This presentation describes a collaborative project between university, government and industry researchers and a national industry funding body, aimed at developing a more complete understanding of radiological uptake of native flora and fauna in arid Australian environments. The presentation will cover the framework and sampling and analysis approaches from arid environments, and how these fit into international practice. lnitial data and concentration ratios from analysis of Dodonaea viscosa and Acacia ligulata, rabbits and feral cats and corresponding soil will be presented. Analytical methods include high-resolution gamma spectroscopy with low limits of detection, alpha spectroscopy, elemental analysis by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, scanning electron microscopy. ant"; 3."; 5 Novel approaches to data collection and analysis protocols are used, which form the basis of the databases use: :. i"e internationally accepted models and comparison to extant studies. The project lays the infrastructure towards an effective Australian intenface with existing tools (e.g. ERICA) and assessment for extended long-term studies for industry and regulators. The results of this project build a foundation for environmental radionuclide assessment for Australia's specific climate and species, and build a framework for a comprehensive Australian context and understanding of radionuciides and their concentration ratios as well as towards screening levels which may vary depending on location and species. This project has an industry-wide impact in the generation of robust data sets towards modelling in arid environments.