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IRSN, Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire

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Enhancing Nuclear Safety


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Isotopic evidence of natural uranium and spent fuel uranium releases into the environment

Journal of environmental monitoring / 2011, 13, pages 355-361

Summary

Uranium and plutonium isotopes were measured in soils, sediments and waters in an area subject to the past and present discharges from the uranium conversion plant of Malvési (France). The isotopes 236U and 239Pu are well known activation products of uranium and they prove to be powerful tracers of spent fuel releases in soils and sediments. On the other hand 234U and 238U activities measured in waters can be used to distinguish between releases and background uranium sources. Such findings contribute to improve the monitoring of the actinides releases by nuclear fuel facilities (mining sites, conversion, enrichment and fuel plants, reprocessing plants).


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