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Presence of plutonium isotopes, 239Pu and 240Pu, in soils from Chile

AuthorsChamizo, Elena ; García-León, Manuel ; Peruchena, J. I.
Issue Date2011
CitationNuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms 269(24): 3163-3166 (2011)
AbstractPlutonium is present in every environmental compartment, due to a variety of nuclear activities. The Southern Hemisphere has received about 20% of the global 239Pu and 240Pu environmental inventory, with an important contribution of the so-called tropospheric fallout from both the atmospheric nuclear tests performed in the French Polynesia and in Australia by France and United Kingdom, respectively. In this work we provide new data on the impact of these tests to South America through the study of 239Pu and 240Pu in soils from different areas of Northern, Central and Southern Chile. The obtained results point out to the presence of debris from the French tests in the 20–40° Southern latitude range, with 240Pu/239Pu atomic ratios quite heterogeneous and ranging from 0.02 to 0.23. They are significantly different from the expected one for the global fallout in the Southern Hemisphere for the 30–53°S latitude range (0.185 ± 0.047), but they follow the same trend as the reported values by the Department of Energy of United States for other points with similar latitudes. The 239 + 240Pu activity inventories show as well a wider variability range in that latitude range, in agreement with the expected heterogeneity of the contamination.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1016/j.nimb.2011.04.021
issn: 0168-583X
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