Gregory A. Wetherbee†*, David A. Gay‡, Timothy M. Debey§, Christopher M.B. Lehmann‡, and Mark A. Nilles
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Branch of Quality Systems, Mail Stop 401, Bldg. 95, Box 25046, Denver Federal Center, Lakewood, Colorado 80225, United States
University of Illinois, Illinois State Water Survey, National Atmospheric Deposition Program, 2204 Griffith Drive, Champaign, Illinois 61820, United States
§ U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Energy, Minerals, and Environmental Health, National Reactor Facility, Mail Stop 974, Bldg. 15, Box 25046, Denver Federal Center, Lakewood, CO 80225, United States
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Office of Water Quality, Mail Stop 401, Bldg. 95, Box 25046, Denver Federal Center, Lakewood, Colorado 80225, United States
Environ. Sci. Technol., Article ASAP
DOI: 10.1021/es203217u
Publication Date (Web): February 22, 2012
Copyright © 2012 American Chemical Society


Using the infrastructure of the National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP), numerous measurements of radionuclide wet deposition over North America were made for 167 NADP sites before and after the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station incident of March 12, 2011. For the period from March 8 through April 5, 2011, wet-only precipitation samples were collected by NADP and analyzed for fission-product isotopes within whole-water and filterable solid samples by the United States Geological Survey using gamma spectrometry.

Variable amounts of 131I, 134Cs, or 137Cs were measured at approximately 21% of sampled NADP sites distributed widely across the contiguous United States and Alaska. Calculated 1- to 2-week individual radionuclide deposition fluxes ranged from 0.47 to 5100 Becquerels per square meter during the sampling period. Wet deposition activity was small compared to measured activity already present in U.S. soil. NADP networks responded to this complex disaster, and provided scientifically valid measurements that are comparable and complementary to other networks in North America and Europe.

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