The age dependence of the natural concentration of uranium and thorium in the skeleton was investigated using human vertebrae bone collected from two Canadian locations (Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Regina, Saskatchewan). The concentration of both radioelements in digested ashed bone samples was determined using sector-field inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. The geometric means for uranium level in bones showed a significant statistical difference between the two locations studied. Similarly for thorium, a statistical difference was observed, although this difference was considered marginal. The thorium concentration differed only marginally with respect to age group, indicating that its behavior in the body could be age-independent. Conversely, the uranium level in bones was found to change for the age groups tested, an indication of age-specific deposition. The age profile for uranium was comparable to the calcium turn-over rate, indicating that uranium deposition is probably, in part, dictated by this metabolic process, showing the role of present uptake into the uranium concentration in bones for populations exposed to significant uranium intake.
We describe a submicron aerosol particle sampled at an altitude of 7?km near the Aleutian Islands that contained a small percentage of enriched uranium oxide. 235U was 3.1?±?0.5% of 238U. During twenty years of aircraft sampling of millions of particles in the global atmosphere, we have rarely encountered a particle with a similarly high content of 238U and never a particle with enriched 235U. The bulk of the particle consisted of material consistent with combustion of heavy fuel oil. Analysis of wind trajectories and particle dispersion model results show that the particle could have originated from a variety of areas across Asia. The source of such a particle is unclear, and the particle is described here in case it indicates a novel source where enriched uranium was dispersed.
A plant processing radium and uranium ores has been operating in the town of Port Hope since 1932. Given the nuclear industry located in the community and ongoing public health concerns, cancer incidence rates in Port Hope were studied for a recent 16 year period (1992-2007) for continued periodic cancer incidence surveillance of the community. The cancer incidence in the local community for all cancers combined was similar to the Ontario population, health regions with similar socio-economic characteristics in Ontario and in Canada, and the Canadian population. No statistically significant differences in childhood cancer, leukaemia or other radiosensitive cancer incidence were observed, with the exception of statistically significant elevated lung cancer incidence among women. However, the statistical significance was reduced or disappeared when the comparison was made to populations with similar socio-economic characteristics. These findings are consistent with previous ecological, case-control and cohort studies conducted in Port Hope, environmental assessments, and epidemiological studies conducted elsewhere on populations living around similar facilities or exposed to similar environmental contaminants. Although the current study covered an extended period of time, the power to detect risk at the sub-regional level of analysis was limited since the Port Hope population is small (16,500). The study nevertheless indicated that large differences in cancer incidence are not occurring in Port Hope compared to other similar communities and the general population.
This work focuses on the occurrence of 236U in seawater along Danish coasts, which is the sole water-exchange region between the North Sea-Atlantic Ocean and the Baltic Sea. Seawater collected in 2013 and 2014 were analyzed for 236U (as well as 238U and 137Cs). Our results indicate that 236U concentrations in Danish seawater are distributed within a relatively narrow range of (3.6-8.2) × 107 atom/L and, to a certain extent, independent of salinity. 236U/238U atomic ratios in Danish seawater are more than 4 times higher than the estimated global fallout value of 1× 10-9. The levels of 236U/238U atomic ratios obtained are comparable to those reported for the open North Sea and much higher than several other open oceans worldwide. This indicates that besides the global fallout input, the discharges from the two major European nuclear reprocessing plants are dominating sources of 236U in Danish seawater. However, unexpectedly high 236U/238U ratios as well as high 236U concentrations were observed at low-salinity locations of the Baltic Sea. While this feature might be interpreted as a clue for another significant 236U input in the Baltic Sea, it may also be caused by the complexity of water currents or slow turnover rate.
We present an application of multi-isotopic fingerprints (i.e., 236U/238U, 233U/236U, 236U/129I and 129I/127I) for the discovery of previously unrecognized sources of anthropogenic radioactivity. Our data indicate a source of reactor 236U in the Baltic Sea in addition to inputs from the two European reprocessing plants and global fallout. This additional reactor 236U may come from unreported discharges from Swedish nuclear research facilities as supported by high 236U levels in sediment nearby Studsvik, or from accidental leakages of spent nuclear fuel disposed on the Baltic seafloor, either reported or unreported. Such leakages would indicate problems with the radiological safety of seafloor disposal, and may be accompanied by releases of other radionuclides. The results demonstrate the high sensitivity of multi-isotopic tracer systems, especially the 233U/236U signature, to distinguish environmental emissions of unrevealed radioactive releases for nuclear safeguards, emergency preparedness and environmental tracer studies.
Urine monitoring is the preferred method to determine exposure to soluble compounds of uranium in workplaces. The interpretation of uranium contents in workers bioassay samples requires knowledge on uranium excretion and its dependence on intake by diet. Exceptionally high concentrations of natural uranium in private drinking water sources have been measured in the granite areas of Southern Finland. Consequently, high concentrations of natural uranium have been observed in the urine and hair samples of people using water from their own drilled wells. Natural uranium content in urine and hair samples of family members, who use uranium-rich household water, have been analyzed by using ICP-MS. The uranium concentrations both in urine and hair samples of the study subjects were significantly higher than the world-wide average values. In addition, gammaspectrometric methods have been tested for determining uranium in hair samples. This method can be used only for samples with highly elevated uranium concentrations.
To improve long-term radioecological impact assessment for the contaminated ecosystem of Bylot Sound, Greenland, U and Pu containing particles have been characterized with respect to particle size, elemental distribution, morphology and oxidation states. Based on scanning electron microscopy with XRMA, particles ranging from about 20 to 40 microm were isolated. XRMA and mu-XRF mapping demonstrated that U and Pu were homogeneously distributed throughout the particles, indicating that U and Pu have been fused. Furthermore, mu-XANES showed that U and Pu in the particles were present as mixed oxides. U was found to be in oxidation state IV whereas Pu apparently is a mixture of Pu(III) and Pu(IV). As previous assessments are based on PuO2 only, revisions should be made, taking Pu(III) into account.
Natural uranium mobility and its concentration process in water ecosystems of the Pechora river basin situated in the areas with the uranium increased concentration in rocks and in the zone around radioactive waste repository were compared. The study investigated the influence of the environmental factors on the uranium distribution in water reservoirs. In the studied ecosystems, Fe-bearing compounds are major sorbents of uranium during the migration and concentration process. Nitrate-ions increase the uranium mobility in the ecosystems. The influence of sulfate, phosphate and carbonate complexation on the uranium distribution between water and bottom sediments wasn't pronounced in the ecosystems with high natural radioactivity, but significant for the radioactively contaminated water reservoirs. Uranium geochemical mobility is higher in contaminated water ecosystems. The uranium content in the water from this area substantially exceeds the background value for the region and toxicity limits for hydrophytes. Comparison of the current and earlier received data shows that the uranium concentration in the water has decreased, its specific activity in sediments has enhanced. The level of the uranium concentration in dry hygrophyte biomass has not changed.
In this paper a comparison is made between the build-up of U thorax burdens and the predicted total lung (lung and lymph) burden, based on the lung model provided in ICRP Publication 30 for a group of 29 atomic radiation workers at a Canadian fuel fabrication facility. A similar comparison is made between the predicted ratio of the total lung burden to urinary excretion and the ratio obtained from bioassay data. The study period for the comparison is 5 y. The inhalation input for the lung model calculations was derived from air-sampling data and the choice of particle size activity median aerodynamic diameter (AMAD) was guided by particle size measurements made at representative work locations. The pulmonary clearance half-times studied were 100, 250 and 500 d. For the purpose of this comparison, averaged exposure and averaged bioassay data for the group were used. This comparison indicates that for the conditions of this facility, the assumption of a 500-d pulmonary clearance half-time and a particle size of 1 micron (AMAD) may be too conservative. It is suggested that measurements of air concentrations and particle size used as input parameters for the ICRP Publication 30 lung model may be used to calculate bioassay parameters which may then be tested against bioassay data obtained as part of an operational health physics program, thereby giving a useful step towards defining a derived air concentration value for U in the workplace.
The distribution of natural uranium in soils superaquatic and transeluvial positions of the coastal landscape of lakes Itkul and Sinara, and liches on this site.The necessity of analysis of the content item in accordance with its form of occurrence in the natural environment. The peculiarities of the migration, accumulation and distribution of uranium in soils of the mountain areas of the watersheds of lakes Itkul and Sinara are found. Identified of specificity species lichens on the content of uranium in the substrate.