Anthropogenic 236U and Pu at remote sites of the South Pacific.

Affiliation

Department of Nuclear Physics, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, 2601, Australia. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Anthropogenic radionuclides, like 236U and 239,240Pu, are present in the environment as a result of global fallout from nuclear weapons tests conducted in the 1950s and 1960s and can potentially be used as tracers in soil erosion and sediment movement studies. Here, we report data on 236U and 239,240Pu in soil samples from the Motueka Valley (New Zealand) and for the first time from two remote islands Rarotonga and Atiu (Cook Islands) in the South Pacific. 236U and 239,240Pu were measured using Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) at the Australian National University. The 236U and 239Pu isotope concentrations versus soil depth and the 240Pu/239Pu and 236U/239Pu isotope ratios are discussed for each site. The radionuclide depth dependence revealed any soil disturbance, whereas the isotopic signatures indicated the source of the radionuclides' origin.

Keywords

(236)U/(239)Pu,(240)Pu/(239)Pu,Accelerator mass spectrometry,Soil,South Pacific,Southern Hemisphere,