Document Detail

Past and present levels of some radionuclides in fish from Bikini and Enewetak Atolls.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  9199218     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Bikini and Enewetak were the sites in the Northern Marshall Islands that were used by the United States as testing grounds for nuclear devices between 1946 and 1958. The testing produced close-in fallout debris that was contaminated with different radionuclides and which entered the aquatic environment. The contaminated lagoon sediments became a reservoir and source term of manmade radionuclides for the resident marine organisms. This report contains a summary of all the available data on the concentrations of 137Cs, 60Co and 207Bi in flesh samples of reef and pelagic fish collected from Bikini and Enewetak Atolls between 1964 and 1995. The selection of these three radionuclides for discussion is based on the fact that these are the only radionuclides that have been routinely detected by gamma spectrometry in flesh samples from all fish for the last 20 y. Flesh from fish is an important source of food in the Marshallese diet. These radionuclides along with the transuranic radionuclides and 90Sr contribute most of the small radiological dose from ingesting marine foods. Some basic relationships among concentrations in different tissues and organs are discussed. The reef fish can be used as indicator species because their body burden is derived from feeding, over a lifetime, within a relatively small contaminated area of the lagoon. Therefore, the emphasis of this report is to use this extensive and unique concentration data base to describe the effective half lives and cycling for the radionuclides in the marine environments during the 31-y period between 1964 and 1995. The results from an analysis of the radionuclide concentrations in the flesh samples indicate the removal rates for the 3 radionuclides are significantly different. 137Cs is removed from the lagoons with an effective half life of 9-12 y. Little 60Co is mobilized to the water column so that it is depleted in both environments, primarily through radioactive decay. The properties of 207Bi are different at Enewetak and Bikini. At Enewetak the radionuclide is lost from the environment with an effective half live of 5.1 y. At Bikini only radioactive decay can account for the rate at which the radionuclide is lost from the lagoon. The difference in the binding properties of the sedimentary materials for 207Bi among the two Atolls is not understood.
V E Noshkin; W L Robison; K M Wong; J L Brunk; R J Eagle; H E Jones
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Health physics     Volume:  73     ISSN:  0017-9078     ISO Abbreviation:  Health Phys     Publication Date:  1997 Jul 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1997-07-10     Completed Date:  1997-07-10     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  2985093R     Medline TA:  Health Phys     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  49-65     Citation Subset:  IM    
Health and Ecological Assessment Division, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, CA 94551-9900, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Fishes / metabolism*
Nuclear Warfare*
Time Factors
Water Pollutants, Radioactive / analysis*
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Water Pollutants, Radioactive

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