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Case Western Reserve University researchers track Chernobyl fallout
Date:10/1/2008

loping an understanding of the differentiation of radioactive elements from a one-time event like Chernobyl and those of fallout created by atmospheric nuclear weapons testing conducted in the 1960s.

Soil samples collected by Matisoff's team reveal insights based on several conditions, such as how the radionuclides were delivered to the soil, whether from a one-time event like the Chernobyl disaster or from atmospheric bomb testing; the half-life of the radionuclides and whether they were absorbed more heavily onto clay particles (such as 137Cs and 7Be) or organic materials (239, 240Pu and 210Pbxs); and the types of soil which may keep the particles at the surface or allow them to permeate to levels below the surface.

As the team examined a range of soil types from the two countries, they found a spike in 239, 240Pu in Sweden's soil at a depth that coincides with the Chernobyl disaster, yet no similar blip in Poland's soil. Meteorological research showed that it rained in Sweden while the radioactive cloud was over that country. Leeched of much of its radionuclides, much less plutonium fell on Poland when the cloud later crossed over its borders.

Matisoff says that his team's findings are preliminary, having raised as many questions as they have answered. His goal is to use this research for even bigger projects and greater, more definitive findings.


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Contact: Susan Griffith
susan.griffith@case.edu
216-368-1004
Case Western Reserve University
Source:Eurekalert

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