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On Weapons Plutonium in the Arctic Environment (Thule, Greenland)

Eriksson, Mats LU (2002)
Abstract (Swedish)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

I januari 1968 inträffade en flygplansolycka på havsisen ca 12 km väster om Thule flygbasen på nordvästra Grönland. Flygplanet, en amerikansk B-52, hade fyra kärnvapen ombord, som sprängdes sönder när planet störtade. Sprängningen orsakades av de konventionella sprängmedel som satt runt kärnladdningarna i de fyra vapnen. Dessa sprängningar var ej av nukleär art, d.v.s. ingen fission av laddningarna skedde. Man konstaterade att ca 6 kg plutonium spreds runt olycksplatsen, varav ca 3 kg rensades upp i en dekontamineringsoperation som skedde de tre följande månaderna efter olyckan. I avhandlingen behandlas data från den senaste av de 7 expeditioner som genomförts i detta område. Det konstateras som... (More)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

I januari 1968 inträffade en flygplansolycka på havsisen ca 12 km väster om Thule flygbasen på nordvästra Grönland. Flygplanet, en amerikansk B-52, hade fyra kärnvapen ombord, som sprängdes sönder när planet störtade. Sprängningen orsakades av de konventionella sprängmedel som satt runt kärnladdningarna i de fyra vapnen. Dessa sprängningar var ej av nukleär art, d.v.s. ingen fission av laddningarna skedde. Man konstaterade att ca 6 kg plutonium spreds runt olycksplatsen, varav ca 3 kg rensades upp i en dekontamineringsoperation som skedde de tre följande månaderna efter olyckan. I avhandlingen behandlas data från den senaste av de 7 expeditioner som genomförts i detta område. Det konstateras som tidigare, att strålningsdosen till lokalbefolkningen (inuiterna) via födointag är försumbar. Under de 34 år som gått är den integrerade absorberade stråldosen lika med tre veckors exponering av bakgrundstrålning i detta område. I detta arbete beskrivs ett sätt att uppskatta aktivitetskoncentrationer i havssediment när dessa innehåller plutonium i form av s.k. hetpartiklar. Denna metod att uppskatta aktivitetskoncentrationen av plutonium i havssediment visar att tidigare uppskattningar är underskattade. Dessutom har en studie gjorts för att utreda källtermen för bombmaterialet (källterm kan liknas vid ett fingeravtryck, d.v.s. man kan särskilja material från olika källor). Denna studie har visat att det finns fler än en källterm, troligen endast två, för det bombmaterialet som var involverat i olyckan. I åtminstone en av dessa källor är det huvudsakliga fissionabla matrerialet uran (235-U), ca fyra gånger mer än plutonium (239-Pu). (Less)
Abstract
This thesis concerns a nuclear accident that occurred in the Thule (Pituffik) area, NW Greenland in 1968, called the Thule accident. Results are based on different analytical techniques, i.e. gamma spectrometry, alpha spectrometry, ICP-MS, SEM with EDX and different sediment models, i.e. (CRS, CIC). The scope of the thesis is the study of hot particles. Studies on these have shown several interesting features, e.g. that they carry most of the activity dispersed from the accident, moreover, they have been very useful in the determination of the source term for the Thule accident debris. Paper I, is an overview of the results from the Thule-97 expedition. This paper concerns the marine environment, i.e. water, sediment and benthic animals in... (More)
This thesis concerns a nuclear accident that occurred in the Thule (Pituffik) area, NW Greenland in 1968, called the Thule accident. Results are based on different analytical techniques, i.e. gamma spectrometry, alpha spectrometry, ICP-MS, SEM with EDX and different sediment models, i.e. (CRS, CIC). The scope of the thesis is the study of hot particles. Studies on these have shown several interesting features, e.g. that they carry most of the activity dispersed from the accident, moreover, they have been very useful in the determination of the source term for the Thule accident debris. Paper I, is an overview of the results from the Thule-97 expedition. This paper concerns the marine environment, i.e. water, sediment and benthic animals in the Bylot Sound. The main conclusions are; that plutonium is not transported from the contaminated sediments into the surface water in this shelf sea, the debris has been efficiently buried in the sediment to great depth as a result of biological activity and transfer of plutonium to benthic biota is low. Paper II, concludes that the resuspension of accident debris on land has been limited and indications were, that americium has a faster transport mechanism from the catchment area to lakes than plutonium and radio lead. Paper III, is a method description of inventory calculation techniques in sediment with heterogeneous activity concentration, i.e. hot particles are present in the samples. It is concluded that earlier inventory estimates have been under estimated and that the new inventory is about 3.8 kg (10 TBq) of 239,240Pu. Paper IV, describes hot particle separation/identification techniques using real-time digital image systems. These techniques are much faster than conventionally used autoradiography and give the results in real time. Paper V, is a study of single isolated hot particles. The most interesting result is that the fission material in the weapons involved in the accident mostly consisted of 235U (about 4times more in mass than 239Pu). This paper concludes that there are at least two different source terms for the Thule accident debris. Another interesting feature is that it seems like uranium is leaching from the particles faster than plutonium and americium. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
opponent
  • Prof. Allard, Bert, Institutionen för Naturvetenskap, Örebro Universitet
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Nuclear physics, Kärnfysik, Nuclear medicine, radiobiology, Nukleärmedicin, radiobiologi, Nuclear engineering and technology, Kärnteknik, realtime digital image systems, SEM, ICP-MS, alpha spectrometry, gamma spectrometry, heterogeneous activity concentration, hot particle, separation technique, isotopic ratio, inventory, source term, fallout, americium, uranium, plutonium, radionuclide, Bylot Sound, Greenland, Thule, environmental radioactivity, nuclear accident
pages
148 pages
publisher
Risø National Laboratory
defense location
Onkologiska klinikens föreläsningssal, Lunds Universitetssjukhus, Lund
defense date
2002-05-03 10:15
ISSN
0106-2840
ISBN
87-550-3006-8
language
Other
LU publication?
yes
id
a04274cf-697f-4095-8e51-b1d1bceb3285 (old id 464579)
date added to LUP
2007-09-11 15:45:12
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:44:52
@phdthesis{a04274cf-697f-4095-8e51-b1d1bceb3285,
  abstract     = {This thesis concerns a nuclear accident that occurred in the Thule (Pituffik) area, NW Greenland in 1968, called the Thule accident. Results are based on different analytical techniques, i.e. gamma spectrometry, alpha spectrometry, ICP-MS, SEM with EDX and different sediment models, i.e. (CRS, CIC). The scope of the thesis is the study of hot particles. Studies on these have shown several interesting features, e.g. that they carry most of the activity dispersed from the accident, moreover, they have been very useful in the determination of the source term for the Thule accident debris. Paper I, is an overview of the results from the Thule-97 expedition. This paper concerns the marine environment, i.e. water, sediment and benthic animals in the Bylot Sound. The main conclusions are; that plutonium is not transported from the contaminated sediments into the surface water in this shelf sea, the debris has been efficiently buried in the sediment to great depth as a result of biological activity and transfer of plutonium to benthic biota is low. Paper II, concludes that the resuspension of accident debris on land has been limited and indications were, that americium has a faster transport mechanism from the catchment area to lakes than plutonium and radio lead. Paper III, is a method description of inventory calculation techniques in sediment with heterogeneous activity concentration, i.e. hot particles are present in the samples. It is concluded that earlier inventory estimates have been under estimated and that the new inventory is about 3.8 kg (10 TBq) of 239,240Pu. Paper IV, describes hot particle separation/identification techniques using real-time digital image systems. These techniques are much faster than conventionally used autoradiography and give the results in real time. Paper V, is a study of single isolated hot particles. The most interesting result is that the fission material in the weapons involved in the accident mostly consisted of 235U (about 4times more in mass than 239Pu). This paper concludes that there are at least two different source terms for the Thule accident debris. Another interesting feature is that it seems like uranium is leaching from the particles faster than plutonium and americium.},
  author       = {Eriksson, Mats},
  isbn         = {87-550-3006-8},
  issn         = {0106-2840},
  keyword      = {Nuclear physics,Kärnfysik,Nuclear medicine,radiobiology,Nukleärmedicin,radiobiologi,Nuclear engineering and technology,Kärnteknik,realtime digital image systems,SEM,ICP-MS,alpha spectrometry,gamma spectrometry,heterogeneous activity concentration,hot particle,separation technique,isotopic ratio,inventory,source term,fallout,americium,uranium,plutonium,radionuclide,Bylot Sound,Greenland,Thule,environmental radioactivity,nuclear accident},
  language     = {mis},
  pages        = {148},
  publisher    = {Risø National Laboratory},
  school       = {Lund University},
  title        = {On Weapons Plutonium in the Arctic Environment (Thule, Greenland)},
  year         = {2002},
}