Environmental Behavior of Nuclear Debris

by Conrad P. Straub,
Melvin W. Carter,
Dade W. Moeller,

Serial Information: Journal of the Sanitary Engineering Division, 1964, Vol. 90, Issue 6, Pg. 25-40

Document Type: Journal Paper


A review of the data collected since 1954 by the USPHS, AEC and its contractors, as well as other groups, on a global scale, confirms the latitudinal banding of debris from nuclear testing and the value of surface air measurements in tracing the movement of such materials through the atmosphere. Although not seeming to follow any systematic pattern on a gross basis, levels of Strontium 90 and Cesium 137 in milk appear to be readily interpretable when considered in the light of weather patterns and total precipitation. Similarly, seasonal patterns show a close correlation with dairy practices, the time spent on open pasture having a direct influence on levels of both short and long-lived radionuclides in milk. The interrelationship of the various phases of the environment are confirmed. The fact that an understanding of any one transport mechanism requires some knowledge and appreciation of them all is also confirmed. By using the data provided by one series of environmental measurements, public health officials can take steps to alleviate and even prevent the next step in the transport cycle.

Subject Headings: Environmental issues | Debris | Public health and safety | Public transportation | Data collection | Contractors and subcontractors | Material tests | Precipitation

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