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Title: Post-Closure Environmental Sampling and Inspection at the Amchitka Island, Alaska, Site - 17251

Abstract

In the 1960's and early 1970's, three underground nuclear tests were conducted on Amchitka Island, Alaska. In 1965, the US Department of Defense-in conjunction with the US Atomic Energy Commission (AEC)-conducted the first of these nuclear tests, Long Shot, to provide data that would improve US capabilities for detecting underground nuclear explosions. In 1969, AEC conducted the second test, Milrow, to explore the feasibility of detonating a much larger device. In 1971, AEC conducted the third test, Cannikin, which was the largest underground test ever conducted by the US. The Long-Term Surveillance Plan (LTSP) for the Amchitka, Alaska, Site details how the US Department of Energy Office of Legacy Management (LM) intends to fulfill its mission to protect human health and the environment at and around the Amchitka Island site. The LTSP calls for monitoring to be performed every 5 years, at least during the initial phase of the project. The purpose of the monitoring is to develop a baseline of activity concentrations for selected radionuclides in biota, water, and soil, both on Amchitka Island and at the reference location on Adak Island, approximately 322 kilometers (200 miles) northeast of Amchitka. In addition to the environmental monitoring activities, seven mudmore » pit caps that contain diesel-contaminated soils are inspected. The plan for biological and water sampling (both seawater and freshwater) during the May 2016 sampling event was developed through close coordination with the primary stakeholders, including the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The environmental sampling in 2016 is a continuation of LM's evaluation of Amchitka Island's environment. Previous results from similar monitoring programs in 2004 and 2011 indicate that the environment is not being impacted by radionuclide migration and uptake from the underground nuclear testing conducted beneath Amchitka Island; consequently, subsistence and commercial-catch seafood is safe for human consumption. The collection of biota samples (rockfish, Irish lords, greenling, and rockweed) for cesium-134 ({sup 134}Cs), cesium-137 ({sup 137}Cs), plutonium-239 ({sup 239}Pu), plutonium-240 ({sup 240}Pu), and freshwater and seawater samples for {sup 134}Cs, {sup 137}Cs, and tritium ({sup 3}H) was the primary objective of the 2016 sampling effort. Rockfish, Irish lords, and greenling are resident, nonmigratory fish species that spend their entire life cycle in the marine environment, and rockweed is an inter-tidal species that may concentrate cesium. The seawater samples were collected primarily to determine if leakage from the Long Shot detonation could be detected and, secondarily, to compare with the background seawater samples collected from Adak Island. Cesium isotopes are also being analyzed to better understand the potential impact that the Fukushima-Daiichi release might have on the Amchitka and Adak environments. The target detection limits used for the 2016 sampling are lower than those used in previous studies. The lower detection limits make it possible for LM to delineate background activity levels for the radionuclides of interest. Data from the 2016 sampling event go beyond assessing food safety and focus on detecting leakage from the underground nuclear explosions. Additionally, the baseline activity concentrations obtained for the reference area (Adak Island) will enable identification of quantitative statistical trends in the results of future sampling programs. Sampling programs conducted in 2021 and beyond will have an objective to assess the statistical trends of radioactivity levels in the Amchitka Island environment. (authors)« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2]
  1. US Department of Energy Office of Legacy Management, Grand Junction, Colorado (United States)
  2. Navarro Research and Engineering, Inc., Grand Junction, Colorado (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
WM Symposia, Inc., PO Box 27646, 85285-7646 Tempe, AZ (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
22794632
Report Number(s):
INIS-US-19-WM-17251
TRN: US19V0311038851
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: WM2017 Conference: 43. Annual Waste Management Symposium, Phoenix, AZ (United States), 5-9 Mar 2017; Other Information: Country of input: France; 3 refs.; available online at: http://archive.wmsym.org/2017/index.html
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES, AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; CESIUM 134; CESIUM 137; ENVIRONMENTAL MATERIALS; FRESH WATER; NUCLEAR EXPLOSIONS; PLUTONIUM 239; PLUTONIUM 240; RADIONUCLIDE MIGRATION; SEAWATER; TRITIUM; UNDERGROUND EXPLOSIONS

Citation Formats

Kautsky, M., and Darr, P. Post-Closure Environmental Sampling and Inspection at the Amchitka Island, Alaska, Site - 17251. United States: N. p., 2017. Web.
Kautsky, M., & Darr, P. Post-Closure Environmental Sampling and Inspection at the Amchitka Island, Alaska, Site - 17251. United States.
Kautsky, M., and Darr, P. Sat . "Post-Closure Environmental Sampling and Inspection at the Amchitka Island, Alaska, Site - 17251". United States.
@article{osti_22794632,
title = {Post-Closure Environmental Sampling and Inspection at the Amchitka Island, Alaska, Site - 17251},
author = {Kautsky, M. and Darr, P.},
abstractNote = {In the 1960's and early 1970's, three underground nuclear tests were conducted on Amchitka Island, Alaska. In 1965, the US Department of Defense-in conjunction with the US Atomic Energy Commission (AEC)-conducted the first of these nuclear tests, Long Shot, to provide data that would improve US capabilities for detecting underground nuclear explosions. In 1969, AEC conducted the second test, Milrow, to explore the feasibility of detonating a much larger device. In 1971, AEC conducted the third test, Cannikin, which was the largest underground test ever conducted by the US. The Long-Term Surveillance Plan (LTSP) for the Amchitka, Alaska, Site details how the US Department of Energy Office of Legacy Management (LM) intends to fulfill its mission to protect human health and the environment at and around the Amchitka Island site. The LTSP calls for monitoring to be performed every 5 years, at least during the initial phase of the project. The purpose of the monitoring is to develop a baseline of activity concentrations for selected radionuclides in biota, water, and soil, both on Amchitka Island and at the reference location on Adak Island, approximately 322 kilometers (200 miles) northeast of Amchitka. In addition to the environmental monitoring activities, seven mud pit caps that contain diesel-contaminated soils are inspected. The plan for biological and water sampling (both seawater and freshwater) during the May 2016 sampling event was developed through close coordination with the primary stakeholders, including the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The environmental sampling in 2016 is a continuation of LM's evaluation of Amchitka Island's environment. Previous results from similar monitoring programs in 2004 and 2011 indicate that the environment is not being impacted by radionuclide migration and uptake from the underground nuclear testing conducted beneath Amchitka Island; consequently, subsistence and commercial-catch seafood is safe for human consumption. The collection of biota samples (rockfish, Irish lords, greenling, and rockweed) for cesium-134 ({sup 134}Cs), cesium-137 ({sup 137}Cs), plutonium-239 ({sup 239}Pu), plutonium-240 ({sup 240}Pu), and freshwater and seawater samples for {sup 134}Cs, {sup 137}Cs, and tritium ({sup 3}H) was the primary objective of the 2016 sampling effort. Rockfish, Irish lords, and greenling are resident, nonmigratory fish species that spend their entire life cycle in the marine environment, and rockweed is an inter-tidal species that may concentrate cesium. The seawater samples were collected primarily to determine if leakage from the Long Shot detonation could be detected and, secondarily, to compare with the background seawater samples collected from Adak Island. Cesium isotopes are also being analyzed to better understand the potential impact that the Fukushima-Daiichi release might have on the Amchitka and Adak environments. The target detection limits used for the 2016 sampling are lower than those used in previous studies. The lower detection limits make it possible for LM to delineate background activity levels for the radionuclides of interest. Data from the 2016 sampling event go beyond assessing food safety and focus on detecting leakage from the underground nuclear explosions. Additionally, the baseline activity concentrations obtained for the reference area (Adak Island) will enable identification of quantitative statistical trends in the results of future sampling programs. Sampling programs conducted in 2021 and beyond will have an objective to assess the statistical trends of radioactivity levels in the Amchitka Island environment. (authors)},
doi = {},
url = {https://www.osti.gov/biblio/22794632}, journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {7}
}

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