Applications of transuranics as tracers and chronometers in the environment

Michael E Ketterer, Jian Zheng, Masatoshi Yamada

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The transuranic elements (TRU) Np, Pu, Am, and Cm have prominently emerged as powerful tracers of earth and environmental processes, applicable to the recent, post nuclear-era timescale. Various long-lived isotopes of these elements are found in the earth’s surface environment, almost exclusively as a result of nuclear weapons production, testing, or nuclear fuel cycle activities. A globally recognizable signal, of consistent composition, from stratospheric fallout derived from 1950-1960 above-ground weapons tests is itself useful in tracing applications; in specific local/regional settings, stratospheric fallout is mixed with or dominated by other TRU sources with contrasting isotopic signatures. Both decay-counting and MS approaches have been utilized to measure the concentrations and isotopic ratios of TRU and are useful as discriminators for source characterization, provenance, and apportionment. Examples include the activity ratios 238Pu/239+240Pu, 241Am/239+240Pu, and 241Pu/239+240Pu; atom ratios such as 240Pu/239Pu, 237Np/239Pu, 241Pu/239Pu, and 242Pu/239Pu are also used in this context. Of the TRU elements, Pu is by far the most widely studied; accordingly, this chapter mainly emphasizes the use of Pu activities and/or atom ratios as tracers and/or chronometers. Nevertheless, Pu is sometimes measured in combination with one or more isotopes of other elements. The TRU elements offer several prominent applications in environmental/geochemical tracing: (1) chronostratigraphy of sediments and related recent Holocene deposits; (2) using fallout TRU as quantitative probes of soil erosion, transport and deposition; (3) investigating water mass circulation, the transport and scavenging of particulate matter, and tracking the marine geochemical behavior of the TRU elements themselves in the marine environment; and (4) studies of the local/regional transport, deposition and inventories of nonfallout TRU in the surficial environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Environmental Isotope Geochemistry
PublisherSpringer Berlin Heidelberg
Pages395-417
Number of pages23
Volume1
ISBN (Electronic)9783642106378
ISBN (Print)9783642106361
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

Fingerprint

fallout
tracer
isotope
chronostratigraphy
nuclear weapon
weapon
isotopic ratio
water mass
provenance
soil erosion
particulate matter
marine environment
probe
Holocene
timescale
sediment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

Cite this

Ketterer, M. E., Zheng, J., & Yamada, M. (2012). Applications of transuranics as tracers and chronometers in the environment. In Handbook of Environmental Isotope Geochemistry (Vol. 1, pp. 395-417). Springer Berlin Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-10637-8_20

Applications of transuranics as tracers and chronometers in the environment. / Ketterer, Michael E; Zheng, Jian; Yamada, Masatoshi.

Handbook of Environmental Isotope Geochemistry. Vol. 1 Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2012. p. 395-417.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Ketterer, ME, Zheng, J & Yamada, M 2012, Applications of transuranics as tracers and chronometers in the environment. in Handbook of Environmental Isotope Geochemistry. vol. 1, Springer Berlin Heidelberg, pp. 395-417. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-10637-8_20
Ketterer ME, Zheng J, Yamada M. Applications of transuranics as tracers and chronometers in the environment. In Handbook of Environmental Isotope Geochemistry. Vol. 1. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. 2012. p. 395-417 https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-10637-8_20
Ketterer, Michael E ; Zheng, Jian ; Yamada, Masatoshi. / Applications of transuranics as tracers and chronometers in the environment. Handbook of Environmental Isotope Geochemistry. Vol. 1 Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2012. pp. 395-417
@inbook{f46e82afe8bf47e6a7707ea4f072aadb,
title = "Applications of transuranics as tracers and chronometers in the environment",
abstract = "The transuranic elements (TRU) Np, Pu, Am, and Cm have prominently emerged as powerful tracers of earth and environmental processes, applicable to the recent, post nuclear-era timescale. Various long-lived isotopes of these elements are found in the earth’s surface environment, almost exclusively as a result of nuclear weapons production, testing, or nuclear fuel cycle activities. A globally recognizable signal, of consistent composition, from stratospheric fallout derived from 1950-1960 above-ground weapons tests is itself useful in tracing applications; in specific local/regional settings, stratospheric fallout is mixed with or dominated by other TRU sources with contrasting isotopic signatures. Both decay-counting and MS approaches have been utilized to measure the concentrations and isotopic ratios of TRU and are useful as discriminators for source characterization, provenance, and apportionment. Examples include the activity ratios 238Pu/239+240Pu, 241Am/239+240Pu, and 241Pu/239+240Pu; atom ratios such as 240Pu/239Pu, 237Np/239Pu, 241Pu/239Pu, and 242Pu/239Pu are also used in this context. Of the TRU elements, Pu is by far the most widely studied; accordingly, this chapter mainly emphasizes the use of Pu activities and/or atom ratios as tracers and/or chronometers. Nevertheless, Pu is sometimes measured in combination with one or more isotopes of other elements. The TRU elements offer several prominent applications in environmental/geochemical tracing: (1) chronostratigraphy of sediments and related recent Holocene deposits; (2) using fallout TRU as quantitative probes of soil erosion, transport and deposition; (3) investigating water mass circulation, the transport and scavenging of particulate matter, and tracking the marine geochemical behavior of the TRU elements themselves in the marine environment; and (4) studies of the local/regional transport, deposition and inventories of nonfallout TRU in the surficial environment.",
author = "Ketterer, {Michael E} and Jian Zheng and Masatoshi Yamada",
year = "2012",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1007/978-3-642-10637-8_20",
language = "English (US)",
isbn = "9783642106361",
volume = "1",
pages = "395--417",
booktitle = "Handbook of Environmental Isotope Geochemistry",
publisher = "Springer Berlin Heidelberg",

}

TY - CHAP

T1 - Applications of transuranics as tracers and chronometers in the environment

AU - Ketterer, Michael E

AU - Zheng, Jian

AU - Yamada, Masatoshi

PY - 2012/1/1

Y1 - 2012/1/1

N2 - The transuranic elements (TRU) Np, Pu, Am, and Cm have prominently emerged as powerful tracers of earth and environmental processes, applicable to the recent, post nuclear-era timescale. Various long-lived isotopes of these elements are found in the earth’s surface environment, almost exclusively as a result of nuclear weapons production, testing, or nuclear fuel cycle activities. A globally recognizable signal, of consistent composition, from stratospheric fallout derived from 1950-1960 above-ground weapons tests is itself useful in tracing applications; in specific local/regional settings, stratospheric fallout is mixed with or dominated by other TRU sources with contrasting isotopic signatures. Both decay-counting and MS approaches have been utilized to measure the concentrations and isotopic ratios of TRU and are useful as discriminators for source characterization, provenance, and apportionment. Examples include the activity ratios 238Pu/239+240Pu, 241Am/239+240Pu, and 241Pu/239+240Pu; atom ratios such as 240Pu/239Pu, 237Np/239Pu, 241Pu/239Pu, and 242Pu/239Pu are also used in this context. Of the TRU elements, Pu is by far the most widely studied; accordingly, this chapter mainly emphasizes the use of Pu activities and/or atom ratios as tracers and/or chronometers. Nevertheless, Pu is sometimes measured in combination with one or more isotopes of other elements. The TRU elements offer several prominent applications in environmental/geochemical tracing: (1) chronostratigraphy of sediments and related recent Holocene deposits; (2) using fallout TRU as quantitative probes of soil erosion, transport and deposition; (3) investigating water mass circulation, the transport and scavenging of particulate matter, and tracking the marine geochemical behavior of the TRU elements themselves in the marine environment; and (4) studies of the local/regional transport, deposition and inventories of nonfallout TRU in the surficial environment.

AB - The transuranic elements (TRU) Np, Pu, Am, and Cm have prominently emerged as powerful tracers of earth and environmental processes, applicable to the recent, post nuclear-era timescale. Various long-lived isotopes of these elements are found in the earth’s surface environment, almost exclusively as a result of nuclear weapons production, testing, or nuclear fuel cycle activities. A globally recognizable signal, of consistent composition, from stratospheric fallout derived from 1950-1960 above-ground weapons tests is itself useful in tracing applications; in specific local/regional settings, stratospheric fallout is mixed with or dominated by other TRU sources with contrasting isotopic signatures. Both decay-counting and MS approaches have been utilized to measure the concentrations and isotopic ratios of TRU and are useful as discriminators for source characterization, provenance, and apportionment. Examples include the activity ratios 238Pu/239+240Pu, 241Am/239+240Pu, and 241Pu/239+240Pu; atom ratios such as 240Pu/239Pu, 237Np/239Pu, 241Pu/239Pu, and 242Pu/239Pu are also used in this context. Of the TRU elements, Pu is by far the most widely studied; accordingly, this chapter mainly emphasizes the use of Pu activities and/or atom ratios as tracers and/or chronometers. Nevertheless, Pu is sometimes measured in combination with one or more isotopes of other elements. The TRU elements offer several prominent applications in environmental/geochemical tracing: (1) chronostratigraphy of sediments and related recent Holocene deposits; (2) using fallout TRU as quantitative probes of soil erosion, transport and deposition; (3) investigating water mass circulation, the transport and scavenging of particulate matter, and tracking the marine geochemical behavior of the TRU elements themselves in the marine environment; and (4) studies of the local/regional transport, deposition and inventories of nonfallout TRU in the surficial environment.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85016668985&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85016668985&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/978-3-642-10637-8_20

DO - 10.1007/978-3-642-10637-8_20

M3 - Chapter

SN - 9783642106361

VL - 1

SP - 395

EP - 417

BT - Handbook of Environmental Isotope Geochemistry

PB - Springer Berlin Heidelberg

ER -