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Observed and Modeled Tritium Concentrations in the Terrestrial Food Chain near a Continuous Atmospheric Source

P. A. Davis, S. B. Kim, S. L. Chouhan, W. J. G. Workman

Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 48 / Number 1 / July/August 2005 / Pages 504-507

Technical Paper / Tritium Science and Technology - Containment, Safety, and Environment /

Tritium concentrations were measured in a large number of environmental and biological samples collected during 2002 at two dairy farms and a hobby farm near Pickering Nuclear Generating Station in Ontario, Canada. The data cover most compartments of the terrestrial food chain in an agricultural setting and include detailed information on the diets of the local farm animals. Ratios of plant OBT concentration to air moisture HTO varied between 0.12 and 0.56, and were generally higher for the forage crops collected at the dairy farms than for the garden vegetables sampled at the hobby farm. Animal OBT to air HTO ratios were more uniform, ranging from 0.18 to 0.45, and were generally higher for the milk and beef samples from the dairy farms than for the chicken products from the hobby farm. The observed OBT concentrations in plants and animals were compared with predictions of IMPACT, the model used by the Canadian nuclear industry to calculate annual average doses due to routine releases. The model performed well on average for the animal endpoints but overestimated concentrations in plants by a factor of 2.

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