Vertical distribution of radioactivity in the Columbia River estuary Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/3r074z06q

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  • In situ salinity, turbidity and temperature were measured at discrete depths and water samples for radioanalysis were simultaneously collected in the Columbia River Estuary using a specially designed instrument package. Particulate radioactivity was concentrated by filtration and the dissolved radioactivity by evaporation or ferric oxide bulk precipitation. Radioanalysis was by gamma-ray spectrometry and data reduction by computer. Chromium-51 was mostly dissolved and conservative in brackish water, while zinc-65 was mostly particulate and non-conservative. The intrusion of salt water into the estuary was seen to greatly increase the concentrations of particulate chromium-51, zinc-65 and scandium-46 near the bottom. The fall and rise in estuarine radioactivity levels were followed during an infrequent pause in Hanford reactor operations. Changes in radioactivity levels of up to three orders of magnitude were recorded at Astoria, Oregon, some 380 miles from the reactors. The pause in reactor operations enabled the determination of river flow times from the reactors to Astoria. Flow times of 12 and 19 days were measured for average river discharges of 290,000 and 130,000 c.f.s., respectively.
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