Measurement and Prediction of Regional Background Plutonium Levels in Urine


J. L. Wilde, M. P. Krahenbuhl


Interest in low dose studies has lead to the development and use of lower detection limit methods such as fission track analysis, inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry and thermal ionization mass spectrometry. Knowledge of the background urine plutonium burden is important for studies using these ultra sensitive techniques to measure environmental exposure levels. Fission track analysis measurements for environmentally exposed individuals from areas near Rocky Flats, Nevada Test site, Marshall Islands and Australia have shown varied plutonium levels in urine. Known regional background burdens are needed to give accurate baseline subtractions for bioassay measurements from exposures. Using air sampling data collected and archived by Environmental Monitoring Laboratories and the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) compartmental models, urine plutonium levels are predicted and compared to the Rocky Flats experimental fission track analysis data. Predictions of background plutonium levels in urine are also calculated for Chacaltaya, Bolivia; Moosonee, Canada; Punta Arenas, Chile; Lima, Peru; Mauna Loa (Hawaii), USA; and New York, USA. The background urine plutonium burden also establishes set points to differential accidental exposures from background burden.


This abstract was presented at the 34th Annual Midyear Meeting, "Radiation Safety and ALARA Considerations for the 21st Century", Personnel Surveillance Applications Session, 2/4/2001 - 2/7/2001, held in Anaheim, CA.

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