Radioactive Contamination of the Techa River, the Urals

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The Techa River in the Urals was contaminated with high-level radioactive waste from the MAJAK nuclear installation around 1950. The total discharge to the river amounted to 100 PBq with 90Sr and 137Cs contributing 10 PBq each. This study has shown that the river presently contains 0.3 TBq 90Sr, >6 TBq 137Cs, and 8 GBq 239,240Pu. The estimates were made for the part of the river starting 50 km from the point of discharge and ending 240 km downstream at the confluence with the Iset River. Radioactivity was measured only in the upper 0.10-m sediments layer. The external dose rates from the contamination range from 0.1–30 μGy h−1. The activity concentrations decrease exponentially or by power functions with distance.

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