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    Description

    If a radiological incident such as a nuclear power plant accident, a radiological dispersal device, or detonation of an improvised nuclear device occurs, significant areas may be contaminated. Initial cleanup priorities would likely focus on populated areas, leaving the forested areas to pass several seasons where the overhead canopy materials would fall to the forest floor. In the event of a wildfire in a radionuclide-contaminated forest, some radionuclides would be emitted in the air while the rest would remain in the ash. This paper reports on a laboratory simulation study that examines the partitioning of cesium-133 (a nonradioactive isotope of cesium) between airborne particulate matter and residual nonentrained ash when pine needles and peat are doped with cesium. Only 1-2.5% of the doped cesium in pine needles was emitted as particulate matter, and most of the cesium was concentrated in the particulate fraction greater than 10 ┬Ám in aerodynamic diameter. For peat fires, virtually all of the cesium remained in the ash. The results from this study will be used for modeling efforts to assess potential exposure risks to firefighters and the surrounding public.

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    Citation

    Hao, Wei Min; Baker, Stephen; Lincoln, Emily; Hudson, Scott; Lee, Sang Don; Lemieux, Paul. 2018. Cesium emissions from laboratory fires. Journal of the Air and Waste Management Association. 68(11): 1211-1223.

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    Keywords

    cesium emissions, laboratory fires, wildfire, radionuclide-contaminated forest

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/58645