Evaluation of a radioiodine plume increasing in concentration at the Savannah River Site.
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Field and laboratory studies were carried out to understand the cause for steady increases in (129)I concentrations emanating from radiological basins located on the Savannah River Site, South Carolina. The basins were closed in 1988 by adding limestone and slag and then capping with a low permeability engineered cover. Groundwater (129)I concentrations in a well near the basins in 1993 were 200 pCi L(-1) and are presently between 400 and 1000 pCi L(-1). Iodine speciation in the plume contained wide ranges of iodide, iodate, and organo-iodine concentrations. First-order calculations based on a basin sediment desorption study indicate that the modest increase of 0.7 pH units detected in the study site groundwater over the last 17 years since closure of the basins may be sufficient to produce the observed increased groundwater (129)I concentrations near the basins. Groundwater monitoring of the plume at the basins has shown that the migration of many of the high risk radionuclides originally present at this complex site has been attenuated. However, (129)I continues to leave the source at a rate that may have been exacerbated by the initial remediation efforts. This study underscores the importance of identifying the appropriate in situ stabilization technologies for all source contaminants, especially if their geochemical behaviors differ.
author list (cited authors)
Kaplan, D. I., Roberts, K. A., Schwehr, K. A., Lilley, M. S., Brinkmeyer, R., Denham, M. E., ... Santschi, P. H.