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Issue 7, 2007
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Assessing depleted uranium (DU) contamination of soil, plants and earthworms at UK weapons testing sites

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Abstract

Depleted uranium (DU) weapons testing programmes have been conducted at two locations within the UK. An investigation was therefore carried out to assess the extent of any environmental contamination arising from these test programmes using both alpha spectrometry and mass spectrometry techniques. Uranium isotopic signatures indicative of DU contamination were observed in soil, plant and earthworm samples collected in the immediate vicinity of test firing points and targets, but contamination was found to be localised to these areas. This paper demonstrates the superiority of the 235U : 238U ratio over the 234U : 238U ratio for identifying and quantifying DU contamination in environmental samples, and also describes the respective circumstances under which alpha spectrometry or mass spectrometry may be the more appropriate analytical tool.

Graphical abstract: Assessing depleted uranium (DU) contamination of soil, plants and earthworms at UK weapons testing sites

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Article information


Submitted
16 Jan 2007
Accepted
03 May 2007
First published
24 May 2007

J. Environ. Monit., 2007,9, 740-748
Article type
Paper

Assessing depleted uranium (DU) contamination of soil, plants and earthworms at UK weapons testing sites

I. W. Oliver, M. C. Graham, A. B. MacKenzie, R. M. Ellam and J. G. Farmer, J. Environ. Monit., 2007, 9, 740
DOI: 10.1039/B700719A

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