Actinides and decay products in selected produce and bioindicators in the vicinity of a uranium plant
Cypress needles collected at the edge of the Malvési uranium facility (SW France) exhibit enhanced activities of actinides and some decay products (uranium, americium, plutonium, 230Th, 226Ra) compared to a remote site. These enhanced activities resulted from the release of U via smokestacks and passive release from former artificial ponds located inside the nuclear site. Enhanced activities are also observed in selected produce (wheat, lettuce, fruits) sampled from the edge of the site. However, excess actinides measured in wheat grains in 2007 are inconsistent with the activities and the uranium ratio measured in the soils. This result suggests that the studied annual crops were contaminated mainly through the short-term release of airborne actinides, and that other transfer pathways, such as, uptake through the roots or adhesion of soil particles, were negligible.