Fourth Quarter 2008
INL Quarterly Site Environmental Report
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S.M. Stoller Corporation
Environmental Surveillance, Education and Research Program
ISSN NUMBER 1089-5469

Idaho National Laboratory Offsite Environmental Surveillance Program Report:
Fourth Quarter
May 2009

Marilyn Case, Russ Mitchell

Program conducted for the U.S. Department of Energy, Idaho Operations Office
Under Contract DE-AC07-06ID14680
By the S. M. Stoller Corporation,
Environmental Surveillance, Education and Research Program
Douglas K. Halford, Program Manager
120 Technology Drive, Idaho Falls, Idaho 83401


Most of the radionuclides detected in samples collected during the fourth quarter of 2008 could not be directly linked with INL Site activities. One exception was waterfowl collected directly from waste ponds located at one INL facility. Levels of other detected radionuclides were no different than values measured at other locations across the United States or were consistent with levels measured historically at the INL Site. All detected radionuclide concentrations were well below guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and regulatory standards established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for protection of the public.

This report for the fourth quarter of 2008 contains results from the Environmental Surveillance, Education and Research (ESER) Program’s monitoring of the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory (INL) Site’s offsite environment, October 1 through December 31, 2008. All sample types (media) and the sampling schedule followed during 2008 are listed in Appendix A. Specifically, this report contains the results for the following:

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Table E-1. Summary of results for the fourth quarter of 2008.


Sample Type





Gross alpha, gross beta

A statistical difference was found between quarterly gross beta concentrations but the pattern of data did not appear to be unusual.  There were no other statistical differences in gross alpha or gross beta quarterly or monthly data in the fourth quarter. A couple of statistical differences were noted in weekly results but these appeared to result from natural variability in the data.  No result exceeded the DCG for gross alpha or gross beta activity in air.



Gamma-emitting radionuclides, select actinides (241Am, 238Pu, and 239,240 Pu), 90Sr

Americium-241 was detected on three composites at concentrations similar to those found previously.  Americium-241, Plutonium-238 and Plutonium-239/240 were reported on composites from duplicate sampling locations.  After review of the data and discussions with the laboratory, the data for these locations were considered invalid.


Charcoal Cartridge


No detections of 131I were made during the fourth quarter.

Atmospheric Moisture



A total of 14 samples were collected.  Seven of these samples had a tritium result greater than the 3s uncertainty.  No sample result exceeded the DCG for tritium in air.




Eleven samples were collected.  Three of the results were greater than the 3s uncertainty.  The concentration was consistent with those reported across the region and with previous results.



Iodine-131, gamma-emitting radionuclides, 90Sr, tritium

Thirty-four samples, including two duplicates, were collected.  No Iodine-131 or other manmade gamma-emitting radionuclides were detected in any sample.  Strontium-90 was detected in three of four samples and tritium was detected in two of four samples at levels similar to previous measurements.



Gamma-emitting radionuclides, 90Sr

Eleven samples were collected, including one duplicate.  No man-made gamma-emitting radionuclides were detected.  Strontium-90 was detected in six samples at levels consistent with historical measurements and can be attributed to residual 90Sr from past nuclear weapons testing.



Gamma emitting radionuclides, 90Sr, 241Am, and plutonium

Cesium-137 was detected in all samples collected.  Strontium-90 was detected in most of the samples.  The origin of these nuclides is probably deposition of fallout from atmospheric nuclear weapons testing.  Americium and Plutonium were not detected in any samples.

Large Game Animals


Iodine-131, gamma emitting radionuclides

Two animals were sampled.  One mule deer had Cesium-137 in the thyroid at a concentration just above the minimal detectable concentration. 



Gamma-emitting radionuclides, 90Sr, select actinides (241Am, 238Pu, and 239,240 Pu)

Five radionuclides were found in tissues from ducks collected at the Advanced Test Reactor Complex, including edible tissue.  Concentrations were generally similar to those found in the previous two years.  The estimated dose from eating the entire edible mass of the duck with the highest concentrations was estimated at 0.05 mrem.

Environmental Radiation


Ambient ionizing radiation

Values were consistent with expected exposures given the altitude and location of the TLDs.  There were no statistical differences between Boundary and Distant location results.


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Fourth Quarter 2008
INL Quarterly Site Environmental Report
Return to Index