The INL site
is situated in a large agricultural area that produces many
food products. The ESER Team monitors the following foods
for potential migration and deposition of effluents from the
INL. These foods were chosen for their abundance in the
upper Snake River valley and their availability for testing.
Lettuce samples are obtained from private gardens in
communities in the vicinity of the INL. Samples are washed
to remove soil (as in normal food preparation), dried,
reduced to a powdered form and weighed. All lettuce samples
are analyzed for Strontium-90 and gamma-emitting
The collection of lettuce from home gardens around the INL
typically depends on availability. To make this sampling
more reliable, ESER added two prototype lettuce planters in
conjunction with other sampling locations at Atomic City and
the Experimental Field Station (EFS) on the INL. These
locations are relatively remote and have no access to water,
requiring that a self-watering system be developed. This
method allows for the placement and collection of lettuce at
areas previously unavailable to the public (i.e., on the INL).
The boxes are set out in the spring with the lettuce grown
from seed. This new method also allows for the accumulation
of deposited radionuclides on the plant surface throughout
the growth cycle.
Potato samples are collected from storage warehouses in the
INL vicinity. The samples, with cleaned skins included, are
processed and weighed. All potato samples are analyzed from
Strontium-90 and gamma-emitting radionuclides.
Wheat samples are collected from grain elevators in the
region surrounding the INL. All wheat samples are analyzed
for Strontium-90 and gamma-emitting radionuclides.