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Continuous Point Source Plume Behavior Out to 160 Miles

Kendall R. PetersonAir Resources Laboratory, ESSA, Silver Spring, Md.

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Abstract

In order to study the behavior of the plume emitted from the air-cooled nuclear reactor at Brookhaven National Laboratory on central Long Island, radioactive argon-41 has been measured by an airborne gamma-ray spectrometer as far as 160 n mi downwind on a day with neutral stability. A vertical cross section at 144 n mi, obtained by a vertical “saw-tooth” sampling technique, shows the plume to be well organized with a nearly uniform vertical distribution to at least 2000 ft.

The peak concentration, when corrected for radioactive decay, decreases by about a factor of 7–10 over a distance of 150 n mi and a travel time of 10–12 hr.

The lateral standard deviation of the plume appears to fit an extension of the Pasquill-Gifford “D” curve with distance, where σy (n mi) is approximately equal to two-thirds of the travel time in hours.

Abstract

In order to study the behavior of the plume emitted from the air-cooled nuclear reactor at Brookhaven National Laboratory on central Long Island, radioactive argon-41 has been measured by an airborne gamma-ray spectrometer as far as 160 n mi downwind on a day with neutral stability. A vertical cross section at 144 n mi, obtained by a vertical “saw-tooth” sampling technique, shows the plume to be well organized with a nearly uniform vertical distribution to at least 2000 ft.

The peak concentration, when corrected for radioactive decay, decreases by about a factor of 7–10 over a distance of 150 n mi and a travel time of 10–12 hr.

The lateral standard deviation of the plume appears to fit an extension of the Pasquill-Gifford “D” curve with distance, where σy (n mi) is approximately equal to two-thirds of the travel time in hours.

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