The Lower Three Runs Stream in the southeast quarter of the Savannah River Site was used for discharge of cooling water from two nuclear production reactors during the 1950s and 1960s. Some non-routine “events” at the reactors resulted in discharge of waters contaminated with fission products. Radioactive decay has eliminated most of the higher activity fission discharged by the reactors, but today, cesium-137 in sediment and soil is the main concern. SAIC was contracted to collect soil, sediment, and surface water from pine barrens and swamp that had been untouched for the past 50 years. The characterization studies had not been attempted prior to 2009 in part because the risk to worker safety was too great.
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