Marshall Islands Dose Assessment and Radioecology Program
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Exposure Pathway Analysis

Scientists have learned a great deal about the unique behavior of fallout radionuclides in coral soils and their routes for human exposure. The largest contributor to radiation doses from exposure to residual fallout contamination in the Marshall Islands comes from cesium-137. Cesium-137 is a fission product and is preferentially taken up by plants and transferred through the terrestrial food-chain. For example, coconut crabs (refer photo shown above) form an important and prized source of food in the Marshall Islands and, in certain locations, have been found to contain above average concentrations of cesium-137. Residual amounts of cesium-137 in the soil also contribute most to the external dose rate.



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