Plutonium and the Rio Grande: Environmental Change and Contamination in the Nuclear Age

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The first atomic bombs were constructed at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, where lab workers disposed of waste plutonium in nearby canyons leading to the Rio Grande. Today, the environmental consequences are just beginning to be understood as scientists examine the effects created by past mishandling of one of the most toxic chemical wastes known. Written in an engaging, accessible style, Plutonium and the Rio Grande is the first book to offer a complete exploration of this environmental history. It includes an explanation of what plutonium is, how much of it was released by the Los Alamos workers, and how much entered the river system directly from waste disposal and indirectly, as a result of atomic bomb fallout. The book includes extensive appendices, maps, diagrams, and photographs. Environmental managers, ecologists, hydrologists and other river specialists, as well as concerned general readers will find the book readable and informative.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book is an excellent example of how to approach the complexities of identifying the fate of environmental contaminants. ... This book succeeds as a tale of environmental detective work and also serves as a good example of an environmental geology text book. It also provides a much needed data base of references that will be invaluable for anyone working in thes Rio Grande Drainage." — Journal of Environmental Quality

"PLutonium, an element named for the god of the dead, continues to be a highly controversial environmental issue. . .this study could serve as a model in analyzing plutonium and othe heavy metal contamination occurring elsewhere." —Choice

"Persons with little training in environmental matters will have no difficulty with this book, and, indeed, will find it most instructive and insightful. . . .If ever anyone needed evidence of stream dynamics, she or he would need go no further than this book. Plutonium is its explicit subject. Implicitly, though, the book is every bit about the general dynamics of biophysical environments. It is geography at its very best."—Annals of the Association of American Geographers

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195089332
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 12/28/1994
  • Pages: 356
  • Product dimensions: 6.37 (w) x 9.56 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Table of Contents

1. Introduction and Related Research
2. Plutonium and Los Alamos
3. The Northern Rio Grande
4. Fluvial Sediment, Forms and Processes
5. Engineering Works
6. Riparian Vegetation
7. Plutonium Sources in the Rio Grande System
8. Annual Plutonium Budget for the Rio Grande
9. Plutonium Storage Upstream from Cochiti
10. Plutonium Storage Near Albuquerque
11. Simulation of Sediment and Plutonium Dynamics
12. General Lessons and Conclusions

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2008

    Objective and well-researched

    Author documents the dispersal of tiny quantities of Plutonium from the World War II - era waste treatment plant that was located near downtown Los Alamos into 'Acid Canyon,' Pueblo Canyon, and eventually into the Rio Grande. Well researched, neutrally written.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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