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We sliced open radioactive particles from soil in South Australia and found they may be leaking plutonium

By Barbara Etschmann, Research officer, Monash University
Joel Brugger, Professor of Synchrotron Geosciences, Monash University
Vanessa Wong, Associate Professor, Monash University
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Almost 60 years after British nuclear tests ended, radioactive particles containing plutonium and uranium still contaminate the landscape around Maralinga in outback South Australia.

These “hot particles” are not as stable as we once assumed. Our research shows they are likely releasing tiny chunks of plutonium and uranium which can be easily transported in dust and water, inhaled by humans and wildlife and taken up by plants.

A British nuclear playground

After the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima…

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