Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



During recent years rapid advances in nuclear technology have increased the probability of accidental contamination of our coastal estuarine waters by several routes. The chances of such contamination appear remote, but in the event of a nuclear accident, it would be imperative to understand processes which will disperse or concentrate radioactive materials. In coastal waters the disposal or transport of radionuclides in concentrations exceeding the maximum permissible concentration is affected by tidal action and by the volume of inflowing fresh waters. During the period of transport by coastal or estuarine currents, physical and chemical forces will produce abiotic sedimentation. The inorganic materials with adsorbed radionuclides removed from suspension by these forces may be loosely incorporated into the hydrosol layer and, consequently, easily returned to suspension by waves and currents. Many of these physical and chemical factors which influence distribution have been partially studied and some conception of expected distribution by these processes is possible. (...)

Final report includes:

  • Sediment mixing by invertebrates as shown by Kr85;
  • Removal of particles from suspension by the American oyster Crassostrea virginica;
  • Sinking rates and size of component particles of fecal pellets, by D.S. Haven and R. Morales-Alamo and
  • An animal-sediment study in the lower York River, Virginia, by D.S. Haven, J, Kraeuter, R. Swartz and M. Wass.


Final report to the U. S. Atomic Energy Commission, Contract no. AT-(40-1)-2789 for the period 1 January 1961 to 31 December 1967.


American oyster -- Effect of water quality on -- Chesapeake Bay (Md. and Va.), American oyster -- Feeding and feeds -- Chesapeake Bay (Md. and Va.), Sedimentation and deposition, Radioactive substances in rivers, lakes, etc -- Chesapeake Bay (Md. and Va.)