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  • Author or Editor: J. E. S. Sarkis x
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The use of environmental monitoring as a technique to identify activities related to the nuclear fuel cycle has been proposed by international safeguards organizations. The elements specific for each kind of nuclear activity, or “nuclear signatures”, inserted in the ecosystem can be intercepted by different live organisms. This work demonstrates the technical viability of using pine needles as bioindicators of nuclear signatures associated with uranium enrichment activities. Additionally, it proposes the use of HR-ICP-MS to identify the signature corresponding to that kind of activities in the ecosystem. Nitric acid solutions, used to wash pine needles sampled near nuclear facilities and containing only 0.1 mg . kg-1 of uranium, exhibit a n(235U)/n(238U) isotopic abundance ratio of 0.0092±0.0002, while solutions originated from samples collected at places located more than 200 km far from activities related to the nuclear fuel cycle exhibit a value of 0.0074±0.0002. Similar results were obtained for sample solutions prepared using the acid leaching process. The different values of n(235U)/n(238U) isotopic abundance ratio obtained permit to confirm the presence of anthropogenic uranium and demonstrate the viability of using the methodology proposed in this work.

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Community Ecology
Authors: D. M. S. Abessa, B. R. F. Rachid, L. P. Zaroni, M. R. Gasparro, Y. A. Pinto, M. C. Bícego, M. A. Hortellan, J. E. S. Sarkis, P. Muniz, L. B. Moreira, and E. C. P. M. Sousa


The Santos Estuarine System (SES) is a complex of bays, islands, estuarine channels, and rivers located on the Southeast coast of Brazil, in which multiple contaminant sources are situated in close proximity to mangroves and other protected areas. In this study, the composition and structure of the macrobenthic communities of SES were described and ninety-nine species were identified, with the predominance of polychaetes and bivalve mollusks. The benthic assemblages also showed strong signs of stress, as indicated by the low abundance, richness and diversity, and the dominance of opportunistic species. Integrated analysis including sediment characteristics related to natural and anthropogenic factors (e.g., sediment chemistry, and toxicity) indicated that benthic fauna from the inner portions of the SES and vicinities of the SSOS diffusers as Santos Bay were affected. Some locations at the mouths of Santos and Sao Vicente estuaries exhibited moderate disturbance. In other sites from the mouth of São Vicente and Bertioga channels, and Santos Bay, the benthic fauna were considered not degraded. Our results suggest that a combination of both environmental factors and contaminants were responsible for the benthic community structure.

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