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Solid radioactive wastes are disposed of by burial in pits excavated in rhyolite tuff at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. Contaminants known to be in the waste include fission products, uranium, and transuranic elements. Horizontal holes were cored during air as a cuttings carrier beneath a pit which was in use from 1963 to 1966. During drilling operations the air and cuttings from the holes were monitored for radioactive contamination as was the ambient air. No contamination was detected. Samples of the core were analyzed for gross alpha, gross beta, total uranium, 90Sr, 137Cs, 238Pu, 239,240Pu, and 241Am. None of the man-made elements were present in the samples at levels above the minimum detection limits. Gro s alpha, gross beta, and uranium activity was detected in the samples. Statistical comparisons were made to identify any significant variations from natural background concentrations. The comparisons demonstrated that none of the radioactivity detected in the samples can be attributed to migration from the disposal pit.
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