Letter | Published:

Concentrations of 113mCd in the marine environment

Naturevolume 287pages221223 (1980) | Download Citation



Reports on the detection of 113mCd in any type of environmental sample have been rare. The 113 mass chain yield is small relative to other longer-lived fission products, such as 90Sr and 137Cs, produced from uranium, plutonium and thorium fissions1. Also, only a small fraction of the 113 chain yield decays to 113mCd (ref. 2). Salter3 estimated that the 113mCd/90Sr activity quotient in thermonuclear fission should be 0.003. He stated that “this ratio is in good agreement with data from a few samples measured in the northern hemisphere prior to 1962 which have no 109Cd”. This, to our knowledge, was the first report of the detection of fission-produced 113mCd in the environment. Salter3 also calculated that 0.062 MCi of 113mCd and 0.25 MCi of 109Cd were produced by activation during the atmospheric detonation of the 1.4-megaton Starfish device on 9 July 1962 over Johnston Atoll. As both 109Cd and 113mCd are produced during neutron activation of stable cadmium, and 109Cd is not a fission product, the last part of Salter's statement is significant. The absence of 109Cd in samples collected before 1962 indicates that all nuclear testing before this time, which included all tests conducted at Enewetak and Bikini Atoiis in the Marshall Islands, could have generated 113mCd only as a fission product. It is therefore important to recognize that 113mCd could be present in other environments contaminated with fission product wastes discharged to the aquatic environment from other nuclear facilities. 113mCd has a half life4 of 14.6 ± 0.1 yr and decays predominantly by beta-particle emission. We present here a preliminary report of 113mCd concentrations measured in sediment and tissue samples of marine organisms collected around different atolls in the Marshall Islands.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Nethaway, D. R. & Barton, G. W. Lawrence Livermore Laboratory Rep. UCRL-51458 (1973).

  2. 2

    Wahl, A. C. J. inorg. nucl. Chem. 10, 1–3 (1959).

  3. 3

    Salter, L. P. Radioactive Fallout from Nuclear Weapons Tests (ed. Klement, A. W. Jr) 694, 409–421 (CONF-765, AEC 5 Symp.Series, 1965).

  4. 4

    Wahl, A. C. J. inorg. nucl. Chem. 34, 1767–1768 (1972).

  5. 5

    Pentreath, R. J. J. exp. mar. Biol. Ecol. 30, 223–232 (1977).

  6. 6

    Yamagata, N. Cadmium Studies in Japan: A Review (ed. Tsuchiya, K.) 19–43 (North-Holland Biomedical Press, Amsterdam, 1978).

  7. 7

    Mateosian, E. D. & Goldhaber, M. Phys. Rev. 186, 1285–1288 (1969).

  8. 8

    Wong, K. M., Noshkin, V. E. & Anglin, D. L. Hlth Phys. (submitted).

  9. 9

    US Atomic Energy Commission, Nevada Operations Office Enewetak Radiological Survey Rep. NVO-140, I–III (1973).

Download references

Author information


  1. Environmental Sciences Division, Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, University of California, Livermore, California, 94550

    • V. E. Noshkin
    • , K. M. Wong
    • , R. J. Eagle
    •  & D. L. Anglin


  1. Search for V. E. Noshkin in:

  2. Search for K. M. Wong in:

  3. Search for R. J. Eagle in:

  4. Search for D. L. Anglin in:

About this article

Publication history



Issue Date



Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.