Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Committee Member

Vernon F. Hodge

Number of Pages



Polonium-210, a naturally occurring radioisotope, has been found at high concentrations in marine fish. One publication reports much lower concentration (on the order of 10{dollar}\sp{-1}{dollar}) of {dollar}\sp{210}{dollar}Po in fresh-water fish compared to salt-water, although the visceral organs were not analyzed. This hypothesis was tested for its generality by analyzing various fish from Lake Mead. Studies of polonium are useful because the man-made radioactive plutonium is also a heavy metal with very similar energy of alpha particle emission during radioactive decay; This study was directed toward determining the radioactivity levels of {dollar}\sp{210}{dollar}Po in Lake Mead fish, particularly catfish, striped bass and threadfin shad. The radioactivity was analyzed in individual organs and tissues for comparisons with the reported concentrations of some oceanic fish. The study showed that {dollar}\sp{210}{dollar}Po concentrations in Lake Mead fish are comparable to salt-water fish, not much less as has been reported. The highest {dollar}\sp{210}{dollar}Po activity (33.36 pCi/g wet wt.) was found in the intestine plus content of catfish. The intestine of striped bass had the highest activity of 29.01 pCi/g (wet wt.). These values are comparable with the value of 20 pCi/g (wet wt.) reported in the intestine of albacore tuna.


Arizona; Fish; Lake; Mead; Nevada; Polonium; Radioactivity; Lake Mead

Controlled Subject

Environmental sciences; Chemistry, Analytic

File Format


File Size

1300.48 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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