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Title: Decline of radionuclides in the nearshore environment following nuclear reactor closure: A U.K. case study

Abstract

Radioactive discharges from nuclear facilities are frequently made into the marine environment and their fate during and after cessation of discharges is a matter of interest and concern. This study examines the decline of the radionuclides {sup 60} and {sup 65}Zn along the southern UK. coast, over the per 1988--1998, following the closure of the steam-generating heavy water (SGHW) reactor at AEA Winfrith, Dorset, UK. {sup 60}Co and {sup 65}Zn (and other activation products such as {sup 63}Ni and {sup 55}Fe) were widely dispersed in the marine environment off the central south coast of England, due to authorized releases from AEA Winfrith. Significant interaction occurred with clay-rich sediments and biota. A general exponential decline in {sup 60}Co activities (and in {sup 65}Zn activity) is found in intertidal mudflat sediments, seaweed and marine fauna in different areas along the south coast following closure of the reactor in 1990. Effective half-lives are determined which vary from 1 to 4 years in surface sediments ({sup 60}Co only), 1--4 years in seaweed and 0.5--2.5 years in crustaceans, bivalves and molluscs. Physical mixing and bioturbation largely control the rate at which {sup 60}Co declines in surface sediments. Both {sup 60}Co and {sup 65}Zn show amore » relatively slow rate of decline in seaweed and in marine fauna, showing that even after the virtual cessation of discharge from nuclear facilities, contamination of these organisms may persist for a number of years, albeit at reduced activities. Reasons for this persistence are likely to include absorption of radionuclides from sediment, and release and recycling of radionuclides via breakdown of contaminated organic material.« less

Authors:
; ;  [1];  [2]
  1. Southampton Oceanography Centre (United Kingdom)
  2. AEA Technology, Dorchester (United Kingdom). Winfrith Technology Centre
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
696757
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Environmental Science and Technology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 33; Journal Issue: 17; Other Information: PBD: 1 Sep 1999
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 22 NUCLEAR REACTOR TECHNOLOGY; 21 NUCLEAR POWER REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; UNITED KINGDOM; CONTAMINATION; COASTAL WATERS; COBALT 60; ZINC 65; NICKEL 63; IRON 55; RADIATION MONITORING; RADIOECOLOGICAL CONCENTRATION; SGHWR REACTOR; ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS

Citation Formats

Cundy, A.B., Croudace, I.W., Warwick, P.E., and Bains, M.E.D. Decline of radionuclides in the nearshore environment following nuclear reactor closure: A U.K. case study. United States: N. p., 1999. Web. doi:10.1021/es9811694.
Cundy, A.B., Croudace, I.W., Warwick, P.E., & Bains, M.E.D. Decline of radionuclides in the nearshore environment following nuclear reactor closure: A U.K. case study. United States. doi:10.1021/es9811694.
Cundy, A.B., Croudace, I.W., Warwick, P.E., and Bains, M.E.D. Wed . "Decline of radionuclides in the nearshore environment following nuclear reactor closure: A U.K. case study". United States. doi:10.1021/es9811694.
@article{osti_696757,
title = {Decline of radionuclides in the nearshore environment following nuclear reactor closure: A U.K. case study},
author = {Cundy, A.B. and Croudace, I.W. and Warwick, P.E. and Bains, M.E.D.},
abstractNote = {Radioactive discharges from nuclear facilities are frequently made into the marine environment and their fate during and after cessation of discharges is a matter of interest and concern. This study examines the decline of the radionuclides {sup 60} and {sup 65}Zn along the southern UK. coast, over the per 1988--1998, following the closure of the steam-generating heavy water (SGHW) reactor at AEA Winfrith, Dorset, UK. {sup 60}Co and {sup 65}Zn (and other activation products such as {sup 63}Ni and {sup 55}Fe) were widely dispersed in the marine environment off the central south coast of England, due to authorized releases from AEA Winfrith. Significant interaction occurred with clay-rich sediments and biota. A general exponential decline in {sup 60}Co activities (and in {sup 65}Zn activity) is found in intertidal mudflat sediments, seaweed and marine fauna in different areas along the south coast following closure of the reactor in 1990. Effective half-lives are determined which vary from 1 to 4 years in surface sediments ({sup 60}Co only), 1--4 years in seaweed and 0.5--2.5 years in crustaceans, bivalves and molluscs. Physical mixing and bioturbation largely control the rate at which {sup 60}Co declines in surface sediments. Both {sup 60}Co and {sup 65}Zn show a relatively slow rate of decline in seaweed and in marine fauna, showing that even after the virtual cessation of discharge from nuclear facilities, contamination of these organisms may persist for a number of years, albeit at reduced activities. Reasons for this persistence are likely to include absorption of radionuclides from sediment, and release and recycling of radionuclides via breakdown of contaminated organic material.},
doi = {10.1021/es9811694},
journal = {Environmental Science and Technology},
number = 17,
volume = 33,
place = {United States},
year = {1999},
month = {9}
}