Radiocarbon releases from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident

Xu, S. et al. (2016) Radiocarbon releases from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident. Scientific Reports, 6, 36947. (doi:10.1038/srep36947) (PMID:27841312) (PMCID:PMC5107918)

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Abstract

Radiocarbon activities were measured in annual tree rings for the years 2009 to 2015 from Japanese cedar trees (Cryptomeria japonica) collected at six sites ranging from 2.5–38 km northwest and north of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. The 14C specific activity varied from 280.4 Bq kg−1 C in 2010 to 226.0 Bq kg−1 C in 2015. The elevated 14C activities in the 2009 and 2010 rings confirmed 14C discharges during routine reactor operations, whereas those activities that were indistinguishable from background in 2012–2015 coincided with the permanent shutdown of the reactors after the accident in 2011. High-resolution 14C analysis of the 2011 ring indicated 14C releases during the Fukushima accident. The resulted 14C activity decreased with increasing distance from the plant. The maximum 14C activity released during the period of the accident was measured 42.4 Bq kg−1 C above the natural ambient 14C background. Our findings indicate that, unlike other Fukushima-derived radionuclides, the 14C released during the accident is indistinguishable from ambient background beyond the local environment (~30 km from the plant). Furthermore, the resulting dose to the local population from the excess 14C activities is negligible compared to the dose from natural/nuclear weapons sources.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Tripney, Dr Brian and Cook, Professor Gordon and Naysmith, Mr Philip and Cresswell, Dr Alan and Dunbar, Dr Elaine and Sanderson, Professor David and Xu, Dr Sheng and Freeman, Professor Stewart and Jacobsson, Dr Piotr and Kinch, Ms Helen
Authors: Xu, S., Cook, G. T., Cresswell, A., Dunbar, E., Freeman, S. P.H.T., Hou, X., Jacobsson, P., Kinch, H. R., Naysmith, P., Sanderson, D. C.W., and Tripney, B. G.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Scientific Reports
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2045-2322
ISSN (Online):2045-2322
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 The Authors
First Published:First published in Scientific Reports 6: 36947
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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