Reconstructing the history of C-14 discharges from Sellafield: Part 1 - atmospheric discharges

Isogai, K., Cook, G.T. and Anderson, R. (2002) Reconstructing the history of C-14 discharges from Sellafield: Part 1 - atmospheric discharges. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 59(2), pp. 207-222. (doi:10.1016/S0265-931X(01)00076-5)

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C-14 specific activities, above ambient background levels, were determined in individual tree-rings (corresponding to the years 1950-1999) sectioned from an oak tree that was felled in autumn 1999, from a location 1.5 km cast of the Sellafield nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Cumbria, north-west England. The data were used to produce a new, improved, reconstruction of Sellafield's annual atmospheric C-14 discharges between 1951 and 1999, using the most reliable discharge data set (1994- 1999) as the primary basis for the determination of a new calibration factor that relates excess C-14 activity in individual tree rings to the annual discharge during the corresponding year. The results indicate that the current British Nuclear Fuels plc (BNFL) estimate of total C-14 discharges to the atmosphere prior to 1978 is significantly overestimated, while the current estimate of total C-14 discharges after 1978 is very similar to that determined in this study. In this study, the total activity of C-14 discharged to the atmosphere from Sellafield between 1951 and 1999 is estimated to be 259 +/- 63 TBq (at 2 std. dev.). The BNFL current estimate is 360 TBq.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cook, Professor Gordon and Anderson, Mr Robert
Authors: Isogai, K., Cook, G.T., and Anderson, R.
Subjects:G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Journal of Environmental Radioactivity

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