Vertical distributions of Pu and radiocesium isotopes in sediments from Lake Inba after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident: Source identification and accumulation

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Abstract

Radiocesium isotopes were released into the environment in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP) accident, which resulted from the massive Tohoku earthquake in March 2011. Lake Inba is located in Chiba Prefecture about 200 km from the FDNPP site and the lake was contaminated by radioactivity from the accident. The present work was carried out in order to investigate the vertical distributions and accumulations of radiocesium and Pu in sediment cores collected during 2011–2015, and to study the migration behaviors of radiocesium and Pu isotopes in the sediments. The observed 134Cs/137Cs activity ratios in the core samples were approximately 1 (decay-corrected to 15 March, 2011), suggesting that sediment samples were contaminated by the FDNPP-released radiocesium. Compared with radiocesium inventories in soil in the area surrounding the Lake Inba, the calculated higher radiocesium inventories of the collected sediment cores indicated that most of the radiocesium was subsequently accumulated in the lake, and that the radiocesium input by atmospheric deposition and input from surrounding soil were greater than the output of the radiocesium. The 239+240Pu activities in the sediments were all within the background level seen before the accident. The atom ratios of 240Pu/239Pu ranged from 0.175 to 0.210, suggesting that Pu originated from global stratospheric fallout rather than from the FDNPP accident.

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Cao, L., Ishii, N., Zheng, J., Kagami, M., Pan, S., Tagami, K., & Uchida, S. (2017). Vertical distributions of Pu and radiocesium isotopes in sediments from Lake Inba after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident: Source identification and accumulation. Applied Geochemistry, 78, 287–294. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apgeochem.2017.01.012

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