The Application Of Radioisotopes In The Study Of Estuarine Sedimentary Processes

Clifton, RJ; Hamilton, EI. 1982 The Application Of Radioisotopes In The Study Of Estuarine Sedimentary Processes. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 14 (4). 433 - 446.

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Abstract/Summary

The spatial and temporal distributions of some radionuclides in effluents originating from the British Nuclear Fuels Ltd (BNFL) reprocessing plant at Windscale, which are released into the Irish Sea, have been studied in sediments at 16 sites in the salt marsh region near Newbiggin on the Esk estuary Cumbria, England. The concentration of non-conservative radionuclides in surface sediments of the area cannot be described by a single parameter, but there is a high correlation with organic C, Cu, Al and the Si : Al ratio with particle size. The preservation of the historical record of the BNFL effluents in the Esk sediments is dependent on the hydrology of the area, as it effects such processes as accretion, erosion and remixing. From the 106Ru and 210Po concentrations and the 137Cs : 134Cs ratio in the sediment profiles with depth, we have identified these processes. Sedimentation rates at sites of accretion vary between 0·5 and 3 cm year−1. However, at some sites they appear to be much higher, approximately 6 cm year−1 in the top 10 cm, but they are not consistent throughout the depth profiles. This may be a true reflection of variable accretion related to sediment type, or one which is influenced by surficial mixing. Some cores showed evidence of continuous accretion but no significant radioactivity was detected at depths below 35–40 cm, indicating an overall sedimentation rate of approximately 1·5 cm year−1 for the 25–30-year period since BNFL effluents first entered the Irish Sea.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Additional Keywords: sedimentation rates; spatial distribution; mixing; radionuclides; americium; polonium; caesium; ruthenium
Subjects: Chemistry
Marine Sciences
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Other (PML)
Depositing User: EPServices Admin
Date made live: 11 Feb 2014 15:54
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2017 16:03
URI: http://plymsea.ac.uk/id/eprint/2702

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