Spatial pattern of plutonium and radiocaesium contamination released during the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster

James Dunne, Peter Martin, Yosuke Yamashiki, Ian Ang Xing Yang, Tom Scott, David Richards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

3 Citations (Scopus)
133 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Plutonium and radiocaesium are hazardous contaminants released by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (FDNPP) disaster and their distribution in the environment requires careful characterisation using isotopic information. Comprehensive spatial survey of 134Cs and 137Cs has been conducted on a regular basis since the accident, but the dataset for 135Cs/137Cs atom ratios and trace isotopic analysis of Pu remains limited because of analytical challenges. We have developed a combined chemical procedure to separate Pu and Cs for isotopic analysis of environmental samples from contaminated catchments. Ultra-trace analyses reveal a FDNPP Pu signature in environmental samples, some from further afield than previously reported. For two samples, we attribute the dominant source of Pu to Reactor Unit 3. We review the mechanisms responsible for an emergent spatial pattern in 134,135Cs/137Cs in areas northwest (high 134Cs/137Cs, low 135Cs/137Cs) and southwest (low 134Cs/137Cs, high 135Cs/137Cs) of FDNPP. Several samples exhibit consistent 134,135Cs/137Cs values that are significantly different from those deposited on plant specimens collected in previous works. A complex spatial pattern of Pu and Cs isotopic signature is apparent. To confidently attribute the sources of mixed fallout material, future studies must focus on analysis of individual FDNPP-derived particles.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16799
Number of pages9
JournalScientific Reports
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2018

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Spatial pattern of plutonium and radiocaesium contamination released during the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Activities

    • 1 Participation in conference

    2nd Bristol-Kyoto Symposium

    David A Richards (Participant)

    8 Jan 201410 Jan 2014

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

    Cite this