Concentrations of iodine-129 in livestock, agricultural, and fishery products around spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Rokkasho, Japan, during and after its test operation
Concentrations of iodine-129 (129I) and atomic ratios of 129I/127I in livestock (grass and milk), agricultural (cabbage, Japanese radish, and rice), and fishery (flatfish and brown alga) products collected from locations around the first Japanese commercial spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Rokkasho were measured from 2006 to 2016. The actual spent nuclear fuel rods were cut and processed to test the functioning of the plant that discharged controlled amounts of 129I to the atmosphere and coastal seawater during the period from 2006 to 2008 (the “cutting period”). Statistically significant increases in 129I concentration and 129I/127I ratio were observed during the cutting period in livestock products and flatfish. On the other hand, these parameters were statistically comparable during and after the cutting period in the other products. The radiation dose through the ingestion of the maximum 129I concentrations, measured in the different products, was estimated to be in the nanoSievert per year level. This value is much smaller than 1 mSv yr—1, which is the permissible authentic radiation dose for the general public. The 129I levels in the samples, especially in milk and flatfish, are discussed in context of the 129I discharge history from the plant.
KeywordsIodine-129 Foodstuff Spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant Livestock Agricultural and fishery products Accelerator mass spectrometry
We wish to thank Dr. Yoshito Sato, researcher in Aomori Prefectural Experiment Station of Animal Husbandry, for some precious information related to the agricultural products around Rokkasho. This work was performed under contract with the Government of Aomori Prefecture, Japan.
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