Radioactive 129I in surface water of the Celtic Sea
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Relatively large amounts of radioactive iodine 129I (T 1/2 = 15.7 Ma) have been documented in seawater such as the English Channel, the Irish Sea and the North Sea. Data on the concentration of the iodine isotopes in waters of the Celtic Sea are missing. Aiming to provide first 129I data in the Celtic Sea and compare them with levels in the other close-by seawater bodies, surface seawater samples were analyzed for the determination of 127I and 129I concentrations. The results revealed a high level of 129I in these waters and suggest strong influence by liquid discharges from La Hague and Sellafield reprocessing facilities. 127I concentrations are rather constant while the 129I/127I ratio reaches up to 2.8 × 10−8 (ranging from 10−10 to 10−8), which is 2–4 orders of magnitude higher than pre-nuclear era natural level. Transport of 129I to the Celtic Sea is difficult to depict accurately since available data are sparse. Most likely, however, that discharges originated from La Hague may have more influence on the Celtic Sea 129I concentrations than the Sellafield. Comprehensive surface water and depth profiles 129I data will be needed in the future for assessment of environmental impact in the region.
KeywordsIodine 129I Celtic Sea Nuclear reprocessing facilities
The authors thank the Swedish Polar Secretary and the Swedish Research Council For logistic and financial support. Thanks are also extended to the crew of the Icebreaker Oden for their continuous help and livelihood and to Anna Storm Sturevik for the generous help with the sampling onboard the ship.
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