137Cs(90Sr) and Pu isotopes in the Pacific Ocean sources & trends

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The main source of artificial radioactivity in the world`s oceans can be attributed to worldwide fallout from atmospheric nuclear weapons testing. Measurements of selected artificial radionuclides in the Pacific Ocean were first conducted in the 1960`s where it was observed that fallout radioactivity had penetrated the deep ocean. Extensive studies carried out during the 1973-74 GEOSECS provided the first comprehensive data on the lateral and vertical distributions of {sup 9O}Sr, {sup 137}Cs and Pu isotopes in the Pacific on a basin wide scale. Estimates of radionuclide inventories in excess of amounts predicted to be delivered by global fallout alone were ... continued below

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38 p.

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Hamilton, T.F., Millies-Lacrox, J.C. & Hong, G.H. November 1, 1996.

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The main source of artificial radioactivity in the world`s oceans can be attributed to worldwide fallout from atmospheric nuclear weapons testing. Measurements of selected artificial radionuclides in the Pacific Ocean were first conducted in the 1960`s where it was observed that fallout radioactivity had penetrated the deep ocean. Extensive studies carried out during the 1973-74 GEOSECS provided the first comprehensive data on the lateral and vertical distributions of {sup 9O}Sr, {sup 137}Cs and Pu isotopes in the Pacific on a basin wide scale. Estimates of radionuclide inventories in excess of amounts predicted to be delivered by global fallout alone were attributed to close-in fallout and tropospheric inputs from early U.S. tests conducted on Bikini and Enewetak Atolls in the Equatorial Pacific. In general, levels of fallout radionuclides (including {sup 9O}Sr, {sup 137}Cs and Pu isotopes) in the surface waters of the Pacific Ocean have decreased considerably over the past 4 decades and are now much more homogeneously distributed. Resuspension and the subsequent deposition of fallout radionuclides from previously deposited debris on land has become an important source term for the surface ocean. This can be clearly seen in measurements of fallout radionuclides in mineral aerosols over the Korean Peninsula (Yellow dust events). Radionuclides may also be transported from land to sea in river runoff-these transport mechanisms are more important in the Pacific Ocean where large quantities of river water and suspended sands/fluvial sediments reach the coastal zone. Another unique source of artificial radionuclides in the Pacific Ocean is derived from the slow resolubilization and transport of radionuclides deposited in contaminated lagoon and slope sediments near U.S. and French test sites. Although there is a small but significant flux of artificial radionuclides depositing on the sea floor, > 80% of the total 239, {sup 240}Pu inventory and > 95% of the total {sup 137}Cs inventory remains in the water column. Studies conducted through the 1980`s appear to be consistent with earlier findings and indicate that radionuclide inventories in mid-northern latitudes are at least a factor of two above those expected from global fallout alone. The long term persistence of close-in and/or stratospheric fallout from nuclear weapons testing in the Marshall Islands still appears to be the only plausible explanation for this anomaly.

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38 p.

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OSTI as DE98050224

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  • Raionuclides in the oceans: inputs and inventories international symposium of radionuclides in the ocean, Cherbourg-Octeville (France), 7-11 Oct 1996

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  • Other: DE98050224
  • Report No.: UCRL-JC--124615-Rev.1
  • Report No.: CONF-9610355--
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 621645
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc690481

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Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • November 1, 1996

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  • Aug. 14, 2015, 8:43 a.m.

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  • Feb. 16, 2016, 1:30 p.m.

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Hamilton, T.F., Millies-Lacrox, J.C. & Hong, G.H. 137Cs(90Sr) and Pu isotopes in the Pacific Ocean sources & trends, article, November 1, 1996; California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc690481/: accessed April 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.