On the distribution and inventories of radionuclides in dated sediments around the Swedish coast

Grzegorz Olszewski , Pål Andersson , Patric Lindahl , Mats Eriksson


The activity concentrations and distribution of 137Cs, 238Pu, 239+240Pu, 241Am, and 210Pb was determined by the analysis of six sediment cores from the Baltic Sea and Kattegat. The chronology of the sediment cores has been used to evaluate the origin and time trend of the radionuclide sources in these sediments. The sediment cores were dated with a 210Pb model and the results were validated with fallout peaks, assumed to originate from the global nuclear weapons testing and the Chernobyl accident. Source identification, using the isotopic and radionuclide activity ratios, showed that the Chernobyl accident is the main source of 137Cs in the Baltic Sea; for 239+240Pu and 241Am the dominant source was shown to be fallout from nuclear weapons tests. For 238Pu and 241Am the Chernobyl accident had a significant impact on the direct fallout into the Baltic Proper, with up to a 65% contribution in the sediment slices dated to 1986. In these sediment slices the maximum activity ratios of 238Pu/239+240Pu and 241Am/239+240Pu were 0.314 ± 0.008 and 1.29 ± 0.06, respectively. The ratios clearly deviate from the corresponding ratios for global nuclear weapons fallout (around 0.028 and 0.54, respectively). Calculated inventories were 63–175 Bq·m−2 for 239+240Pu, 2.8–7.8 for 238Pu Bq·m−2 and 0.92–44.4 kBq·m−2 for 137Cs. Different fallout patterns for 137Cs and plutonium isotopes from the Chernobyl accident were confirmed through depth profiles analyses. The maximum inventory of 137Cs was observed in the Bothnian Sea, while Chernobyl-derived plutonium was found to be mostly present in Northern Baltic Proper. The radionuclides distribution in the depth profiles shows how contaminated water affects the sediment as it passes sampling stations according to the current circulation pattern in the Baltic Sea. Additionally, the effect of increased activity concentrations from of river discharges in the most contaminated area in the Bothnian Sea was observed.
Author Grzegorz Olszewski PAiRŚ
Grzegorz Olszewski,,
- Laboratory of Environmental Analystics and Radiochemistry
, Pål Andersson
Pål Andersson,,
, Patric Lindahl
Patric Lindahl,,
, Mats Eriksson
Mats Eriksson,,
Journal seriesJournal of Environmental Radioactivity, ISSN 0265-931X
Issue year2018
Publication size in sheets0.5
URL https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvrad.2017.09.025
Languageen angielski
Score (nominal)30
ScoreMinisterial score = 25.0, 20-12-2017, ArticleFromJournal
Ministerial score (2013-2016) = 30.0, 20-12-2017, ArticleFromJournal
Publication indicators WoS Impact Factor: 2016 = 2.31 (2) - 2016=2.633 (5)
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