Levels of C-14 in the terrestrial environment in the vicinity of two European nuclear power plants

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Abstract

Radiocarbon is produced in all types of nuclear reactors. Most of the C-14 released into the environment is in the form of gaseous emissions. Recent data on the C-14 concentration found in terrestrial samples taken in the vicinity of nuclear power plants in Romania and Lithuania are presented. We found increased C-14 levels in the surroundings of both power plants. At the Romanian power plant Cernavoda, we found excess levels of C-14 in grass within a distance of about 1000 in, the highest C-14 specific activity being 311 Bq/kg C (approximately 28% above the contemporary C-14 background) found at a distance of 200 in from the point of release (nearest sampling location). At the Lithuanian power plant Ignalina, samples of willow, pine, and spruce showed a C-14 excess of similar magnitude, while significantly higher values were found in moss samples. The samples were analyzed at the accelerator mass spectrometry facility in Lund, Sweden.

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Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)863-868
JournalRadiocarbon
Volume46
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes