Plutonium and americium in arctic waters, the North Sea and Scottish and Irish coastal zones

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Plutonium and americium have been measured in surface waters of the Greenland and Barents Seas and in the northern North Sea from 1980 through 1984. Measurements in water and biota, Fucus, Mytilus and Patella, were carried out in North-English and Scottish waters in 1982 and Fucus samples were collected from the Irish coast in 1983. Fallout is found to dominate as a source of 239+240Pu north of latitude 65°N, while for 238Pu a substantial fraction originates from European nuclear fuel reprocessing facilities. The 238Pu/239+240Pu isotope ratio provides clear evidence of the transport of effluent plutonium from the latter to Spitsbergen waters. Fallout plutonium in Arctic waters has a residence time of the order of several years, while for Pu from Sellafield we estimate mean residence times of 11-15 months in Scottish waters and, tentatively, 1·5-3 y during transport from the North Channel (north of the Irish Sea) to Spitsbergen. 241Am found in Arctic waters probably originates from the decay of fallout 241Pu and, like Pu, tentatively has a residence time of the order of several years. Americium from Sellafield has an estimated mean residence time of 4-6 months in Scottish waters.


  • L. Hallstadius
  • A. Aarkrog
  • H. Dahlgaard
  • E. Holm
  • S. Boelskifte
  • S. Duniec
  • B. Persson
Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • Lund University
  • Technical University of Denmark
  • IAEA International Laboratory of Marine Radioactivity
Sidor (från-till)11-30
Antal sidor20
TidskriftJournal of Environmental Radioactivity
Utgåva nummer1
StatusPublished - 1986 jan 1
Peer review utfördJa