Over Three years of Monitoring 129I spread in Pacific Ocean After the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Ching-Chih Chang1, George Burr1, A J Timothy Jull1, Antra Priyadarshi2, Mark H Thiemens2, Dana Biddulph1 and Joellen L Russell1, (1)University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, United States, (2)University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, United States
129I is a long-lived radionuclide that has been used as a useful environmental tracer. At present, the global 129I in surface water is about 1-2 orders of magnitude higher than pre-1990 levels. The anthropogenic 129I signal produced from industrial nuclear fuel reprocessing plants is known to be the primary source of 129I in marine surface waters of the Atlantic, and elevated 129I values are found globally.

The Great East Japan Earthquake and the induced tsunami in 2011 triggered the nuclear shutdowns, failures, and partial meltdowns of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The accident resulted in a series of radioactive material releases into the environment and spread out through atmospheric and ocean circulation. We will present 129I results of water samples collected weekly near Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego, CA for the past 3 years. We also have several measurements collected a year apart from Kaohsiung, Taiwan, which represent west margin of Pacific Ocean, and from Alaska, Washington, and Oregon. By establishing 129I time series, we can observe the spread of 129I in the surface waters of the Pacific Ocean that resulted from the accidental releases.