Accelerator Mass Spectrometry of 36Cl and 129I Analytical Aspects and Applications
Two long-lived halogen radionuclides (36Cl, T1/2 = 301 kyr, and 129I, T1/2 = 15.7 Myr) have been studied by means of Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) at the Uppsala Tandem Laboratory.
The 36Cl measurements in natural samples using a medium-sized tandem accelerator (~1 MeV/amu) have been considered. A gas-filled magnetic spectrometer (GFM) was proposed for the separation of 36Cl from its isobar, 36S. Semi-empirical Monte-Carlo ion optical calculations were conducted to define optimal conditions for separating 36Cl and 36S. A 180° GFM was constructed and installed at the dedicated AMS beam line.
129I has been measured in waters from the Arctic and North Atlantic Oceans. Most of the 129I currently present in the Earth's surface environment can be traced back to liquid and gaseous releases from the nuclear reprocessing facilities at Sellafield (UK) and La Hague (France). The anthropogenic 129I inventory in the central Arctic Ocean was found to increase proportionally to the integrated 129I releases from these reprocessing facilities. The interaction and origin of water masses in the region have been clearly distinguished with the help of 129I labeling. Predictions based on a compartment model calculation showed that the Atlantic Ocean and deep Arctic Ocean are the major sinks for the reprocessed 129I.
The variability in 129I concentration measured in seawater along a transect from the Baltic Sea to the North Atlantic suggests strong enrichment in the Skagerrak–Kattegat basin. The 129I inventory in the Baltic and Bothnian Seas is equal to ~0.3% of the total liquid releases from the reprocessing facilities.
A lake sediment core sampled in northeastern Ireland was analyzed for 129I to study the history of the Sellafield releases, in particular the nuclear accident of 1957. High 129I concentration was observed corresponding to 1990 and later, while no indication of the accident was found.
The results of this thesis research clearly demonstrate the uniqueness and future potential of
129I as a tracer of processes in both marine and continental archives.
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