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Environ Sci Technol. 2007 Sep 1;41(17):5993-9.

Speciation of 129I and 127I in seawater and implications for sources and transport pathways in the North Sea.

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Risø National Laboratory, NUK-202, Technical University of Denmark, DK-4000 Roskilde, Denmark.


Surface seawater samples collected from the North Sea and English Channel were analyzed for total 129I and 127I, as well as for iodide and iodate. Relatively high 129I concentrations (2-3 x 10(11) atoms/L) were observed in the northern part of the English Channel and in the southeastern North Sea. The atomic ratio of 129I/127I decreases from the eastern (1.0-1.9 x 10(-6)) to the western (4-6 x 10(-8)) parts of the North Sea and from the northeastern (1.5 x 10(-6)) to southwestern (1-5 x 10(-8)) parts of the English Channel. The ratios of iodide to iodate are 0.1-0.5 and 0.5-1.6 for 127I and 129I, respectively, in open seawaters, whereas these ratios range from 0.6 to 1.3 and 0.8 to 2.2, respectively, in coastal waters. The results suggest that (1) imprints of the La Hague facility dominates the 129I distribution in the surface water of the North Sea, (2) reduction of iodate to iodide is relatively fast during the transport to the European continental coast, (3) oxidation of newly produced 129I- to (129)IO3- is insignificant during water exchange between the coastal area and open sea, (4) reduction of iodate and oxidation of iodide in the open sea seems to be a slow process.

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