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Sci Total Environ. 2010 Oct 1;408(21):5052-64. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2010.07.015. Epub 2010 Aug 7.

Anthropogenic 129I in the atmosphere: overview over major sources, transport processes and deposition pattern.

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Physics Department E15, TU München, D-85748 Garching, Germany.


Wet and, to a lesser extent, dry deposition of atmospheric (129)I are known to represent the dominating processes responsible for (129)I in continental environmental samples that are remote from (129)I sources and not directly influenced by any liquid (129)I release of nuclear installations. Up to now, however, little is known about the major emitters and the related global deposition pattern of (129)I. In this work an overview over major sources of (129)I is given, and hitherto unknown time-dependent releases from these were estimated. Total gaseous (129)I releases from the US and former Soviet reprocessing facilities Hanford, Savannah River, Mayak, Seversk and Zheleznogorsk were found to have been 0.53, 0.27, 1.05, 0.23 and 0.14TBq, respectively. These facilities were thus identified as major airborne (129)I emitters. The global deposition pattern due to the (129)I released, depending on geographic latitude and longitude, and on time was studied using a box model describing the global atmospheric transport and deposition of (129)I. The model predictions are compared to (129)I concentrations measured by means of Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) in water samples that were collected from various lakes in Asia, Africa, America and New Zealand, and to published values. As a result, both pattern and temporal evolution of (129)I deposition values measured in and calculated for different types of environmental samples are, in general, in good agreement. This supports our estimate on atmospheric (129)I releases and the considered substantial transport and deposition mechanisms in our model calculations.

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