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The radionuclide cesium-137 ((137)Cs) is produced exclusively by anthropogenic processes and primarily by nuclear explosions. This study determined the reference inventory that is (137)Cs associated with the element's original input, and utilized the levels of activity of this radionuclide previously measured in five sediment profiles collected from Admiralty Bay, Antarctica, to investigate the mobility of this element in the environment. (137)Cs has a half-life of 30 years. Because of this, it is environmentally persistent and has been shown to accumulate in marine organisms. The mean reference inventory of this radionuclide in Admiralty Bay sediments, determined using high resolution gamma ray spectrometry, was 20.23±8.94 Bq m(-2), and within the ambient (137)Cs activity range. A model of (137)Cs diffusion-convection was applied to data collected from 1cm intervals in sediment cores with the aim of providing insights with respect to this element's behavior in sediments. Model results showed a significant correlation between measured and modeled values using the concentrations of (137)Cs, and estimated input into the system from the global fallout of past nuclear tests and expected values based on local sedimentation rates. Results highlight the importance of accounting for the vertical diffusion of (137)Cs in marine sediments when used as a tracer for environmental processes and for assessing potential bioavailability. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Paulo Alves de Lima Ferreira, Andreza Portella Ribeiro, Mylene Giseli do Nascimento, Cesar de Castro Martins, Michel Michaelovitch de Mahiques, Rosalinda Carmelo Montone, Rubens Cesar Lopes Figueira. 137Cs in marine sediments of Admiralty Bay, King George Island, Antarctica. The Science of the total environment. 2013 Jan 15;443:505-10

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PMID: 23220140

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