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Distribution and Source Identification of Pu in River Basins in Southern China

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posted on 18.12.2019, 09:29 by Ruirui Wang, Yao Fu, Ling Lei, Gang Li, Zhiyong Liu
The 239+240Pu activities and 240Pu/239Pu atom ratios in surface sediments from the major river basins in southern China were analyzed to investigate the distribution and source of Pu. We clarified that the 239+240Pu activities in these river basins were very similar, however, only the 239+240Pu activities in the Jinjiang Basin were generally higher than other samples. Because of river transport function, the distribution of 239+240Pu activities in these river basins presented an increasing trend from the upstream region to the estuary. According to the 240Pu/239Pu atom ratios, the Pu source in the inner river basins might be from global fallout, and the Pu in river estuaries might be from the global fallout and the Pacific Proving Grounds (PPG) in the Marshall Islands. Using a mass balance of the Pu model, we quantified in the Pearl River Estuary and the Pu contribution from the Pearl River Basin to Pu inventory was 13 ± 5%. These data not only filled in a knowledge gap of Pu in these river basins but also served as background data for Pu contamination from a nuclear reactor. Also, there are several planned and operating nuclear power plants in these river basins and these data could provide some indications for dealing with nuclear accidents in different parts of river basins in the future. In this study, we also analyzed some factors that would affect the distribution of 239+240Pu activities; however, only total organic carbon (TOC) content and the heavy metal As had a positive correlation with the 239+240Pu activity.

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