Investigation of the technological enhancement of natural decay series radionuclides by the manufacture of phosphates on the Cumbrian coast

G E Keating, M McCartney, C M Davidson

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14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The aim of this study is to investigate the response of the aquatic environment following the cessation of discharges from a phosphate-ore processing plant, situated at Whitehaven, northwest England. A preliminary survey was carried out to determine Po-210, Pb-210 and U-238 activities in intertidal biota and sediment in the vicinity of the plant in November 1992. The maximum concentrations observed in the samples are all above the reported natural ranges and are clearly indicative of technological enhancement. The highest Po-210 (7749 +/- 201 Bq kg(-1) dry weight) and U-238 (390 +/- 12 Bq kg(-1) dry weight) activities were found in the sediment collected from Whitehaven Harbour, the sampling site closest to the outfall pipe. At all sites, with the exception of Whitehaven itself, Po-210 levels in mussels were greater than winkles, which, in turn, were greater than levels in sediments which exceeded the levels observed in seaweed. Uranium levels were found to be greatest in sediment, while the rest of the sample types exhibited similar levels of activity. Initial Pb-210 results show similar levels in mussels and winkles which suggests the uptake mechanism to be different than that of Po-210. Further surveys have since been carried out at approximately 4-5-month intervals and the temporal trends obtained suggest an overall decrease in radionuclide concentrations in all sample types. Copyright (C) 1996 Elsevier Science Ltd.

LanguageEnglish
Pages53-66
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Environmental Radioactivity
Volume32
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1996

Fingerprint

Bivalvia
Radioisotopes
Coastal zones
radionuclide
Sediments
Phosphates
phosphate
Weights and Measures
Seaweed
Biota
Uranium
coast
England
sediment
Outfalls
Ore treatment
seaweed
Ports and harbors
aquatic environment
biota

Keywords

  • aquatic environment
  • Cumbrian Coast
  • Uranium
  • sediment

Cite this

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title = "Investigation of the technological enhancement of natural decay series radionuclides by the manufacture of phosphates on the Cumbrian coast",
abstract = "The aim of this study is to investigate the response of the aquatic environment following the cessation of discharges from a phosphate-ore processing plant, situated at Whitehaven, northwest England. A preliminary survey was carried out to determine Po-210, Pb-210 and U-238 activities in intertidal biota and sediment in the vicinity of the plant in November 1992. The maximum concentrations observed in the samples are all above the reported natural ranges and are clearly indicative of technological enhancement. The highest Po-210 (7749 +/- 201 Bq kg(-1) dry weight) and U-238 (390 +/- 12 Bq kg(-1) dry weight) activities were found in the sediment collected from Whitehaven Harbour, the sampling site closest to the outfall pipe. At all sites, with the exception of Whitehaven itself, Po-210 levels in mussels were greater than winkles, which, in turn, were greater than levels in sediments which exceeded the levels observed in seaweed. Uranium levels were found to be greatest in sediment, while the rest of the sample types exhibited similar levels of activity. Initial Pb-210 results show similar levels in mussels and winkles which suggests the uptake mechanism to be different than that of Po-210. Further surveys have since been carried out at approximately 4-5-month intervals and the temporal trends obtained suggest an overall decrease in radionuclide concentrations in all sample types. Copyright (C) 1996 Elsevier Science Ltd.",
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AB - The aim of this study is to investigate the response of the aquatic environment following the cessation of discharges from a phosphate-ore processing plant, situated at Whitehaven, northwest England. A preliminary survey was carried out to determine Po-210, Pb-210 and U-238 activities in intertidal biota and sediment in the vicinity of the plant in November 1992. The maximum concentrations observed in the samples are all above the reported natural ranges and are clearly indicative of technological enhancement. The highest Po-210 (7749 +/- 201 Bq kg(-1) dry weight) and U-238 (390 +/- 12 Bq kg(-1) dry weight) activities were found in the sediment collected from Whitehaven Harbour, the sampling site closest to the outfall pipe. At all sites, with the exception of Whitehaven itself, Po-210 levels in mussels were greater than winkles, which, in turn, were greater than levels in sediments which exceeded the levels observed in seaweed. Uranium levels were found to be greatest in sediment, while the rest of the sample types exhibited similar levels of activity. Initial Pb-210 results show similar levels in mussels and winkles which suggests the uptake mechanism to be different than that of Po-210. Further surveys have since been carried out at approximately 4-5-month intervals and the temporal trends obtained suggest an overall decrease in radionuclide concentrations in all sample types. Copyright (C) 1996 Elsevier Science Ltd.

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