Sellafield-Derived Anthropogenic 14C in the Marine Intertidal Environment of the NE Irish Sea
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CitationCook, G. T., MacKenzie, A. B., Muir, G. K. P., Mackie, G., & Gulliver, P. (2004). Sellafield-derived anthropogenic 14C in the marine intertidal environment of the NE Irish Sea. Radiocarbon, 46(2), 877-883.
DescriptionFrom the 18th International Radiocarbon Conference held in Wellington, New Zealand, September 1-5, 2003.
AbstractThe intertidal biota from Parton beach, close to the Sellafield nuclear fuel reprocessing plant, were all found to be enriched in radiocarbon relative to ambient background. The degree of enrichment appears to reflect the positions of the biota in the food chain once the dilution in seaweed from atmospheric uptake is taken into account. Close to the low-water mark, the order was mussels > limpets > anemones congruent to winkles > seaweed. The same order was observed close to the high-water mark, except that anemones were absent from this area. The activities in the biogeochemical fractions of the water column reflect the fact that discharges are primarily in the form of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), which is subsequently transferred to the particulate organic carbon (POC) and, to a lesser extent, the dissolved organic carbon (DOC), and finally, the particulate inorganic carbon (PIC). Analysis of intertidal sediment suggests that there is likely to be a gradual increase in the specific activity of 14C in the inorganic component of this material as Sellafield contaminated organisms die and their shells are ground down by natural processes.