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Mechanism governing the behaviour and transport of transuranic (analogues) and other radionuclides in marine ecosystems

Objective


The project addressed a number of diverse marine environments where radionuclides have become concentrated and where they pose potential problems in environmental protection. This diversity proved to be important, for by studying the behaviour of particular radioelements under distinctly different conditions, we were more easily able to identify a number of the key parameters which regulate their migration in the hydrosphere.

Some of the more obvious benefits and deliverables which have accrued from this project include (a) a very significant improvement in our understanding of the processes governing radionuclide behaviour in marine ecosystems, (b) a concomitant improvement in the scientific foundation of those aspects of Radiation Protection that relate to source definition and pathway identification, (c) the training of young researchers who, in the future, will provide the Community with continuity of expertise in this important field, (d) the direct dissemination of practical expertise amongst the participants via collaborative interaction in both the laboratory and the field, and (e) the broader dissemination of results and data to the international community through the significant number of quality research publications and reports which have arisen directly from the project.
THE OBJECTIVE OF THIS PROGRAMME IS TO DEFINE THE FUNDAMENTAL PARAMETERS GOVERNING THE TRANSPORT AND BEHAVIOUR OF TRANSURANIC AND OTHER RADIONUCLIDES IN THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT. THIS PROGRAMME SEEKS TO PROVIDE DATA OF A UNIVERSAL CHARACTER, SUITABLE FOR USE IN REAL, PREDICTIVE MODELS BASED ON ACTUAL MECHANISMS, RATHER THAN ON THE EARLIER AND INADEQUATE BOX MODEL APPROACH. THE PROPOSAL ADDRESSES A NUMBER OF DIVERSE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION. THE STUDIES PROPOSED SHOULD PROVIDE VALUABLE INFORMATION WHICH CAN BE UTILIZED IN THE ASSESSMENT OF HUMAN EXPOSURE. THE CHEMICAL FORM OF A RADIONUCLIDE IS AN IMPORTANT ASPECT WHICH MUST BE UNDERSTOOD FOR THE PURPOSES OF OPTIMIZATION OF RADIATION PROTECTION. IT IS FOR THIS REASON THAT THE SPECIA TION OF TRANSURANICS AND OTHER RADIONUCLIDES MUST BE DETERMINED. IN THE PRESENT PROPOSAL A SIGNIFICANT BIOLOGICAL COMPONENT IS PROVIDED WHICH SHOULD ENABLE A PRELIMINARY EVALUATION TO BE MADE OF THE EFFECT ORGANIC COMPOUNDS AND COMPLEXES HAVE ON FOOD-CHAIN CONCENTRATION PROCESSES. THE PROGRAMME OF WORK WILL INCLUDE BOTH FIELD- AND LABORATORY- BASED STUDIES IN THE NORTH-WEST EUROPEAN SEAS, THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA, BALTIC ESTUARIES AND A THULE IN GREENLAND. IN THE IRISH SEA, EMPHASIS WILL BE GIVEN TO THE CHARACTERIZATION OF THE SOURCE TERM AND CHANGES IN THE PHYSICO-CHEMICAL FORMS OF DISCHARGED OF NUCLIDES,DUE TO RADICAL MODIFICATIONS IN OPERATIONAL PROCEDURES. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF COOLOIDS, AND INORGANIC AND ORGANIC COMPLEXES, IN MODIFYING THE BEHAVIOUR OF THE RADIONUCLIDES STUDIES, WILL BE ASSESSED IN DETAIL. ULTRAFILTRATION TECHNIQUES WILL BE EMPLOYED TO DETERMINE THE DISTRIBUTION OF RADIONUCLIDES ON THE BASIS OF PARTICLE SIZE, WHILE ALUMINIUM OXIDE BEDS WILL PROVIDE A MEANS OF IDENTIFYING COLLOIDAL SPECIES ON THE BASIS OF SORPTIVE PROPERTIES. IN THE ENGLISH CHANNEL, THE SHORT- AND LONG-TERM BEHAVIOUR OF PU ISOTOPES BOUND TO VARIOUS SEDIMENT TYPES WILL BE INVESTIGATED IN TERMS OF SUSPENSION AND BOTTOM-DRIFTING, TRANSIT TIMES AND SINKS, IF ANY. THE BEHAVIOUR OF LONG-LIVED RADIONUCLIDES (PU-2390240 AND AM-241) IN THE INTERPHASE BETWEEN FRESH AND BRACKIST WATERS (SPIKED BY CHERNOBYL) WILL BE EXAMINED IN CERTAIN BALTIC ESTUARIES BY THE DRPLU-LUND. A NEW STUDY WILL BE CARRIED OUT BY RISO ON SEDIMENT AND BIOTA SAMPLES COLLECTED AT THULE IN 1991. THE DIFFERENTIAL BEHAVIOUR OF PU AND AM IN SEDIMENTS WILL BE EXAMINED AND EVIDENCE FOR REMOBILIZATION SOUGHT.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DUBLIN
Address
Stillorgan Road
4 Dublin
Ireland

Participants (7)

AUTONOMOUS UNIVERSITY OF BARCELONA
Spain
Address
Edificio B
08193 Bellaterra
Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas
Spain
Address
22,Avenida Complutense 22
28040 Madrid
Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique (CEA)
France
Address

50105 Cherbourg
ENEA - Ente per le Nuove Tecnologie, l'Energia e l'Ambiente
Italy
Address
201,Via Anguillarese
00060 Roma - Santa Maria Di Galeria
LUND UNIVERSITY
Sweden
Address
3,Lasarettet
221 00 Lund
MAFF Fisheries Laboratory
United Kingdom
Address

NR33 0HT Lowestoft
Risø National Laboratory
Denmark
Address

4000 Roskilde