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Volume 14, issue 4 | Copyright
Ocean Sci., 14, 813-826, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-14-813-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 24 Aug 2018

Research article | 24 Aug 2018

Transport of FNPP1-derived radiocaesium from subtropical mode water in the western North Pacific Ocean to the Sea of Japan

Yayoi Inomata1, Michio Aoyama2, Yasunori Hamajima1, and Masatoshi Yamada3 Yayoi Inomata et al.
  • 1Institute of Nature and Environmental Technology, Kanazawa University, Kanazawa, 920-1156, Japan
  • 2Institute of Environmental Radioactivity, Fukushima University, Fukushima, 960-1296, Japan
  • 3Institute of Radiation Emergency Medicine, Hirosaki University, Hirosaki, 036-8564, Japan

Abstract. This study investigated the spatio-temporal variations in activity concentrations in the Sea of Japan (SOJ) of 137Cs and these transport process from the North Pacific Ocean to the SOJ through the East China Sea (ECS) during 2012–2016. The 137Cs activity concentrations in the SOJ have been increasing since 2012–2013 and reached a maximum in 2015–2016 of approximately 3.4Bqm−3, more than twice the pre-Fukushima accident 137Cs activity concentration of  ∼ 1.5Bqm−3. The 134Cs137Cs activity ratios ranged from 0.36 to 0.51 in 2016. After taking into account radioactive decay and ocean mixing, we concluded that these 134Cs137Cs activity ratios were evidence that the Fukushima accident caused the increase in the 137Cs activity concentrations. In the North Pacific south of Japan (NPSJ), the highest 137Cs activities in 2012–2013 were observed in water from a depth of 300m, the potential water density anomaly (σθ) of which corresponded to subtropical mode water (STMW). In the ECS, a clear increase in the 137Cs activity concentration started at a depth of 140m (σθ = 25.2kgm−3) in April 2013, propagated to the surface layers at depths of roughly 0–50m, reached a maximum in 2015 and decreased in subsequent years. In the ECS, the Fukushima-derived radiocaesium activity concentration in surface water reached a maximum in 2014–2015, whereas the concentration in the SOJ reached a maximum in 2015–2016. The propagation of Fukushima-derived radiocaesium in surface seawater from the ECS into the SOJ therefore required approximately 1 year. These temporal changes in 137Cs activity concentrations and 134Cs137Cs activity ratios indicated that part of the 137Cs and 134Cs derived from the Fukushima accident (FNPP1-derived 137Cs and134Cs) was transported within several years to the ECS and then to the SOJ via STMW from the NPSJ. The integrated amount of FNPP1-derived 137Cs that entered the SOJ before 2016 was estimated to be 0.21±0.01PBq, 5.0% of the estimated total amount of FNPP1-derived 137Cs in the STMW. The integrated amount of FNPP1-derived 137Cs that returned to the North Pacific Ocean through the Tsugaru Strait was estimated to be 0.09±0.01Bq, 43% of the total amount of FNPP1-derived 137Cs transported to the SOJ and 2.1% of the estimated total amount of FNPP1-derived 137Cs in the STMW.

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Analysing increased 137Cs and 134Cs / 137Cs ratio derived from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident in the Sea of Japan and its marginal sea, we found a rapid transport process associated with subduction in the subtropical mode water (STMW) formation region and obduction in the north East China Sea. The integrated amount of FNPP1 137Cs entering the Sea of Japan until 2016 was estimated to be 0.21 ± 0.03 PBq, which corresponds to 5.1 (3.4–8.0) % of the total amount of FNPP1 137Cs in the STMW.
Analysing increased 137Cs and 134Cs / 137Cs ratio derived from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant...
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