Iodine isotopes (129I and 127I) in the hydrosphere of Qinghai-Tibet region and South China Sea

Peng Yi, Xuegao Chen, Zixia Wang, Ala Aldahan, Xiaolin Hou*, Zhongbo Yu

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    The radioactive isotope 129I, with a half-life of 1.57 × 107 years, is widely used as a tracer to assess nuclear safety, to track environmental and geological events and to figure out the details of the stable iodine geochemical cycle. This work investigated the 129I and 127I  distribution in water samples collected from the terrestrial (rivers, lakes and springs) and marine water systems (estuary and sea) in China. The measured 129I concentrations of (1–51) × 106 atoms/L and 129I/127I ratios of (0.03–21) × 10−10 shows the variability of 129I level in the water systems. The local permafrost and seasonal frozen environment play a key role in groundwater recharge in the Qinghai-Tibet region, which is reflected in the 129I distribution in surface water. The depth distribution of 129I  in the water column of the South China Sea reflects the effluence of different currents. The results also indicate that the hydrosphere of China contains one to three orders of magnitude less 129I compared to those reported in Europe. Despite the large distance, the European nuclear fuel reprocessing facilities represent the major source of 129I in the hydrosphere of China through atmospheric transport. The contribution of the Fukushima nuclear accident to 129I levels in the hydrosphere of China was negligible.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Environmental Radioactivity
    Volume192
    Pages (from-to)86-94
    Number of pages9
    ISSN0265-931X
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Keywords

    • China Sea
    • Hydrosphere
    • Iodine-129
    • Permafrost
    • Tibet

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