Quantitative assessment of dissolved radiotracers in the English Channel: Sources, average impact of la Hague reprocessing plant and conservative behaviour (1983, 1986, 1988, 1994)

Abstract : Knowledge of long-term movements of water-masses in the English Channel has been substantially improved using hydrodynamic modelling coupled with radio-tracers studies; nevertheless, the precision of results so obtained is still largely dependent on measurement precision. New tools are now available to make more accurate determinations of radio-tracer distribution: (1) Repositioning of station locations at the same tide reference-time, giving a homogeneous spatial data set, coupled with the possibility of interpolating and quantifying the amounts of dissolved radioactivity #owing through the English Channel; (2) the "rst measurements of tritium (H) in seawater on a large scale in the English Channel demonstrate that this fully conservative radionuclide is a clearly identi"able marker of industrial releases; (3) recent campaigns carried out during the FLUXMANCHE II CCE (1994) programme show the general distribution of dissolved radionuclides Cs, Cs, Co, Sb, Ru and H in the English Channel and the Irish Sea; and (4) the re-utilisation of data from previous campaigns (1983, 1986, 1988) provides indications, at any given location in the English Channel, about the average dilution and distribution of releases derived from the La Hague reprocessing plant. Excesses and losses of radionuclides are now quanti"ed with respect to known source terms; estimates of losses are provided for non-conservative radionuclides, while an excess of Cs was observed in the English Channel during the period 1983}1994. This excess, which has the same order of magnitude as the quantities released from La Hague plant in the English (P. Bailly du Bois) 0278-4343/99/$-see front matter 1999 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved. PII: S 0 2 7 8-4 3 4 3 (9 9) 0 0 0 4 9-7 Channel, could be explained by about 1% of the Sella"eld reprocessing plant releases entering the Channel. These results con"rm and give a more detailed picture of the previously known distribution of water masses in the English Channel. They lead to clear information about transit times and dilution at this scale, and provide directly comparable data for the validation of hydrodynamic models.
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P. Bailly Du Bois, P. Guéguéniat. Quantitative assessment of dissolved radiotracers in the English Channel: Sources, average impact of la Hague reprocessing plant and conservative behaviour (1983, 1986, 1988, 1994). Continental Shelf Research, Elsevier, 1999, 19 (15-16), pp.1977 - 2002. ⟨10.1016/S0278-4343(99)00049-7⟩. ⟨hal-02433310⟩

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