Plutonium in estuarine sediments and the associated interstitial waters

Livens, F.R.; Horrill, A.D.; Singleton, D.L.. 1994 Plutonium in estuarine sediments and the associated interstitial waters. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 38 (5). 479-489.

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Nine pairs (three different depths in each of three different zones) of porous-cup solution samplers have been installed in a saltmarsh in west Cumbria, U.K. The sediments of this marsh are well known to contain elevated levels of transuranium elements (up to 16 000 Bq kg-1239,240 Pu) and it has been used for many years and by many workers as a site for the study of the geochemistry of the transuranium elements. Over a period of approximately 18 months, nine sets of porewater samples were collected. Sediment core samples were also collected from each zone of the marsh. The stable element compositions of the solution phase are generally as expected in an estuarine system, simply reflecting mixing of sea- and freshwaters. The 239,240Pu concentrations in the upper and middle zones of the marsh are low, usually between 2 and 20 mBq l-1, and with mean values of about 5 mBq l-1, whilst those from the seaward zone of the marsh are approximately a factor of 6 higher, probably reflecting a much greater addition of seawater. The Kd values for 239,240Pu in the sediments lie between 104 and 106, comparable to the values found by other workers near this site. Nevertheless, there are considerable fluctuations in Kd over time, and also substantial variations in Kd with depth in the sediment profile, and it may be that the assumption of chemical equilibrium underlying the use of Kd values is not valid in this system.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Other
CEH Sections/Science Areas: Shore
ISSN: 0272-7714
Additional Keywords: radioecology, plutonium, intertidal sediments, interstitial waters, Esk Estuary
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 27 Feb 2013 09:58 +0 (UTC)

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