Dynamic modelling of radionuclide uptake by marine biota - application to the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident

    Research outputpeer-review


    The dynamic model D-DAT was developed to study the dynamics of radionuclide uptake and turnover in biota and sediments in the immediate aftermath of the Fukushima accident. This dynamics is determined by the interplay between the residence time of radionuclides in seawater/sediments and the biological half-lives of elimination in the biota. The model calculates time-variable activity concentration of 131I, 134Cs, 137Cs and 90Sr in seabed sediment, fish, crustaceans, molluscs and macroalgae from surrounding activity concentrations in seawater, with which to derive internal and external dose rates.A central element of the model is the inclusion of dynamic transfer of radionuclides to/from sediments by factorising depletion of radionuclides adsorbed onto suspended particulates, molecular diffusion, pore water mixing and bioturbation, represented by a simple set of differential equations coupled with the biological uptake/turnover processes. In this way, the model is capable of reproducing activity concentration in sediment more realistically.The model was applied to the assessment of the radiological impact of the Fukushima accident on marine biota in the acute phase of the accident. Sediment and biota activity concentrations are within the wide range of actual monitoring data. Activity concentrations in marine biota are thus shown to be better calculated by a dynamic model than with the simpler equilibrium approach based on concentration factors, which tends to overestimate for the acute accident period. Modelled dose rates from external exposure from sediment are also significantly below equilibrium predictions. The model calculations confirm previous studies showing that radioactivity levels in marine biota have generally been below the levels necessary to cause a measurable effect on populations. The model was used in mass-balance mode to calculate total integrated releases of 103, 30 and 3 PBq for 131I, 137Cs and 90Sr, reasonably in line with previous estimates.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)502-511
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of environmental radioactivity
    StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016

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