Ecosystem uptake and transfer of Sellafield-derived radiocarbon (14C) part 2: The West of Scotland

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Tierney, Kieran M. ; Muir, Graham K.P. ; Cook, Gordon T. ; MacKinnon, Gillian ; Howe, John A. ; Heymans, Johanna J. ; Hughes, David J. ; Xu, Sheng (2017)
  • Publisher: Elsevier BV
  • Journal: Marine Pollution Bulletin, volume 115, issue 1-2, pages 57-66 (issn: 0025-326X)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2016.11.014
  • Subject: Oceanography | Pollution | Aquatic Science
    mesheuropmc: fungi

Ecosystem uptake and transfer of Sellafield-derived radiocarbon (14C) were examined within the West of Scotland marine environment. The dissolved inorganic carbon component of seawater, enriched in 14C, is transported to the West of Scotland where it is transferred through the marine food web. Benthic and pelagic biota with variable life-spans living in the North Channel and Clyde Sea show comparable 14C activities. This suggests that mixing of 14C within the Irish Sea results in a relatively constant northwards dispersal of activity. Benthic species in the Firth of Lorn have similar 14C enrichments, demonstrating that Irish Sea residual water is the dominant source to this area. Measured 14C activities in biota show some similarity to western Irish Sea activities, indicating that dispersion to the West of Scotland is significant with respect to the fate of Sellafield 14C releases. Activities measured in commercially important species do not pose any significant radiological risk.
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