, Volume 275, Issue 1, pp 37-42

Vertical distributions of 239+240Pu activity and 240Pu/239Pu atom ratio in sediment core of Lake Chenghai, SW China

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Abstract

Due to the different 240Pu/239Pu atom ratios from different sources of Pu in the environment, Pu isotopes have been widely used for source identification of radionuclides in sediments. In this work, using sector-field ICP-MS, we investigated Pu inventory and its isotopic composition in a lacustrine sediment core collected in Chenghai Lake, SW China. The 240Pu/239Pu atom ratios in this sediment core ranged from 0.166 to 0.271 with a mean of 0.195±0.021, which was slightly higher than that of global fallout. The 239+240Pu/137Cs activity ratios ranged from 0.0155 to 0.0411, with a mean of 0.0215, and the 239+240Pu inventory was 35.4 MBq/km2; both 239+240Pu/137Cs activity ratio and Pu inventory were close to those values of global fallout at 20–30 °N. Three peaks were observed for both 137Cs and 239+240Pu activities in the examined sediment core; they most probably indicated the maximum deposition of global fallout between 1963 and 1964, the fallout from a series of Chinese nuclear tests during the 1970s, and the deposition of resuspended Pu-bearing particles from the Chernobyl accident. Therefore, the vertical profile of Pu isotopes should provide useful time markers for rapid dating of recent sediments.

These authors contributed equally to this work.