Concentrations of iodine-129 in livestock, agricultural, and fishery products around spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Rokkasho, Japan, during and after its test operation

  • Yuhi Satoh
  • Hideki Kakiuchi
  • Shinji Ueda
  • Naofumi Akata
  • Shun’ichi Hisamatsu


Concentrations of iodine-129 (129I) and atomic ratios of 129I/127I in livestock (grass and milk), agricultural (cabbage, Japanese radish, and rice), and fishery (flatfish and brown alga) products collected from locations around the first Japanese commercial spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Rokkasho were measured from 2006 to 2016. The actual spent nuclear fuel rods were cut and processed to test the functioning of the plant that discharged controlled amounts of 129I to the atmosphere and coastal seawater during the period from 2006 to 2008 (the “cutting period”). Statistically significant increases in 129I concentration and 129I/127I ratio were observed during the cutting period in livestock products and flatfish. On the other hand, these parameters were statistically comparable during and after the cutting period in the other products. The radiation dose through the ingestion of the maximum 129I concentrations, measured in the different products, was estimated to be in the nanoSievert per year level. This value is much smaller than 1 mSv yr—1, which is the permissible authentic radiation dose for the general public. The 129I levels in the samples, especially in milk and flatfish, are discussed in context of the 129I discharge history from the plant.


Iodine-129 Foodstuff Spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant Livestock Agricultural and fishery products Accelerator mass spectrometry 



We wish to thank Dr. Yoshito Sato, researcher in Aomori Prefectural Experiment Station of Animal Husbandry, for some precious information related to the agricultural products around Rokkasho. This work was performed under contract with the Government of Aomori Prefecture, Japan.

Supplementary material

10661_2019_7211_MOESM1_ESM.docx (53 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 52 kb)
10661_2019_7211_MOESM2_ESM.docx (27 kb)
Fig. S1 Concentrations of 129I in the reference samples from the environment. Soil, IAEA-375; peach leaves, NIST1547; whole milk powder, NIST8435. Triplicate measurements were done in each year. Error bar represents the standard deviation (1σ). The averages were estimated from all the data obtained for each of the samples. No 129I concentration has been certified for these samples and there is no reference sample certified for the low-level 129I concentration. The overall means of the 129I concentrations in the soil, peach leaves, and whole milk powder samples were 1.6E−6, 2.1E−7, and 7.0E−9 Bq g−1 DW with coefficients of variations being 13%, 11%, and 28%, respectively. (DOCX 27 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yuhi Satoh
    • 1
  • Hideki Kakiuchi
    • 1
  • Shinji Ueda
    • 1
  • Naofumi Akata
    • 1
    • 2
  • Shun’ichi Hisamatsu
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of RadioecologyInstitute for Environmental SciencesAomoriJapan
  2. 2.National Institute for Fusion ScienceGifuJapan
  3. 3.Institute for Environmental SciencesAomoriJapan

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