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Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 118, Issue 3–4, pp 339–356 | Cite as

Artificial radionuclides in waters of the lower section of the river Ebro (Northeast Spain)

  • Joan A. Sanchez-Cabeza
  • Lluís Pujol
  • Joan Merino
  • Joan M. Bruach
  • Jaume Molero
Article

Abstract

The river Ebro, in Northeast Spain,discharges into the Mediterranean Sea after flowingthrough several large cities and agricultural, miningand industrial areas. The Ascó nuclear power plant(NPP) is located in the lower river section andcomprises two pressurised-water reactor (PWR) units,from which low-level liquid radioactive waste isreleased to river waters under authority control.During the period 1989 to 1993, we carried out 29sampling campaigns in order to determine 3H,90Sr, 134Cs, 137Cs, 238Pu and239,240Pu in Ebro river waters at differentlocations, both upstream and downstream from theAscó NPP. 3H, 134Cs and 137Csactivities showed large variability as they rangedfrom <1.4 to 117±3 Bq L-1, <0.27 to22±1 mBq L-1 and <0.36 to 35±1mBq L-1, respectively. This behaviour, especiallyremarkable for tritium, was due to the detection oftank releases travelling downstream. Thecharacteristic NPP 134Cs/137Cs ratio wasfound to be 0.61±0.02 (N = 22). In the estuarinearea, 137Cs traces from Mediterranean waters wereobserved and relatively enhanced tritium activitiesmight possibly be present due to the accumulation ofactivity in the estuary. 90Sr and 239,240Puactivities were homogeneous both in respect to timeand space, showing mean activities 6.9±0.2 mBq L-1 (N = 10) and 1.36±0.10 mBq m-3 (N = 3), respectively. These levels couldonly be attributed to nuclear weapons fallout leachedby continental waters, as the impact from the plantappears to be negligible and no other sources arepresent in the area.

390Sr 137Cs 239,240Pu Ebro river fresh water radionuclide discharges 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joan A. Sanchez-Cabeza
    • 1
  • Lluís Pujol
    • 1
  • Joan Merino
    • 1
  • Joan M. Bruach
    • 1
  • Jaume Molero
    • 1
  1. 1.Departament de FísicaUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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