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Anthropogenic Releases of Radiocarbon and its Concentration Burden in Environment


Abdul Ghaffar*, Zainab Hafeez and S. Maria Ali   Pages 1 - 10 ( 10 )


Objective: 14C concentrations in the air and vegetation samples around the nuclear research reactor were measured to assess its 14C burden on environment.

Method: Air samples were collected by converting CO2 into Na2CO3 by using a specified system. Leaf samples were carbonized method to convert organic carbon into inorganic carbonates. Samples were converted into carbamate through carbosorb systems with 74 % efficiency. The fractionation of 14C for each sample was corrected for and normalized to a 13C composition of -25‰ Pee Dee Belemnite.

Result: 14C concentrations in the air and vegetation samples around the nuclear research reactor were found to range from 158 to 406 Bq/Kg and 162 to 339 Bq/kgC, respectively. The highest concentrations of 14C were found in samples close to reactor and along the prevailing wind direction. The specific activities of the samples decreased with an increase in distance from the reactor and in the opposite to prevailing wind direction. In addition to the distance from reactor and wind direction, the local Suess effect was an additional factor affecting the 14C activities in air and vegetation samples. One can conclude that other than 14C emissions from nuclear reactor, local Suess effects and climatic factors (wind directions) dilute and disperse 14C concentrations in the atmosphere and consequently decrease its availability for uptake and accumulation by plants at 4-5 km aerial distance from the point of release in prevailing wind direction.


14C environmental releases, nuclear research reactor, 14C in air & vegetation, Carbosorb, LSC


Isotope Application Division, PINSTECH, International Islamic University, Islamabad, International Islamic University, Islamabad

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