Source dynamics of radiocesium-contaminated particulate matter deposited in an agricultural water reservoir after the Fukushima nuclear accident
The Science of the total environment | 13 Sep 2017
S Huon, S Hayashi, JP Laceby, H Tsuji, Y Onda and O Evrard
The Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan resulted in the deposition of radiocesium over forested and rural landscapes northwest of the power plant. Although there have been several investigations into the dynamics of contaminated river sediment, less attention has been paid to the sources of deposited particulate matter in dams and reservoirs. In the Fukushima Prefecture, there are 10 significant dams and over a 1000 reservoirs for both agricultural and surface water management. These reservoirs may have trapped a significant volume of radiocesium-contaminated sediment. Therefore, characterizing the sources of contaminated particulate matter is important for the ongoing management of contamination in the region. Accordingly, the composition of particulate matter deposited in the Mano Dam reservoir, approximately 40km northwest of the power plant, was investigated with the analyses and modelling of carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios (δ(13)C and δ(15)N), total organic carbon (TOC) and total nitrogen (TN) concentrations. Four sediment cores, with lengths ranging 29-41cm, were sampled in the Mano Dam. Source samples from 46 forest soils, 28 cultivated soils and 25 subsoils were used to determine the source contributions of particulate matter. Carbon and nitrogen parameters were analyzed on all samples and a concentration-dependent distribution modelling approach was used to apportion source contributions. Three of the four cores sampled in the Mano Dam reservoir had distinct radiocesium peaks representative of the initial post-accident wash-off phase. Cultivated sources were responsible for 48±7% of the deposited fine particulate matter whereas forests were modelled to contribute 27±6% and subsoil sources 25±4%. Ongoing decontamination of cultivated sources in the Fukushima region should result in a decrease of contaminated matter deposition in reservoirs.
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