Historical changes in 239Pu and 240Pu sources in sedimentary records in the East China Sea: Implications for provenance and transportation


Plutonium isotopes (239Pu and 240Pu), as important artificial nuclides, play a vital role in source identification and in determining transport processes of Pu-associated particulate matter and water. Wang et al (2017) analyzed the Pu distribution in the sediment of East China Sea (ECS) and found that the Pacific Proving Ground (PPG) input is the dominant source of Pu to the ECS. These PPG-derived 239+240Pu scavenged from the total 239+240Pu transported by the Kuroshio Current (KC) and 80% of them buried near the sediment of Changjiang Delta and Zhe-Min coast. Therefore, this study suggests that Pu is useful not only to obtain a better insight of the biogeochemistry influenced by the KC, but also to trace the long-range transport of other particle-reactive radionuclides such as 210Pb, 230Th, 231Pa, and other particle-reactive organic and inorganic species.
This study found that the inventory of Pu is useful to elucidate the erosion in Changjiang Estuary and sediment focusing in Zhe-Min coast. Considerable movement of 137Cs in marine sediments has been widely documented and hence, 239+240Pu can be used as a better chronostratigraphic time marker in marine environment.
Figure 3 The synthesis of 240Pu/239Pu atom ratios in the areas surrounding the ECS
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