SREL Reprint #1965





The Distribution of 137Cs in Sediments of the Littoral Zone of a Former Reactor Cooling Pond

J. E. Pinder III, J. W. Bowling, R. F. Lide & L. M. Beatty

Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Drawer E, Aiken, South Carolina 29801, USA


Previous studies in Pond B, a 12-m deep, 82-ha reservoir that once served as a reactor cooling pond, had (i) suggested the preferential accumulation of 137Cs in sediments at a water depth of 3m within the littoral zone and (ii) attributed this accumulation to the effects of either macrophyte vegetation or sediment slope. To test.for the preferential accumulation of 137Cs at intermediate depths within the littoral zone, sediment cores were taken at water depths of 0-5, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5m along 6 transacts in Pond B. The sediment structure was similar at all water depths in the littoral zone with a surface layer of 0.02-0-04 m of plant debris and fine sediments over a base of sandy sediments. The 137Cs was largely restricted to the surface layer of fine sediments, and there was no indication of preferential accumulation of fine sediments of 137Cs at water depths of 3m. There was no apparent relationship between sediment slope and 137Cs content. Although the 137Cs entered Pond B more than 20 years ago, its prevalence in the surface layers littoral zone sediments resembles the pattern observed for 134Cs deposited in European lakes from the recent Chernobyl accident.

SREL Reprint #1965

Pinder, J.E., III, J.W. Bowling, R.L. Lide, and L.M. Beatty. 1995. The distribution of 137Cs in sediments of the littoral zone of a former reactor cooling pond. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity 28:57-71.

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