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Detection and activity of iodine-131 in brown algae collected in the Japanese coastal areas

Morita, Takami*; Niwa, Kentaro*; Fujimoto, Ken*; Kasai, Hiromi*; Yamada, Haruya*; Nishiuchi, Ko*; Sakamoto, Tatsuya*; Godo, Waichiro*; Taino, Seiya*; Hayashi, Yoshihiro*; Takeno, Koji*; Nishigaki, Tomokazu*; Fujiwara, Kunihiro*; Aratake, Hisamichi*; Kamonoshita, Shingo*; Hashimoto, Hiroshi*; Kobayashi, Takuya ; Otosaka, Shigeyoshi ; Imanaka, Tetsuji*

Iodine-131 ($$^{131}$$I) was detected in brown algae collected off the Japanese coast. The maximum measured specific activity of $$^{131}$$I in brown algae was 0.37$$pm$$0.010 Bq/kg-wet. Cesium-137 ($$^{137}$$Cs) was also detected in all brown algal samples used in this study. There was no correlation between specific activities of $$^{131}$$I and $$^{137}$$Cs in these seaweeds. Low specific activity and minimal variability of $$^{137}$$Cs in brown algae indicated that past nuclear weapon tests were the source of $$^{137}$$Cs. Although nuclear power facilities are known to be pollution sources of $$^{131}$$I, there was no relationship between the sites where $$^{131}$$I was detected and the locations of nuclear power facilities. Most of the sites where $$^{131}$$I was detected were near big cities with large populations. On the basis of the results, we suggest that the likely pollution source of $$^{131}$$I, detected in brown seaweeds, is not nuclear power facilities, but nuclear medicine procedures.

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