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Processes affecting long-term change in $$^{137}$$Cs abundance in seabed sediment off Fukushima

Otosaka, Shigeyoshi  ; Kobayashi, Takuya 

The $$^{137}$$Cs abundance in surface sediment in the coast off Fukushima decreased at the rate of about 30%/year. In this study, we assessed the three processes, (1) vertical mixing of sediment, (2) offshore transport of $$^{137}$$Cs bound particles, and (3) desorption of $$^{137}$$Cs from sediment, that may affect the decrease in the $$^{137}$$Cs abundance. The process (1) was assessed by applying time-series data of vertical distribution of sedimentary $$^{137}$$Cs into a pulse input sediment mixing model. The model estimated up to 70% of $$^{137}$$Cs in the coastal sediment was efficiently transported to the lower sedimentary layers in the first 5 years after accident. In conclusion, we consider that the primary process decreasing the $$^{137}$$Cs abundance in surface sediment is vertical mixing of sediment due to bioturbation or storm events.

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