Activity Disequilibrium between 234U and 238U Isotopes in Southern Baltic

Research paper by Bogdan Skwarzec, Alicja Boryło, Dagmara I. Strumińska

Indexed on: 01 Nov '04Published on: 01 Nov '04Published in: Water, air, and soil pollution


The aim of the work was to determine the concentration of 234U and 238U and calculate the values of the 234U/238U activity ratio in samples of living organisms, bottom water, surface and interstitial water and also sediments from the various regions of southern Baltic Sea. The knowledge of 234U/238U activity ratio in ecosystem allows getting know about the mechanisms and processes of uranium transport and origin.The activities of the analyzed uranium radionuclides in samples were measured using alpha spectrometry. The results of researches revealed diversified concentrations of uranium in the sediments of the southern Baltic Sea (sea and coastal waters) and increase of uranium with sediment depth, suggesting the diffusion of uranium from sediments to water through interstitial water and diagenesis processes in sediment material. The nuclides of uranium 234U and 238U were radioactive state equilibrium in most of the sediments. The values of the 234U/238U activity ratio oscillate around one. In bottom, surface, interstitial water and living organisms mean values of the 234U/238U activity ratio are between 1.12 and 1.15. Higher uranium concentration was observed in samples of sediments and seawater after flood in 1997 and torrential rainfalls in 2000–2001. River waters are characterized by higher 234U/238U activity ratio. The values of the 234U/238U activity ratio equal 1.27 in sediments and 1.34–1.38 in seawater indicate the influence of fresh waters.