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Radiocarbon Impact on a Nearby Tree of a Light-Water VVER-Type Nuclear Power Plant, Paks, Hungary

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 February 2016

R Janovics*
Institute for Nuclear Research of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Z Kern
Climate and Environmental Physics, Physics Institute, University of Bern and Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, Bern, Switzerland Institute for Geology and Geochemistry, MTA Research Center for Astronomy and Earth Sciences, Budapest, Hungary
D Güttler
Laboratory of Ion Beam Physics, ETH Zürich, Switzerland
L Wacker
Laboratory of Ion Beam Physics, ETH Zürich, Switzerland
I Barnabás
Public Limited Company for Radioactive Waste Management, Hungary
M Molnár
Institute for Nuclear Research of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences
2Corresponding author. Email:


Tree-ring series were collected for radiocarbon analyses from the vicinity of Paks nuclear power plant (NPP) and a background area (Dunaföldvár) for a 10-yr period (2000–2009). Samples of holocellulose were prepared from the wood and converted to graphite for accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) 14C measurement using the MICADAS at ETH Zürich. The 14C concentration data from these tree rings was compared to the background tree rings for each year. The global decreasing trend of atmospheric 14C activity concentration was observed in the annual tree rings both in the background area and in the area of the NPP. As an average of the past 10 yr, the excess 14C emitted by the pressurized-water reactor (PWR) NPP to the atmosphere shows only a slight systematic excess (∼6′) 14C in the annual rings. The highest 14C excess was 13′ (in 2006); however, years with the same 14C level as the background were quite frequent in the tree-ring series.

Copyright © 2013 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona 

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