Spatial variations of tritium concentrations in groundwater collected in the southern coastal region of Fukushima, Japan, after the nuclear accident

Sci Rep. 2017 Oct 3;7(1):12578. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-12840-3.


Spatial variations in tritium concentrations in groundwater were identified in the southern part of the coastal region in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. Higher tritium concentrations were measured at wells near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (F1NPS). Mean tritium concentrations in precipitation in the 5 weeks after the F1NPS accident were estimated to be 433 and 139 TU at a distance of 25 and 50 km, respectively, from the F1NPS. The elevations of tritium concentrations in groundwater were calculated using a simple mixing model of the precipitation and groundwater. By assuming that these precipitation was mixed into groundwater with a background tritium concentration in a hypothetical well, concentrations of 13 and 7 TU at distances of 25 and 50 km from the F1NPS, respectively, were obtained. The calculated concentrations are consistent with those measured at the studied wells. Therefore, the spatial variation in tritium concentrations in groundwater was probably caused by precipitation with high tritium concentrations as a result of the F1NPS accident. However, the highest estimated tritium concentrations in precipitation for the study site were much lower than the WHO limits for drinking water, and the concentrations decreased to almost background level at the wells by mixing with groundwater.

MeSH terms

  • Cesium Radioisotopes / chemistry
  • Cesium Radioisotopes / isolation & purification*
  • Cesium Radioisotopes / toxicity
  • Drinking Water / chemistry
  • Fukushima Nuclear Accident
  • Groundwater / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Radiation Monitoring*
  • Tritium / chemistry
  • Tritium / isolation & purification*
  • Tritium / toxicity
  • Water Pollutants, Radioactive / chemistry
  • Water Pollutants, Radioactive / isolation & purification*
  • Water Pollutants, Radioactive / toxicity


  • Cesium Radioisotopes
  • Drinking Water
  • Water Pollutants, Radioactive
  • Tritium