Simulated inventory and distribution of 137Cs released from multiple sources in the global ocean

Mar Pollut Bull. 2023 Dec:197:115663. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2023.115663. Epub 2023 Oct 26.


Radioactive cesium (137Cs) is distributed in the world's oceans as a result of global fallout from atmospheric nuclear weapons tests, releases from fuel reprocessing plants, and inputs from nuclear power plant accident. In order to detect future radionuclide contamination, it is necessary to establish a baseline global distribution of radionuclides such as 137Cs and to understand the ocean transport processes that lead to that distribution. In order to aid in the interpretation of the observed database, we have conducted a suite of simulations of the distribution of 137Cs using a global ocean general circulation model (OGCM). Simulated 137Cs radioactivity concentrations agree well with observations, and the results were used to estimate the changes in inventories for each ocean basin. 137Cs activity concentration from atmospheric nuclear weapons tests are expected to be detectable in the world ocean until at least 2030.

Keywords: (137)Cs; Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station accident; Global fallout; Ocean general circulation model; Reprocessing plants.

MeSH terms

  • Cesium Radioisotopes / analysis
  • Fukushima Nuclear Accident*
  • Japan
  • Oceans and Seas
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Radiation Monitoring*
  • Water Pollutants, Radioactive* / analysis


  • Water Pollutants, Radioactive
  • Cesium-137
  • Cesium Radioisotopes