Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-2pzkn Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-28T01:51:50.971Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Seasonal 14C and Sr/Ca Records of a Modern Coral around Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plants

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 May 2017

Ning Wang
State Key Laboratory of Isotope Geochemistry, Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 510640 Guangzhou, China
Chengde Shen*
State Key Laboratory of Isotope Geochemistry, Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 510640 Guangzhou, China State Key Laboratory of Nuclear Physics and Technology, Peking University, 100871 Beijing, China
Weidong Sun
Key Laboratory of Mineralogy and Metallogeny, Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 510640 Guangzhou, China
Weixi Yi
State Key Laboratory of Isotope Geochemistry, Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 510640 Guangzhou, China
Ping Ding
State Key Laboratory of Isotope Geochemistry, Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 510640 Guangzhou, China
Xingfang Ding
State Key Laboratory of Nuclear Physics and Technology, Peking University, 100871 Beijing, China
Dongpo Fu
State Key Laboratory of Nuclear Physics and Technology, Peking University, 100871 Beijing, China
Kexin Liu
State Key Laboratory of Nuclear Physics and Technology, Peking University, 100871 Beijing, China
*Corresponding author. Email:


Due to an increasing number of nuclear reactors in operation, the radiocarbon (14C) released from nuclear power plants (NPPs) has become an important anthropogenic source of 14C. The examination of seasonal Δ14C and monthly Sr/Ca, Mg/Ca variations in a coral in Daya Bay (China) shows that NPPs located there have an impact on the Δ14C level and sea surface temperature (SST). The Mg/Ca variation was in good correlation with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) before the operation of Ling’ao NPP in 2002, but this correlation became weak due to an abnormally higher SST after 2002. As illustrated by the Δ14C variation in the coral, there were two relative increases of Δ14C values in 1994 and 2002 when Daya Bay NPP and Ling’ao NPP began operations, respectively. The 14C released from NPPs, instead of oceanic circulation, is probably the primary factor on the Δ14C variation in Daya Bay during the NPPs’ operation. The relative increase in Δ14C value was ~80‰, which equals to ~18 Bq/kgC in specific activity. The seasonal variability in Δ14C value usually peaked in summer, the real reason of which was unknown. This study sheds light on how the NPPs influence the 14C content and SST in surrounding marine environment.

Studies of Calibration, Environment, and Soils
© 2017 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Selected Papers from the 2015 Radiocarbon Conference, Dakar, Senegal, 16–20 November 2015



Bagnato, S, Linsley, BK, Howe, SS, Wellington, GM, Salinger, J. 2004. Evaluating the use of the massive coral Diploastrea heliopora for paleoclimate reconstruction. Paleoceanography 19(1).Google Scholar
Beck, JW, Edwards, RL, Ito, E, Taylor, FW, Recy, J, Rougerie, F, Joannot, P, Henin, C. 1992. Sea-surface temperature from coral skeletal strontium calcium ratios. Science 257(5070):644647.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Chen, TR, Yu, KF, Li, S, Price, GJ, Shi, Q, Wei, GJ. 2010. Heavy metal pollution recorded in Porites corals from Daya Bay, northern South China Sea. Marine Environmental Research 70(3–4):318326.Google Scholar
Chen, TR, Yu, KF, Li, S, Chen, TG, Shi, Q. 2011a. Anomalous Ba/Ca signals associated with low temperature stresses in Porites corals from Daya Bay, northern South China Sea. Journal of Environmental Sciences 23(9):14521459.Google Scholar
Chen, TR, Yu, KF, Shi, Q, Chen, TG, Wang, R. 2011b. Effect of global warming and thermal effluents on calcification of the Porites coral in Daya Bay, northern South China Sea. Journal of Tropical Oceanography 30(2):19.Google Scholar
Chen, TR, Yu, KF, Chen, TG. 2013. Sr/Ca-sea surface temperature calibration in the coral Porites lutea from subtropical northern South China Sea. Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology 392:98104.Google Scholar
Chudy, M, Povinec, P. 1982. Radiocarbon production in a CO2 and coolant of nuclear reactor. Acta Facultatis Rerum Naturalium Universitatis Comenianae, Physica (22):127134.Google Scholar
Davis, WJ. 1977. Carbon-14 production in nuclear reactors. ORNL/NUREG/TM-12; TRN: 77-009585 United States10.2172/7114972TRN: 77-009585Thu Mar 24 09:11:07 EDT 2011Dep. NTISORNL; ERA-02-037614; EDB-77-088384.Google Scholar
Deng, WF, Liu, Y, Wei, GJ, Li, XH, Tu, XL, Xie, LH, Zhang, H, Sun, WD. 2010. High-precision analysis of Sr/Ca and Mg/Ca ratios in corals by laser ablation inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry. Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry 25(1):8487.Google Scholar
Druffel, ERM, Griffin, S, Hwang, J, Komada, T, Beaupre, SR, Druffel-Rodriguez, KC, Santos, GM, Southon, J. 2004. Variability of monthly radiocarbon during the 1760s in corals from the Galapagos Islands. Radiocarbon 46(2):627631.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Druffel, ERM, Griffin, S, Beaupre, SR, Dunbar, RB. 2007. Oceanic climate and circulation changes during the past four centuries from radiocarbon in corals. Geophysical Research Letters 34(9).Google Scholar
Druffel, ERM, Griffin, S, Glynn, DS, Dunbar, RB, Mucciarone, DA, Toggweiler, JR. 2014. Seasonal radiocarbon and oxygen isotopes in a Galapagos coral: calibration with climate indices. Geophysical Research Letters 41(14):50995105.Google Scholar
GB 6249-1986. 1986. Regulations for Environmental Radiation Protection of Nuclear Power Plant, National Standard of the People’s Republic of China. Beijing: China Standards Publishing House.Google Scholar
GB 6249-2011. 2011. Regulations for Environmental Radiation Protection of Nuclear Power Plant (GB 6249-2011), National Standard of the People’s Republic of China. Beijing: China Standards Publishing House.Google Scholar
Groenendijk, P, Sass-Klaassen, U, Bongers, F, Zuidema, PA. 2014. Potential of tree-ring analysis in a wet tropical forest: a case study on 22 commercial tree species in central Africa. Forest Ecology and Management 323:6578.Google Scholar
Grottoli, AG, Gille, ST, Druffel, ERM, Dunbar, RB. 2003. Decadal timescale shift in the 14C record of a central equatorial Pacific coral. Radiocarbon 45(1):9199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Grumet, NS, Guilderson, TP, Dunbar, RB. 2002. Pre-bomb radiocarbon variability inferred from a Kenyan coral record. Radiocarbon 44(2):581590.Google Scholar
Guilderson, TP, Schrag, DP, Cane, MA. 2004. Surface water mixing in the Solomon Sea as documented by a high-resolution coral 14C record. Journal of Climate 17(5):11471156.2.0.CO;2>CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Guilderson, TP, Cole, JE, Southon, JR. 2005. Pre-bomb Δ14C variability and the suess effect in Cariaco Basin surface waters as recorded in hermatypic corals. Radiocarbon 47(1):5765.Google Scholar
Hertelendi, E, Uchrin, G, Ormai, P. 1989. 14C Release in various chemical forms with gaseous effluents from the Paks nuclear power plant. Radiocarbon 31(3):754761.Google Scholar
IAEA. 2004. Management of waste containing tritium and carbon-14. In: IAEA Technical Reports Series No. 421. Vienna: International Atomic Energy Agency. 109 p.Google Scholar
Ji, CY, Zhang, DG. 2004. Results and analysis of environmental radiation monitoring at GNPS (1994~2003). Radiation Protection 24(3–4):173190.Google Scholar
Jing, ZY, Qi, YQ, Hua, ZL, Zhang, H. 2009. Numerical study on the summer upwelling system in the northern continental shelf of the South China Sea. Continental Shelf Research 29(2):467478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Levin, I, Hesshaimer, V. 2000. Radiocarbon – a unique tracer of global carbon cycle dynamics. Radiocarbon 42(1):6980.Google Scholar
Levin, I, Kromer, B. 2004. The tropospheric CO2-14C level in mid-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere (1959–2003). Radiocarbon 46(3):12611272.Google Scholar
Levin, I, Kromer, B, Barabas, M, Munnich, KO. 1988. Environmental distribution and long-term dispersion of reactor CO2 -14C around 2 German nuclear-power plants. Health Physics 54(2):149156.Google Scholar
Liu, KX, Ding, XF, Fu, DP, Pan, Y, Wu, XH, Guo, ZY, Zhou, LP. 2007. A new compact AMS system at Peking University. Nuclear Instruments & Methods in Physics Research B 259(1):2326.Google Scholar
Loosli, HH, Oeschger, H. 1989. 14C in the environment of Swiss nuclear installations. Radiocarbon 31(3):747753.Google Scholar
Magnusson, A, Stenstrom, K, Aronsson, PO. 2008. 14C in spent ion-exchange resins and process water from nuclear reactors: a method for quantitative determination of organic and inorganic fractions. Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry 275(2):261273.Google Scholar
Mantua, NJ, Hare, SR, Zhang, Y, Wallace, JM, Francis, RC. 1997. A Pacific interdecadal climate oscillation with impacts on salmon production. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 78(6):10691079.Google Scholar
McCartney, M, Baxter, MS, McKay, K, Scott, EM. 1986. Global and local-effects of 14C discharges from the nuclear-fuel cycle. Radiocarbon 28(2A):634643.Google Scholar
Milton, GM, Kramer, SJ, Brown, RM, Repta, CJW, King, KJ, Rao, RR. 1995. Radiocarbon dispersion around Canadian nuclear facilities. Radiocarbon 37(2):485496.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mitsuguchi, T, Matsumoto, E, Abe, O, Uchida, T, Isdale, PJ. 1996. Mg/Ca thermometry in coral-skeletons. Science 274(5289):961963.Google Scholar
Mitsuguchi, T, Uchida, T, Matsumoto, E, Isdale, PJ, Kawana, T. 2001. Variations in Mg/Ca, Na/Ca, and Sr/Ca ratios of coral skeletons with chemical treatments: implications for carbonate geochemistry. Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta 65(17):28652874.Google Scholar
Mitsuguchi, T, Kitagawa, H, Matsumoto, E, Shibata, Y, Yoneda, M, Kobayashi, T, Uchida, T, Ahagon, N. 2004. High-resolution 14C analyses of annually banded coral skeletons from Ishigaki Island, Japan: implications for oceanography. Nuclear Instruments & Methods in Physics Research 223:455459.Google Scholar
Molnar, M, Szanto, Z, Svingor, E, Palcsu, L, Futo, I. 2002. Measurement of beta-emitters in the air around the Paks NPP, Hungary. In: International Conference on Applications of High Precision Atomic and Nuclear Methods, HIPAN 2002 Book of Abstracts. Romania: Horia Hulubei National Institute for Physics and Nuclear Engineering. p 67.Google Scholar
Morton, B, Blackmore, G. 2001. South China Sea. Marine Pollution Bulletin 42(12):12361263.Google Scholar
Nydal, R, Lovseth, K. 1983. Tracing bomb 14C in the atmosphere 1962–1980. Journal of Geophysical Research–Oceans and Atmospheres 88(Nc6):36213642.Google Scholar
Pazdur, A, Nakamura, T, Pawelczyk, S, Pawlyta, J, Piotrowska, N, Rakowski, A, Sensula, B, Szczepanek, M. 2007. Carbon isotopes in tree rings: climate and the Suess Effect interferences in the last 400 years. Radiocarbon 49(2):775788.Google Scholar
Pieroni, N, Kang, KS, International Atomic Energy Agency. 2008. Restarting delayed nuclear power plant projects. In: IAEA Nuclear Energy Series. Vienna: International Atomic Energy Agency. 141 p.Google Scholar
Povinec, PP, Chudy, M, Sivo, A, Simon, J, Holy, K, Richtarikova, M. 2009. Forty years of atmospheric radiocarbon monitoring around Bohunice nuclear power plant, Slovakia. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity 100(2):125130.Google Scholar
Roussel-Debet, S, Gontier, G, Siclet, F, Fournier, M. 2006. Distribution of carbon-14 in the terrestrial environment close to French nuclear power plants. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity 87(3):246259.Google Scholar
Schrag, DP. 1999. Rapid analysis of high-precision Sr/Ca ratios in corals and other marine carbonates. Paleoceanography 14(2):97102.Google Scholar
Southon, J, Kashgarian, M, Fontugne, M, Metivier, B, Yim, WWS. 2002. Marine reservoir corrections for the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia. Radiocarbon 44(1):167180.Google Scholar
Stenstrom, K, Skog, G, Thornberg, C, Erlandsson, B, Hellborg, R, Mattsson, S, Persson, P. 1998. 14C levels in the vicinity of two Swedish nuclear power plants and at two “clean-air” sites in southernmost Sweden. Radiocarbon 40(1):433438.Google Scholar
Stuiver, M, Braziunas, TF, Becker, B, Kromer, B. 1991. Climatic, solar, oceanic, and geomagnetic influences on Late-Glacial and Holocene atmospheric 14C /12C change. Quaternary Research 35(1):124.Google Scholar
Stuiver, M, Polach, HA. 1977. Discussion: reporting of 14C data. Radiocarbon 19(3):355363.Google Scholar
Suess, HE. 1955. Radiocarbon concentration in modern wood. Science 122(3166):415417.Google Scholar
Svetlik, I, Tomaskova, L, Molnar, M, Svingor, E, Futo, I, Pinter, T, Rulik, P, Michalek, V. 2006. Monitoring of atmospheric 14CO2 in Central European countries. Czechoslovak Journal of Physics 56:D291D297.Google Scholar
Toggweiler, JR, Dixon, K, Broecker, WS. 1991. The Peru Upwelling and the ventilation of the South-Pacific thermocline. Journal of Geophysical Research–Oceans 96(C11):2046720497.Google Scholar
Uchrin, G, Csaba, E, Hertelendi, E, Ormai, P, Barnabas, I. 1992. 14C Release from a Soviet-designed pressurized water-reactor nuclear-power plant. Health Physics 63(6):651655.Google Scholar
Uchrin, G, Hertelendi, E, Volent, G, Slavik, O, Moravek, J, Koba, I, Vokal, B. 1998. 14C measurements at PWR-type nuclear power plants in three Middle European countries. Radiocarbon 40(1):439446.Google Scholar
Usoskin, IG, Mursula, K, Solanki, S, Schussler, M, Alanko, K. 2004. Reconstruction of solar activity for the last millennium using 10Be data. Astronomy & Astrophysics 413(2):745751.Google Scholar
Vaitkeviciene, V, Mazeika, J, Skuratovic, Z, Motiejunas, S, Vaidotas, A, Orysaka, A, Ovcinikov, S. 2013. 14C in radioactive waste for decommissioning of the Ignalina nuclear power plant. Radiocarbon 55(2–3):783790.Google Scholar
Vincze, A, Ranga, T, Nagy, G, Zsille, O, Solymosi, J. 2009. Environmental impact assessment of radioactive water pipe leakage at NPP Paks. Periodica Polytechnica-Chemical Engineering 53(2):8791.Google Scholar
Wang, YS, Wang, ZD, Huang, LM. 2004. Environment changes and trends in Daya Bay in recent 20 years. Journal of Tropical Oceanography 23(5):8595.Google Scholar
Wang, ZT, Hu, D, Xu, H, Guo, QJ. 2014. 14C distribution in atmospheric and aquatic environments around Qinshan nuclear power plant, China. Radiocarbon 56(3):11071114.Google Scholar
Wang, ZT, Xiang, YY, Guo, QJ. 2012. 14C levels in tree rings located near Qinshan nuclear power plant, China. Radiocarbon 54(2):195202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wei, GJ, Yu, KF, Zhao, JX. 2004. Sea surface temperature variations recorded on coralline Sr/Ca ratios during Mid-Late Holocene in Leizhou Peninsula. Chinese Science Bulletin 49(17):18761881.Google Scholar
Wei, GJ, Deng, WF, Yu, KF, Li, XH, Sun, WD, Zhao, JX. 2007. Sea surface temperature records in the northern South China Sea from mid-Holocene coral Sr/Ca ratios. Paleoceanography 22(3).Google Scholar
Worbes, M. 2002. One hundred years of tree-ring research in the tropics – a brief history and an outlook to future challenges. Dendrochronologia 20(1):217231.Google Scholar
Xu, XM, Trumbore, SE, Zheng, SH, Southon, JR, McDuffee, KE, Luttgen, M, Liu, JC. 2007. Modifying a sealed tube zinc reduction method for preparation of AMS graphite targets: Reducing background and attaining high precision. Nuclear Instruments & Methods in Physics Research B 259(1):320329.Google Scholar
Yang, DJ, Chen, XQ, Li, B. 2012. Tritium release during nuclear power operation in China. Journal of Radiological Protection 32(2):167173.Google Scholar
Yim, MS, Caron, F. 2006. Life cycle and management of carbon-14 from nuclear power generation. Progress in Nuclear Energy 48(1):236.Google Scholar