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Oracle bone script developed into a sophisticated writing system in Shang Dynasty of China more than 3000 years ago. The systematic scientific dating of oracle bones had not been previously reported. Here we present radiocarbon (14C) dates measured from the sequential samples of oracle bones that pertain to the Shang kings. The results indicate that King Wu Ding (who is called Wu Ting in some literature) reigned during 1254 BC to 1197 BC, and the Shang Dynasty terminated around 1041 BC. It also points that the Li group in the sequence of oracle bones is most probably related to the time of King Wu Ding and Zu Geng.
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.
A simple way to upgrade the Peking University 500kV NEC radiocarbon facility (CAMS) for 10Be measurements is presented. In a first phase, a silicon nitride foil as passive boron degrader was mounted in front of the electrostatic deflector near the focal plane of 10Be. The Si detector at the end of the beam line was replaced with a high-resolution ΔE-Eres gas ionization chamber. In addition, a Faraday cup for the measurement of 9Be1+ was installed. Tests with this arrangement showed promising results: a 10Be/9Be background level of 3.4 × 10–14 and an overall transmission for 10Be of 2.2% were obtained. Measurements of standards showed very good stability and reproducibility. In the next step, it is planned to add a second magnet to reduce the background and to partly compensate losses due to energy and angular straggling in the degrader foil by the energy and angular refocusing effect of a magnetic sector field. With this final arrangement, a performance with 10Be/9Be background levels at 10−15 and 10Be overall transmission of 6–7% can be expected. The design proposed in this paper has the advantage that the modifications can be realized in a rather inexpensive way and that the measurement performance for 14C will not be affected.
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