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Radioactive 129iodine (129I): A Way to Track Ocean Currents’ Movement

Scientists have recently done a study on Iodine-129 to measure its movement. Iodine-129 is a long- lived radioisotope of iodine which occurs naturally.

Through the research the scientists got to know that radioactive 129I has traveled three rounds of the globe. Radioactive 129I has traveled three times more of what it had traveled when released from nuclear fuel reprocessing plants. The first research had happened in the UK and France, stated the researchers.

The scientists stated that the iodine's 15,000 km journey begins in the nuclear plants at Sellafield and La Hague. This journey continues via the Arctic Ocean and then southward via the Grand Banks towards Bermuda. Moreover, Arctic Ocean is the place where Iodine-129 was found at very low concentrations about 20 years back. This detector has been used to provide the most complete, high-accuracy mapping of the oceanic currents. Additionally, this tracer transports CO2 and other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere to the abyssal depths of the deep North Atlantic Ocean. These results are being presented at the Goldschmidt geochemistry conference in Paris.

By: Priyanka Negi