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Indian Ocean: Radionuclides

  1. Pavel P. Povinec

Published Online: 15 JUN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/0470862106.ia746

Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry

How to Cite

Povinec, P. P. 2010. Indian Ocean: Radionuclides. Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUN 2010


The distribution of global fallout radionuclides in Indian Ocean waters about four decades after their main injection from atmospheric nuclear weapons tests on the ocean surface is discussed. Recent data obtained in the framework of the WOMARS (Worldwide Marine Radioactivity Studies) and SHOTS (Southern Hemisphere Ocean Tracer Studies) projects are evaluated and compared with previous investigations carried out in the northern and southern Indian Ocean. The results indicate transport of surface waters labeled with radionuclides from the Mediterranean Sea, as well as from the Northwestern Pacific through the Indonesian Seas to the Indian Ocean. After passing the equator the waters circulate in the South Indian Ocean subtropical gyre, which accumulates radionuclide tracers and other contaminants on timescales of decades. This accumulation of contaminants in the Southern Indian Ocean is of environmental importance for the protection of the marine environment from land-based contamination sources.


  • global fallout;
  • anthropogenic radionuclides;
  • 3H, 14C, 90Sr;
  • 129I, 137Cs;
  • Pu isotopes;
  • 241Am;
  • Indian Ocean;
  • subtropical gyre;
  • seawater