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Optimization of sampling for the temporal monitoring of Technetium-99 in the Arctic marine environment

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Dowdall, M. , Gerland, S. , Karcher, M. , Gwynn, J. P. , Rudjord, A. L. and Kolstad, A. K. (2005): Optimization of sampling for the temporal monitoring of Technetium-99 in the Arctic marine environment , Journal of environmental radioactivity, Vol 84/1 pp., pp. 111-130 . doi: 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2005.04.010
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Monitoring of the marine environment for radioactivity, for both radiological protection and for oceanographic purposes, remains an expensive and labour intensive activity due to the large sample volumes needed and the complex and lengthy analytical procedures required to measure low levels of contamination. Because of this, some consideration must be given to the design of sampling plans to ensure effective and efficient sampling that can be defended on the basis of scientific rationale. This article tests the hypothesis that geostatistical techniques may prove of use in the optimisation and design of sampling regimes for the monitoring of temporal fluctuations in the levels of technetium at a location in the Norwegian Arctic marine environment. The level of temporal correlation exhibited by two relevant time series was investigated and the information used to observe the effect of sampling frequency on the production of monthly estimates of activity of technetium in both seawater and seaweed. The results indicate that reduced sampling frequency allows production of estimates that acceptably replicate the actual data and that use of geostatistical procedures may offer advantages in the planning of monitoring systems for marine radioactivity. The use of an oceanographic model was also investigated as a means of assessing the temporal correlation prior to actual sampling, an approach that may offer significant advantages by reducing the need to have lengthy time series prior to designing sampling regimes.

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