Comparison of the MARINA II dispersion model with CSERAM for estimating concentrations of radionuclides in UK waters

Kamaljit Sihra*, Antony Bexon, John Aldridge

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


A strategy was agreed in 1998 by the OSPAR Commission to achieve, by 2020, near zero concentrations of anthropogenic pollutants and near to background levels for pollutants that also occur naturally. One of the uses of the MARINA II model was to test the feasibility of this strategy, given inherited activity concentrations. The model has been validated extensively within the OSPAR region using spatial measurements of nine radionuclides, including 99Tc, 137Cs and 239/240Pu, over the period 1990-2000. Typically the model is found to agree with measurements to within a factor of three, with a marginal spatial bias towards underestimating activity concentrations. In this study, future estimates of activity concentration were tested in a comparison to CSERAM, a high-resolution, physically based model of the Irish Sea, for Sellafield discharges of 137Cs and 239/240Pu. Both models show good agreement to the year 2000, although differences of up to an order of magnitude can be observed close to the discharging source by 2020. Typically both models agree to within a factor of five elsewhere by 2020. This study illustrates that MARINA II is a computationally inexpensive but effective tool for calculations of activity concentration in radiation protection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-192
Number of pages10
JournalRadioactivity in the Environment
Issue numberC
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work was funded by the Food Standards Agency, as part of a wider study, under contract RO1049.


  • Marine modelling
  • Model comparison


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