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The IAEA and Japan review groundwater issues in the vicinity of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

A technical meeting with experts from Japan and the IAEA reviewed the impact of the accident in the wake of March 2011 earthquake and tsunami on surface and groundwater systems in the vicinity of TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Approximately 400 m3 of groundwater is estimated to be flowing into the main buildings each day. To prevent contaminated water outflow to the sea, TEPCO plans to install impermeable walls with a soil freezing method under the ground. In the off-site areas, people living in the vicinity of Fukushima are concerned about the safety of groundwater, well water and other freshwater. The national and local governments are conducting extensive monitoring of different water sources.

The objective of the meeting held at the IAEA Headquarters, Vienna, on 8 – 10 September 2014, was to discuss the nature of groundwater and surface water contamination at the Fukushima NPP and vicinity, and to share the experiences, particularly in terms of countermeasures and communication with stakeholders, at other areas, such as Chernobyl, Ukraine, Sellafield, UK, and Hanford and Brookhaven, USA. The meeting was in line with the Action Plan on Nuclear Safety, unanimously endorsed by the IAEA's Member States in September 2011, which defines a programme of work to strengthen the global nuclear safety framework.

Follow-up actions are being planned and would include an expert mission focusing on issues related to the calibration and validation of the groundwater model used for designing and monitoring countermeasures for controlling the flow of contaminated groundwater. A summary report of the meeting is available here and presentations made by the participants are available here

2015 Isotope Hydrology Symposium (11-15 May 2015)

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has convened quadrennial symposia on isotope hydrology since 1963. For more than 50 years, these symposia have provided a unique opportunity to review the state-of-the-science, practical applications, and research trends and needs in isotope hydrology, leading to its recognition as a discipline in its own right within the science of hydrology. Isotope hydrology contributes to a better understanding of the water cycle and has applications in water resources assessment and management, the study of past and future changes in the Earth's climate as well as of climate impacts on the water cycle, and in forensic areas such as ecological, wildlife and food source traceability.

The objectives of the 2015 symposium are to: (a) review and revisit the foundational principles of isotope hydrology in the light of the current state of knowledge; (b) review recent developments in analytical instrumentation and applications of isotopes in water and climate studies; and (c) identify research, analytical and training requirements for a wider use of isotope hydrology.

For registration and obtaining assistance to attend the 2015 Isotope Hydrology Meeting, registration forms can be downloaded here

For presenting a paper at the symposium, online abstract submission templates and guidelines are found here

Isotope Hydrology

Books and Publications

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IAEA-Tecdoc No. 1723

The IAEA Technical documents summarizing results of Coordinated Research Projects and technical cooperation projects involving the use of isotope techniques in hydrology.

Find all technical document publications in PDF.

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Proceedings from conferences on isotope hydrology, water resources, and environmental change — including oral and poster presentations — dating back to 1963.
Find all symposium
publications in PDF.

STI/PUB/1580(ISBN:978-92-0-135610-9)529 pp.
205 figures;90.00 Euro;

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Handbooks in isotope hydrology and specialized publications on concrete hydrological applications of isotope techniques dating from the 1970s until today.

Find all monograph publications in PDF.

Morocco Atlas

Atlas of Isotope Hydrology

The sustainablity of groundwater resources for drinking water supplies, agriculture, and industry is a prime concern in countries dominated by arid and semi-arid climates such as Morocco. Full text

STI/PUB/1480, 2010, ISBN 978-92-0-111010-7,


Atlas of Isotope Hydrology
The Americas

It was completed in 2009, and it focuses on about
19 000 isotope records from 150 projects in 23 IAEA Member States in the Americas where environmental isotopes were used to assess water resources between 1968 and 2008. Full text

STI/PUB/1423, 2009, ISBN 978-92-0-110009-2,
English. 110.00 Euro.

Asia and the Pacific

Atlas of Isotope Hydrology
Asia and the Pacific

It was released in 2008, and focuses on about 105 projects in 16 Member States carried out between 1973 and 2007, and includes maps, statistics and data plots created from nearly 16 000 isotope records. Full text

STI/PUB/1364, 2008, ISBN 978-92-0-111008-4,
English. 110.00 Euro.


Atlas of Isotope Hydrology

It was the first atlas made, and was released in 2007. It involved the gathering of nearly 10 500 isotope records from about 80 IAEA projects in 26 African countries from 1973 to 2007. Groundwater provides nearly 2/3 of drinking water on the continent. Full text

STI/PUB/1302, 2007, ISBN 978-92-0-107207-8,
English. 110.00 Euro.

Water Environment News

Water & Environment News

The Isotope Hydrology newsletter - produced twice a year- contains the latest information as well as project insights. The hard copy is for distribution to individuals and institutions in IAEA Member States free of charge upon request, subject to availability.

All of the published issues of the newsletter are available here on-line in PDF format.

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Global Network of Isotope in Precipitation

This joint IAEA/WMO programme – monitoring isotopes in precipitation for the past 50 years – provides information for hydrological and other applications.

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Climate Change and the Atom

Developing the right response to climate change requires that we understand the science behind it. Isotopes in marine sediments, ice cores and other paleoclimatic archives can help reconstruct the
world´s climate history, including impact on the hydrological cycle.

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Water Resources Programme Leaflet

This Leaflet explains ‘Solutions Through Science’ and how this motto is applied by the Water Resources Programme.

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Water Resources Programme Brochure

The IAEA has been a pioneer in developing isotope hydrology as a powerful and effective scientific approach. Find out how the programme supports Member States in water resources management.

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Responsible/Contact: Isotope Hydrology Section | Last update: 08 December 2014