Resumo em inglês Several hundreds of artificial radionuclides are produced as the result of human activities, such as the applications of nuclear reactors and particle accelerators, testing of nuclear weapons and nuclear accidents. Many of these radionuclides are short-lived and decay quickly after their production, but some of them are longer-lived and are released into the environment. From the radiological point of view the most important radionuclides are cesium-137, strontium-90 and (mais) plutonium-239, due to their chemical and nuclear characteristics. The two first radioisotopes present long half life (30 and 28 years), high fission yields and chemical behaviour similar to potassium and calcium, respectively. No stable element exists for plutonium-239, that presents high radiotoxicity, long half-life (24000 years) and some marine organisms accumulate plutonium at high levels. The radionuclides introduced into marine environment undergo various physical, chemical and biological processes taking place in the sea. These processes may be due to physical dispersion or complicated chemical and biological interactions of the radionuclides with inorganic and organic suspend matter, variety of living organisms, bottom sediments, etc. The behaviour of radionuclides in the sea depends primarily on their chemical properties, but it may also be influenced by properties of interacting matrices and other environmental factors. The major route of radiation exposure of man to artificial radionuclides occuring in the marine environment is through ingestion of radiologically contamined marine organisms. This paper summarizes the main sources of contamination in the marine environment and presents an overview covering the oceanic distribution of anthropogenic radionuclides in the FAO regions. A great number of measurements of artificial radionuclides have been carried out on various marine environmental samples in different oceans over the world, being cesium-137 the most widely measured radionuclide. Radionuclide concentrations vary from region to region, according to the specific sources of contamination. In some regions, such as the Irish Sea, the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea, the concentrations depend on the inputs due to discharges from reprocessing facilities and from Chernobyl accident. In Brazil, the artificial radioactivity is low and corresponds to typical deposition values due to fallout for the Southern Hemisphere.