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A new approach to predicting environmental transfer of radionuclides to wildlife: a demonstration for freshwater fish and caesium

Beresford, N.A.; Yankovich, T.L.; Wood, M.D.; Fesenko, S.; Andersson, P.; Muikku, M.; Willey, N.J.. 2013 A new approach to predicting environmental transfer of radionuclides to wildlife: a demonstration for freshwater fish and caesium. Science of the Total Environment, 463-464. 284-292. 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.06.013

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Abstract/Summary

The application of the concentration ratio (CR) to predict radionuclide activity concentrations in wildlife from those in soil or water has become the widely accepted approach for environmental assessments. Recently both the ICRP and IAEA have produced compilations of CR values for application in environmental assessment. However, the CR approach has many limitations, most notably, that the transfer of most radionuclides is largely determined by site-specific factors (e.g. water or soil chemistry). Furthermore, there are few, if any, CR values for many radionuclide-organism combinations. In this paper, we propose an alternative approach and, as an example, demonstrate and test this for caesium and freshwater fish. Using a Residual Maximum Likelihood (REML) mixed-model regression we analysed a dataset comprising 597 entries for 53 freshwater fish species from 67 sites. The REML analysis generated a mean value for each species on a common scale after REML adjustment taking account of the effect of the inter-site variation. Using an independent dataset, we subsequently test the hypothesis that the REML model outputs can be used to predict radionuclide, in this case radiocaesium, activity concentrations in unknown species from the results of a species which has been sampled at a specific site. The outputs of the REML analysis accurately predicted 137Cs activity concentrations in different species of fish from 27 Finnish lakes; these data had not been used in our initial analyses. We recommend that this alternative approach be further investigated for other radionuclides and ecosystems.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.06.013
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biogeochemistry > BGC Topic 3 - Managing Threats to Environment and Health > BGC - 3.1 - Develop temporally and spatially explicit risk assessment tools ...
CEH Sections: Shore
ISSN: 0048-9697
Additional Keywords: radioecology, concentration ratio, residual maximum likelihood model, caesium, freshwater fish
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Related URLs:
Date made live: 14 Aug 2013 15:48 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/502789

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