Current contamination by 137Cs and 90Sr of the inhabited part of the Techa river basin in the Urals

Shutov, V.N.; Travnikova, I.G.; Bruk, G.Ya; Golikov, V.Y.; Balonov, M.I.; Howard, B.J; Brown, J.; Strand, P.; Kravtsova, E.M.; Gavrilov, A.P.; Kravtsova, O.S.; Mubasarov, A.A.. 2002 Current contamination by 137Cs and 90Sr of the inhabited part of the Techa river basin in the Urals. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 61 (1). 91-109.

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Previous discharges of radioactivity from the Mayak Production Association plant in the Urals have resulted in considerable radionuclide contamination of the Techa River, and consequent high radiation doses during the late 1940s and 1950s to residents of villages along the Techa river. The most contaminated villages close to the site were evacuated in the period 1954–1962. The objective of this recent study was to conduct a preliminary assessment of the current radioactive contamination of soil, vegetation and foodstuffs in the two remaining villages closest to the Mayak site, Muslyumovo and Brodokalmak. The highest contamination levels in soil were found in the floodplain at 5.5 MBq m−2 for 137Cs and 1.0 MBq m−2 for 90Sr. Radionuclide contamination in soil of the villages was much lower, but exceeded that expected from global fallout. Data from 1207 measurements of 137Cs in milk and 1180 for 90Sr in milk for the period 1992–1999 were collated. There was no change with time in the 90Sr or 137Cs activity concentration in milk over the measured period. There were significantly higher 137Cs activity concentrations in milk sampled during the housed winter period in Muslyumovo compared with the grazing summer period, but compared to that for Brodokalmak or for either settlement for 90Sr. The highest measured activity concentrations in food products of 137Cs and 90Sr were found in river fish, waterfowl, poultry and milk. The measured activity concentrations of 137Cs and 90Sr in some animal products were higher than that expected from soil and vegetation from fields and pasture in the villages (not including the floodplain) confirming that the highly contaminated floodplains are contributing to contamination of some animal products.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Other
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: _ Environmental Chemistry & Pollution
ISSN: 0265-931X
Additional Keywords: radioecology, Mayak, radiocaesium, radiostrontium, food products, floodplain, Techa river
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 01 May 2012 11:30 +0 (UTC)

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