Long-term transfer of global fallout 137Cs to cow’s milk in Iceland

Pálsson, S.E.; Howard, B.J.; Gudnason, K.; Sigurgeirsson, M.A.. 2012 Long-term transfer of global fallout 137Cs to cow’s milk in Iceland. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 184 (12). 7221-7234.

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The aim of this study was to provide improved information on the long-term transfer of global nuclear weapons 137 Cs fallout to cow’s milk in Iceland many years after deposition. The spatial variation in deposition was confirmed to be explained by precipitation. Soil samples showed a significant difference in 137 Cs deposition density between the main agricultural areas, with the South having the highest values, then the West and North and the lowest in the Northeast. There was no significant difference between the effective halflives in 137 Cs activity concentrations in milk and milk powder from the main dairies in Iceland based on data for milk from 1990 to 2007 and for milk powder from 1986 to 2007. There was, however, a significant difference between the effective half-lives obtained for these two regions, 13.5 years for the Northern and 10.5 years for the Southern regions. These half-lives for global fallout are longer than those previously reported for similar time periods in other Arctic areas. The transfer of 137 Cs to cow’s milk was quantified for different agricultural regions using aggregated transfer coefficients (Tag) for the period of peak global fallout soil inventory in 1965– 1967. The values ranged from 2.8×10−3to 10.6×10−m2kg−1. By 2001–2004, the Tag values had only declined, in the main agricultural areas, to 0.6×10−3–1.0×10−3m2kg−1. Long-term transfer rates to milk many years after deposition were high in Iceland compared with most other reported data. The transfer is potentially relevant for some of the contaminated areas around the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant after the accident in March 2011 since limited information is available on uptake from Andosols and associated effective half-lives.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biogeochemistry > BGC Topic 2 - Biogeochemistry and Climate System Processes > BGC - 2.1 - Quantify & model processes that control the emission, fate and bioavailability of pollutants
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Shore
ISSN: 0167-6369
Additional Keywords: radioecology, global fallout, Cs-137, cow’s milk, half-life, Iceland
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 24 Jul 2012 11:29 +0 (UTC)

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