Predicting transfers of 137Cs in terrestrial and aquatic environments: A whole-ecosystem approach

Smith, J.T.; Cross, M.A.; Wright, S.M.. 2002 Predicting transfers of 137Cs in terrestrial and aquatic environments: A whole-ecosystem approach. Radioprotection - Colloques, 37 (C1). 37-42.

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lt is well known that during the years after a nuclear accident the bioavailability and environmental mobility of radionuclides may change significantly, resulting in significant changes in contamination of foodstuffs and surface waters. Studies on l 3 7Cs and, to a lesser extent, Sr, have quantified these changes in some ecosystems. However, variability in temporal changes of these radionuclides in aquatic and terrestrial systems is not yet well quantified. Estimation of such variability is a key component of any predictive model for long-term transfers of radionuclides in the environment. We have analysed measurements (from both weapons testing and Chernobyl deposits) of 1 3 ,Cs in runoff waters and in aquatic and terrestrial foodstuffs in order to determine temporal changes in their bioavailability and mobility. Using these empirical data, and the results of parallel modelling studies of vertical migration of radiocaesium in soils, we have quantified the relative importance of transport processes of l 3 7Cs, as compared to slow changes in its chemical availability in the soil. On the basis of these results, we have developed simple models for predicting time changes in activity concentrations of l 3 7Cs in surface water, foodstuffs and the human body during the years to decades after radioactive fallout. Importantly, we also determine uncertainties in model parameter estimates, and highlight the potential causes of this uncertainty.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Other
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: _ Environmental Chemistry & Pollution
ISSN: 0033-8451
Additional Keywords: radioecology
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 14 Feb 2013 14:47 +0 (UTC)

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