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Transfer of accidentally released radionuclides in agricultural systems


The POLYR aerosol simulated a condensed deposition, as it can be found in far-distance scenarios from a nuclear accidental source in a PWR reactor.

Different pathways in plant contamination (direct foliar absorption, root uptake, retranslocation) were quantified and evaluated. The TARRAS project succeeded in explaining which are some of the parameters that may be of paramount importance in the behaviour of radionuclides in the soil-plant system after a radioactive aerosol deposition. Factors such as interception, washout and foliar absorption have been observed to depend hardly on the type of culture due to the cuticles composition and the shape of the plants. Under this project three types of cultures have been contaminated and values for each of the previous parameters, as well as for the root uptake, have been derived.
This proposal is the continuation of the work that has been perfomed during 1990/91 with french, british and spanish counterparts under contract Bi7-046-TARRAS. Three main lines form the base of this project. In the first place the simulation of the deposition of an accidental aerosol release on soil and plants; the analysis of the processes that this event leads and the variability of them with the type of soil and/or crops, radionuclide speciation is included. Furthermore the influence of processing methods on radionuclide concentrations in food will be studied. Finally the project includes the research on specific cultures, productions and characteristic diets in the Mediterranean area.
In the aerosol transfer experiments it is proposed to use the POLYR generator in order to harmonize with the CEC-RESSAC program. Three aerosol contamination experiences will be carried out at the Cadarache laboratory containing Cs-134, Ag-110 m and Sr-85 as tracers. Two different soils will be used for the contamination of peas in several growth phases. The influence of plant growth and soil characteristics will be studied and also the behaviour of aerosols on the plant uptake, translocation and soil migration including soil and foliar radionuclides speciation.
The influence of food-processing treatements such as bleaching, canning and dehydration on the resulting final product will be studied in peas, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms and onions for nuclides of cesium, strontium, cobalt and potasium. It is intended also to study the influence of storage time and crop varieties, the removal of radionuclide deposits on mature leafy vegetables and the fate of radionuclides in by-products and wastes from food reprocessing. A specific study of baby-food processino will be also included.

Finally a study of the specific mediterranean diet and transfer factors will be carried out and compared With the generic values currently used.


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Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas
22,Avenida Complutense 22
28040 Madrid

Participants (2)

Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique (CEA)
Centre D'études De Cadarache Sere-ders
13108 Saint-paul-lez-durance
647,Marti I Franques, 1-11
08028 Barcelona