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Experimental radionuclide deposits in soil crop systems

The experience following the Chernobyl accident in 1986 emphasized the need to improve the quantification of several processes and parameters in the transfer of radionuclides along the food chain. The use of reliable parameters and accurate descriptions od processes are esssential for preaccident accessment modelling and for the implementation of protective measures.

The objective of the project dealt with the following aspects: characterization of a synthetic radioactive aerosol which simulated the accidental source term of a PWR reactor; study of the physical and chemical processes involved in its behaviour after depositionon some common European soil-crop systems; derivation of relavant transfer factors.

Two radioactive aerosols were used in the whole period of the TARRAS project, both of them contained three radioelements. caesium-134, strontium-85 and silver-110. The crops selected were lettuce, as a representative of a directly consumed crop, the pea as a vegetable with fruit and alfalfa as a typical perennial crop used for animal feeding. Two types of soil were used, a sandy and a sandy-loam soil.

A number of experiments were performed and several results were obtained on the following aspects:

aerosol characterization;
aerosol deposit and interception by different crops;
loss of radionuclides from lettuce and peas via leaching;
direct absorption of radionuclides deposited on different cultures;
evaluation of radionuclide root uptake for lettuce and pea plants as well as the dynamics of soil to plant radionuclide transfer using alfalfa;
retranslocation of radionulcide to pea plants to fruit;
study of radionuclide partioning in soils as well as their distribution in depth.

Reported by

Centro de Investigaciones Energeticas Medioambientales y Tecnologicas
Avenida Complutense 22
28040 Madrid
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