The (90)Sr activity concentrations released from a radioactive fallout have been determined in a range of samples of mushrooms collected in Poland, Belarus, China, and Sweden in 1996-2013. Measurement of (90)Sr in pooled samples of mushrooms was carried out with radiochemical procedure aimed to pre-isolate the analyte from the fungal materials before it was determined using the Low-Level Beta Counter. Interestingly, the Purple Bolete Imperator rhodopurpureus collected from Yunnan in south-western China in 2012 showed (90)Sr activity concentration at around 10 Bq kg(-1) dry biomass, which was greater when compared to other mushrooms in this study. The King Bolete Boletus edulis from China showed the (90)Sr activity in caps at around 1.5 Bq kg(-1) dry biomass (whole fruiting bodies) in 2012 and for specimens from Poland activity was well lower than 1.0 Bq kg(-1) dry biomass in 1998-2010. A sample of Sarcodonimbricatus collected in 1998 from the north-eastern region of Poland impacted by Chernobyl fallout showed (90)Sr in caps at around 5 Bq kg(-1) dry biomass. Concentration of (90)Sr in Bay Bolete Royoporus (Xerocomus or Boletus) badius from affected region of Gomel in Belarus was in 2010 at 2.1 Bq kg(-1) dry biomass. In several other species from Poland (90)Sr was at
The nuclear accidents at Chernobyl and Fukushima released large amounts of (137)Cs radionuclides into the atmosphere which spread over large forest areas. We compared the (137)Cs concentration distribution in different parts of two coniferous forest ecosystems (needle litter, stems and at different depths in the soil) over short and long term periods in Finland and Japan. We also estimated the change in (137)Cs activity concentrations in needle and soil between 1995 and 2013 in Southern Finland based on the back-calculated (137)Cs activity concentrations. We hypothesized that if the (137)Cs activity concentrations measured in 1995 and 2013 showed a similar decline in concentration, the (137)Cs activity concentration in the ecosystem was already stable in 1995. But if not, the (137)Cs activity concentrations were still changing in 2013. Our results showed that the vertical distribution of the (137)Cs fallout in the soil was similar in Hyytiälä and Fukushima. The highest (137)Cs concentrations were observed in the uppermost surface layers of the soil, and they decreased exponentially deeper in the soil. We also observed that (137)Cs activity concentrations estimated from the samples in 1995 and 2013 in Finland showed different behavior in the surface soil layers compared to the deep soil layer. These results suggested that the (137)Cs nuclei were still mobile in the surface soil layers 27 years after the accident. Our results further indicated that, in the aboveground parts of the trees, the (137)Cs concentrations were much closer to steady-state when compared to those of the surface soil layers based on the estimated declining rates of (137)Cs concentration activity in needles which were similar in 1995 and 2013. Despite its mobility and active role in the metabolism of trees, the (137)Cs remains in the structure of the trees for decades, and there is not much exchange of (137)Cs between the heartwood and surface layers of the stem.
The (137)Cs-based chronological approach is suggested to identify the age of urban landscapes and the chronology of pollution of soil in residential areas. Three main pivot points constitute the basis of the chronological approach: beginning of the Atomic Era in 1945, the maximum input in 1963 and the Chernobyl accident in 1986. Application of (137)Cs as a timescale tracer was tested on the example of Ekaterinburg, a city in the Middle Urals region of Russia. The sampling of recent urban sediments of micro water bodies (puddles) was carried out in 210 locations in 2007-2010. The concentrations of Pb, Zn, Cu, Ni, Co, Mn and Fe, and activity concentrations of (137)Cs were measured. It was found that the (137)Cs concentrations in the puddle sediments correlated with the age of surrounding buildings determined by the year of construction. The correlations between the concentrations of metals and (137)Cs in the puddle sediments identified the major pollutants of the urban area, assessing their background concentrations and obtaining the average annual inputs.
This paper discusses activity concentrations of (210)Po, (210)Pb, (40)K and (137)Cs in edible wild berries and mushrooms collected from Øvre Dividalen national park, Northern Norway and derives committed effective ingestion doses to man based on high consumption rates of these wild foods. Edible wild berries and mushrooms accumulated similar levels of (210)Pb, but mushrooms accumulated higher levels of (210)Po and (40)K than berries. There appears to be a clear difference in the ability of Leccinum spp. of fungi to accumulate (210)Po and/or translocate (210)Po to mushrooms compared to Russula spp. of fungi. Activity concentrations of (137)Cs in edible wild berries and mushrooms from Øvre Dividalen national park reflected the lower levels of fallout of this radionuclide in Northern Norway compared to more central areas following the Chernobyl accident. For mushrooms, ingestion doses are dominated by (210)Po, while for berries, (40)K is typically the main contributor to dose. Based on high consumption rates, ingestion doses arising from the combination of (210)Po, (210)Pb and (40)K were up to 0.05 mSv/a for berries and 0.50 mSv/a for mushrooms. Consumption of such wild foods may result in a significant contribution to total annual doses when consumed in large quantities, particularly when selecting mushrooms species that accumulate high activity concentrations of (210)Po.
An airborne radiometric survey can be an efficient way to investigate contamination of large areas after nuclear accidents. In the current study, a helicopter borne gamma ray spectrometry survey was carried out in a vast mountainous area in Norway, where the contamination from the 1986 Chernobyl accident still affects animal husbandry more than 30 years after the fallout occurred. The 137Cs activity densities provided by the aerial survey was validated using various independent ground-based measurements - including soil samples and in situ measurements (at 1?m above ground). Despite considerable small-scale heterogeneity, demonstrated by the ground-based measurements, strong correlations were obtained between the results from the aerial survey - after introducing more detailed instrument calibration and spectre analysis - and the ground-level data. Adjusted R2 values were around 0.9, and linear correlation coefficients close to unity.
Current doses arising from external and internal pathways have been estimated for the residents of two villages, Muslumovo and Brodokalmak, alongside the Techa River, which was contaminated by radioactive releases from the Mayak production facility. The dose estimates are based on numerous environmental measurements supplemented by further human whole body measurements and studies on occupational and dietary habits of Slavic and Turkish ethnic groups. Estimated doses arise mainly from use of the contaminated floodplains alongside the Techa River. The current average annual effective dose attributable to Cs and Sr in the environment, under conditions where restrictions on some river-related activities are in place, may exceed the Russian national action level of 1 mSv only in the hypothetical critical group of herdsmen in Muslumovo. The dose to this critical group in Brodokalmak is assessed to be 3 times less than that in Muslumovo and 2 fold below the action level. The external and internal exposures give comparable contributions to the total dose in both settlements and population groups: 47% and 53% in Muslumovo and 40% and 60% in Brodokalmak, respectively. About one quarter to one half of the internal dose in adults arises from the intake of Sr. In order to avoid substantial increases in the dose received by Muslumovo residents, it is expedient to prolong the current policy of restriction of some river-related population activities in this village.
The Talvivaara mine in Eastern Finland utilizes microbe-induced heap leaching to recover nickel and other valuable metals (Zn, Cu, Co) from a black schist ore. In addition to the target metals, the ore contains uranium at a concentration of 17 mg/kg, incorporated as uraninite (UO2). Uranium oxidizes from the U(IV) to U(VI) state during leaching and dissolves as the uranyl ion (UO2(2+)) in the acidic pregnant leach solution. Mobilisation of uranium has caused sufficient concern that plans have been developed for uranium recovery. The aim of this study is to generate new data leading to a better understanding of the fate of its radiotoxic daughter nuclides, primarily (226)Ra, (210)Pb and (210)Po, in the mining process. It is shown that uranium daughters mostly remain in the heaps during the leaching process and are associated with secondary minerals, including jarosite, goethite and gypsum. Thorium and progeny ((232)Th plus (228)Th, (228)Ra) are also mainly retained. High sulphate concentrations in the acidic solutions limit the solubility of radium by incorporation in the crystal lattices of precipitated secondary sulphates. Electron probe microanalysis shows that goethite in the heaps is uraniferous, resulting from the adsorption of U(VI). After recovery of target metals, the pregnant leach solution is neutralized to further remove metal contaminants and the resulting slurries stored in a bunded tailings pond. The activity concentrations of thorium, radium, lead and polonium isotopes are generally low in the pond owing to prior retention by secondary minerals in the heaps. However, (238)U activity concentrations range up to 3375 Bq/kg, which exceeds the permitted value (1000 Bq/kg) for natural radionuclides of the (238)U series.
Operation of "Mayak" plutonium production complex resulted in radioactive contamination of the part of Chelyabinsk Region in 1950-60s. Significant gas-aerosol emissions of 1311 occurred since 1948; in 1957, a radiation accident resulted in 90Sr contamination of large territories. This paper presents comparison of bone mineral density of persons lived on territories with different levels of soil 90Sr-contamination with a control group. It was found that in 1970-1975 the bone mineral density, estimated from mineral content in bone samples, in residents of contaminated areas born in 1936-1952 was significantly lower compared with the control group. For persons born in 1880-1935 such differences were not found. It was shown that the decrease in bone mineral density was not related to 90Sr exposure of osteogenic cells in the dose range from 0.1 to 1300 mGy: the coefficient of correlation between individual 90Sr-doses and bone mineral contents was not significant. The decrease in bone mineral density of persons born in 1936-1952 could be associated with exposure of thyroid and parathyroid glands (systemic regulators of calcium turnover) by 131I from gas-aerosol emissions from "Mayak". Maximum gas-aerosol emissions occurred in 1948-1954 and coincided with growth and development of thyroid gland, characterizing by intensive accumulation of 131I, and with growth and maturation of the skeleton of persons born in these calendar years.
The measurement of radon flux from soil surface is the useful tool for the assessment of radon-prone areas and monitoring of radon releases from uranium mining and milling residues. The accumulation chambers with hollow headspace and chambers with activated charcoal are the most used devices for these purposes. Systematic errors of the measurements strongly depend on the geometry of the chamber and diffusion coefficient of the radon in soil. The calibration system for the attestation of devices for radon flux measurements was constructed. The calibration measurements of accumulation chambers and chambers with activated charcoal were conducted. The good agreement between the results of 2D modelling of radon flux and measurements results was observed. It was demonstrated that reliable measurements of radon flux can be obtained by chambers with activated charcoal (equivalent volume ~75 l) or by accumulation chambers with hollow headspace of ~7-10 l and volume/surface ratio (height) of >15 cm.
To improve long-term radioecological impact assessment for the contaminated ecosystem of Bylot Sound, Greenland, U and Pu containing particles have been characterized with respect to particle size, elemental distribution, morphology and oxidation states. Based on scanning electron microscopy with XRMA, particles ranging from about 20 to 40 microm were isolated. XRMA and mu-XRF mapping demonstrated that U and Pu were homogeneously distributed throughout the particles, indicating that U and Pu have been fused. Furthermore, mu-XANES showed that U and Pu in the particles were present as mixed oxides. U was found to be in oxidation state IV whereas Pu apparently is a mixture of Pu(III) and Pu(IV). As previous assessments are based on PuO2 only, revisions should be made, taking Pu(III) into account.