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Radionuclide behaviour and transport in a coniferous woodland ecosystem: The distribution of radionuclides in soil and leaf litter

Citation
Copplestone D, Johnson MS & Jones SR (2000) Radionuclide behaviour and transport in a coniferous woodland ecosystem: The distribution of radionuclides in soil and leaf litter, Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, 122 (3-4), pp. 389-404.

Abstract
A coniferous woodland in the vicinity of the British Nuclear Fuels reprocessing plant at Sellafield, Cumbria, was used to examine the spatial, temporal and depth distribution of 134Cs,137Cs, 238Pu, 239+240Pu and 241Amin soil and leaf litter. All the radionuclides, with the exception of 134Cs, showed a consistent fall in accumulated soil and litter deposits with increasing distance from the woodland edge nearest to Sellafield. 137Cs levels in soil declined from 53 to 28 kBq m-2, 239+240Pu from 5.5 to 3.6 kBqm-2 and 241Am from 2.9 to 1.1 kBq m-2 within 100 m of the forest edge. This decline is attributed to greater deposition occurring at the leading edge of the woodland. The uniform deposition pattern of 134Cs in soil is consistent with the hypothesis that, at the time of sampling, these deposits derived largely from wet deposition during passage of the Chernobyl plume over Cumbria in May 1986. Results for the leaf litter indicate a similar spatial distribution to that observed in soil. Radionuclide concentrations were also similar but this is not attributable to adventitious soil contamination because significant differences between isotopic ratios of 134Cs:137Cs and 238Pu:239+240Pu imply that the contamination on leaf litter is of more recent origin than that in soils.

Keywords
aerial deposition; Am-241; Cs-137; edge effect; forest; Pu-239+240; spatial distribution

StatusPublished
AuthorsCopplestone David, Johnson Michael S, Jones Steve R
Publication date09/2000
PublisherSpringer
ISSN 0049-6979
LanguageEnglish

Journal
Water, Air, and Soil Pollution: Volume 122, Issue 3-4 (SEP 2000)

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