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Sci Total Environ. 2012 Aug 1;431:392-401. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.05.041. Epub 2012 Jun 15.

Factors affecting vertical distribution of Fukushima accident-derived radiocesium in soil under different land-use conditions.

Author information

  • 1Nuclear Science and Engineering Directorate, Japan Atomic Energy Agency, Ibaraki 319-1195, Japan. koarashi.jun@jaea.go.jp

Abstract

The Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant accident in Japan, triggered by a big earthquake and the resulting tsunami on 11 March 2011, caused a substantial release of radiocesium ((137)Cs and (134)Cs) and a subsequent contamination of soils in a range of terrestrial ecosystems. Identifying factors and processes affecting radiocesium retention in these soils is essential to predict how the deposited radiocesium will migrate through the soil profile and to other biological components. We investigated vertical distributions of radiocesium and physicochemical properties in soils (to 20 cm depth) at 15 locations under different land-use types (croplands, grasslands, and forests) within a 2 km × 2 km mesh area in Fukushima city. The total (137)Cs inventory deposited onto and into soil was similar (58.4±9.6 kBq m(-2)) between the three different land-use types. However, aboveground litter layer at the forest sites and herbaceous vegetation at the non-forested sites contributed differently to the total (137)Cs inventory. At the forest sites, 50-91% of the total inventory was observed in the litter layer. The aboveground vegetation contribution was in contrast smaller (<35%) at the other sites. Another remarkable difference was found in vertical distribution of (137)Cs in mineral soil layers; (137)Cs penetrated deeper in the forest soil profiles than in the non-forested soil profiles. We quantified (137)Cs retention at surface soil layers, and showed that higher (137)Cs retention can be explained in part by larger amounts of silt- and clay-sized particles in the layers. More importantly, the (137)Cs retention highly and negatively correlated with soil organic carbon content divided by clay content across all land-use types. The results suggest that organic matter inhibits strong adsorption of (137)Cs on clay minerals in surface soil layers, and as a result affects the vertical distribution and thus the mobility of (137)Cs in soil, particularly in the forest ecosystems.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

PMID:
22706146
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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