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J Environ Radioact. 2006;86(2):143-63. Epub 2005 Oct 5.

Resuspension and redistribution of radionuclides during grassland and forest fires in the Chernobyl exclusion zone: part I. Fire experiments.

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  • 1Ukrainian Institute of Agricultural Radiology, UIAR, Mashinobudivnykiv str.7, Chabany, Kyiv region 08162, Ukraine.


Controlled burning of experimental plots of forest or grassland in the Chernobyl exclusion zone has been carried out in order to estimate the parameters of radionuclide resuspension, transport and deposition during forest and grassland fires and to evaluate the working conditions of firemen. An increase of several orders of magnitude of the airborne radionuclide concentration was observed in the territory near the fire area. The resuspension factor for (137)Cs and (90)Sr was determined to range from 10(-6) to 10(-5) m(-1), and for the plutonium radionuclides from 10(-7) to 10(-6) m(-1) (related to the nuclides in the combustible biomass). These values are 2 orders of magnitude lower if they are calculated relatively to the total contamination density (including the nuclides in the soil). The radionuclide fallout along the plume axis is negligible in comparison to the existing contamination. However, the additional inhalation dose for firemen exposed in the affected area can reach the level of the additional external irradiation in the period of their mission. The plutonium nuclides constitute the dominating contribution to the inhalation dose.

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