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J Environ Radioact. 2013 Aug;122:37-42. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2013.02.019. Epub 2013 Mar 25.

Radiocesium concentrations in the bark, sapwood and heartwood of three tree species collected at Fukushima forests half a year after the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear accident.

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Department of Wood Properties, Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.


Radiocesium ((134)Cs and (137)Cs) distribution in tree stems of Japanese cedar (aged 40-56 y), red pine (42 y), and oak (42 y) grown in Fukushima Prefecture were investigated approximately half a year after the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear accident. Japanese cedar, red pine, and oak were selected from five sites, one site, and one site, respectively. Three trees at each site were felled, and bark, sapwood (the outer layer of wood in the stem), and heartwood (the inner layer of wood in the stem) separately collected to study radiocesium concentrations measured by gamma-ray spectrometry. The radiocesium deposition densities at the five sites were within the range of 16-1020 kBq m(-2). The radiocesium was distributed in bark, sapwood, and heartwood in three tree species, indicating that very rapid translocation of radiocesium into the wood. The concentration of radiocesium in oak (deciduous angiosperm) bark was higher than that in the bark of Japanese cedar and red pine (evergreen gymnosperms). Both sapwood and heartwood contained radiocesium, and the values were much lower than that in the bark samples. The results suggest that radiocesium contamination half a year after the accident was mainly attributable to the direct radioactive deposition. The radiocesium concentrations in the Japanese cedar samples taken from five sites rose with the density of radiocesium accumulation on the ground surface. To predict the future dynamics of radiocesium in tree stems, the present results taken half a year after the accident are important, and continuous study of radiocesium in tree stems is necessary.

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