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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 33 No. 6, p. 2272-2280
    Received: Dec 4, 2003

    * Corresponding author(s): gg.shaw@imperial.ac.uk


Radionuclide Transport Above a Near-Surface Water Table

  1. G. Shaw *a,
  2. P. Wadeya and
  3. J. N. B. Bellb
  1. a Department of Environmental Science and Technology, Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 7PY, UK
    b Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 7PY, UK


Vertical distributions of 36Cl and 99Tc are presented from deep and shallow lysimeters above artificially controlled water tables for a 4-yr experiment from 1990 to 1993. Activity concentration profiles were all measured in late summer when a winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L. cv. Pastiche) crop was harvested. After harvest, activity concentrations in different organs of the crop were determined and crop uptake quantified as both an inventory ratio (IR) and a transfer factor (TFw), weighted to account for differential root and radionuclide distributions within the soil profile. Vertical distributions of radionuclides, crop roots within the soil, and IR and TFw values were each subjected to analysis of variance to estimate the individual and combined effects of soil depth and the year of the experiment on the results obtained. Chlorine-36 and 99Tc exhibited highly significant variations in activity concentrations with soil depth and from year to year, indicating considerable physical mobility of both radionuclides. Soil-to-plant transfer was also high for both radionuclides compared with data obtained for gamma-emitting radionuclides. The IR values indicated that up to 40% of 36Cl was incorporated in the crop's tissues at harvest, compared with a maximum of less than 1% for the less mobile gamma-emitting radionuclides. On the basis of the TFw values determined, 36Cl uptake by winter wheat exceeded 99Tc uptake, indicating that 36Cl is highly bioavailable. Factors controlling the migration and bioavailability of both 36Cl and 99Tc in soils are discussed.

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