Main investigation results on the forest radioecology in the Kyshtym and Chernobyl accident zones.

Sci Total Environ. 1994 Dec 11;157(1-3):45-57.
Main investigation results on the forest radioecology in the Kyshtym and Chernobyl accident zones.
Tikhomirov FA, Shcheglov AI.

Moscow State University, Russian Federation.

As a result of the long-term studies of radionuclide migration in forest ecosystems in zones of radioactive contamination after the Kyshtym and Chernobyl accidents, the following trends were revealed: (1) High retention capacity of stand canopy with respect to radioactive fallout. This leads to high doses absorbed by apical and leaf meristems, beta-radiation giving the main part of the dose; (2) Fast self-decontamination of crowns during the growth period and relatively slow decontamination in the phase of physiological rest, regardless of amount of atmospheric precipitation. The rate of crown decontamination determines the value and duration of radiation stress on woody plants; (3) Accumulation not less than 95% of the total radionuclide amount in the forest litter 1-2 years after the cessation of radioactive fallout; (4) Relatively slow migration of strontium and cesium radionuclides along the forest soil profile; (5) High capacity of the forest when serving as a biogeochemical barrier to the routes of horizontal and vertical radionuclide migration and export out of the zone of initial contamination, including migration into the river water; (6) Considerable difference between strontium and cesium when migrating in forest soils and in the soil-plant system; (7) Broad variations in transfer factors for uptake of cesium-137 from soil into forest plants depending on the plant species and soil type. The primary radiobiological effects connected with irradiation of organisms are considered and secondary disturbances due to changes of ecological bonds between the components of irradiated forest ecosystem are discussed.

[PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]