Monday, January 20, 2014

Radioactive pollution and accumulation of radionuclides in wild plants in Fukushima

The radionuclide status of wild plants and soil in the Fukushima area was investigated during the period May 2011 to October 2012, using an imaging plate (autoradiograms) or a high purity germanium detector. Analyses of autoradiograms showed that wild plants grown in March 2011 were strongly polluted with fallout released from the Fukushima 1 Nuclear Power Plant. The radioactivity was mostly due to fallout adsorbed on the surface of the plants. On the other hand, a number of herbaceous plants were regularly collected in the Fukushima area and their radionuclide concentrations were measured with a high-purity germanium detector. Plants grown in March 2011 showed very high levels of 134Cs and 137Cs, but these radioactivity levels decreased rapidly after July 2011 and eventually became lower than that of endogenous 40K. During this period, the radioactivity of the soil remained high. We therefore suppose that a significant proportion of the radioactivity detected from plants harvested after July 2011 was most likely derived from soil dust attached on the plant surface. Autoradiograms of rice plants were virtually identical between plants cultivated in Fukushima and Osaka area, reflecting the background radiation due to 40K.


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