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Mechanisms of desorption of 134Cs and 85Sr aerosols deposited on urban surfaces.

J. Réal (a) , F. Persin (b), C. Camarasa-Claret (a) (a) Department of Environmental Protection, Laboratory of Experimental Radioecology, Institute of Protection and Nuclear Safety (b) University Montpellier 2,lEM -UMR 5635 JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL RADIOACTIVITY, 62 : (1) 1-15.

Document type > *Article de revue

Keywords > radioecology under controlled conditions, airborne contamination, caesium, strontium

Research Unit > IRSN/DEI/SECRE/LRE

Authors >

Publication Date > 15/09/2002

Summary

The radioactive isotopes of cesium and strontium may be deposited on urban surfaces in the case of an accidentel atmospheric discharge from a nuclear facility and thus imply a health hazard. In order to handle the decontamination of these surfaces, we have carried. out experiments under controlled conditions on tiles and concrete and we have studied the physical and chemical mechanisms at the solid-liquid interface. The deposition of radionuclides was carried out in the form of aerosols indicating an accidentel source term. Their desorption by rainwater is low in all cases, of thé order of 5-6% for cesium for any material and 29 and 12% for strontium on tile and concrete, respectively. The low desorption values of cesiu.m may be explained by the strong bonding that occurs with the silicates constituting the file due to virtually irreversible processes of exchange of ions and by the formation of insoluble complexes with the C…S…H gel of concrete. The strontium-tile bonds are weaker, while strontium precipitates with the carbonates of concrete in the form of SrC03. In view of these characteristics, washing solutions with high concentrations of chloride and oxalate of ammonium chosen for their ion-exchanging and sequestering properties were tested on these surfaces. The desorption of cesium improved strongly since it reached 70% on tile and 90% on concrete after 24 h of contact, which is consistent with our knowledge of the bonds between this element and the surfaces. Strontium, given the greater complexity of physical and chemical forms that it may take is less well desorbed. The ammonium chloride improves the desorption (50% and 40%, for tile and concrete, respectively) but the oxalate, while it does not affect desorption on the tiles, decreases that on the concrete since by strongly etching the concrete, it causes the release of carbonate ions that precipitate with strontium.
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