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Authorization to Direct Research (HDR)

Variability of atmospheric depositions of artificial radiolements and their transfer into soils

​Laurent Pourcelot has defended his HDR on 25th January 2008

at University Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg (France)


Mr Pierre-Marie Badot, Professor, de Franche-Comté University, Reporter

Mr Rémi Barillon, Professor, L. Pasteur University, Reporter

Mr François Chabaux, Professor, L. Pasteur University, Examiner

Mr Pascal Froidevaux, Collaborator, Lausanne Sci. University, Examiner

Mr François Gauthier-Lafaye, DR CNRS L. Pasteur University

Mr Peter Mitchell, Professor, College Dublin University, Reporter


Title in french:
Variabilité des dépôts atmosphériques et des transferts des radioéléments artificiels dans les sols

The research work I have conducted on the variability of accidental and chronic atmospheric depositions is based on the French soil inventories of artificial radioelements coming from two sources: the fallout from the Chernobyl accident and the global fallout from the atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons. My research into the variability of depositions is based on the hypothesis that the soil inventories constitute the "footprint" of the atmospheric depositions, that is to say that the soils are natural collectors of the depositions, accumulating the pollutants from different sources as time goes by. The vertical distribution of the radioelements (essentially 137Cs, plutonium and 210Pb) in the soils, which shows that these soils are subject to little reworking by erosion or by man, confirms this hypothesis.

Thus, during my research, the spatial variability of the soil inventories of artificial radioelements has enabled me to evaluate the heterogeneity of the atmospheric depositions and to discuss the predominant environmental parameters causing the variability of the depositions (trajectory of air masses, importance of precipitation, nature of the vegetation).

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