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Influence of rainfall characteristics on elimination of aerosols of cesium, strontium, barium and tellurium deposited on grassland



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Madoz-Escande, C. , Garcia-Sanchez, L., Bonhomme, T. , Morello, M.

Journal of Environmental Radioactivity
Volume 84, Issue 1, 2005, Pages 1-20 

Type de document > *Article de revue

Mots clés > aérosols, herbe, pluie, radionucléides



Date de publication > 06/06/2005


This work is aimed at quantifying foliar transfer of cesium, strontium, barium and tellurium under the influence of rainfall characteristics (intensity, frequency and time elapsed between contamination and first rainfall). Grassland boxes were contaminated by dry deposition of multi-element aerosols of 137Cs, 85Sr, 133Ba and 123mTe. They were grown in a greenhouse under controlled conditions. The treatments consisted of mowing and applying rainfalls (8 and 30 mm h-1) at different times after the contamination. At a leaf area index of 5.9 ± 1.9, interception of the aerosols was similar for the 4 radionuclides (83.8 ± 5.9%). Dew produced significant radionuclide accumulation in the base of the vegetation and transfer to the soil. For moderate intensity, an early (2 days after contamination) first rainfall was as efficient, in terms of leaf wash-off, as a longer rainfall occurring later (6 days after contamination). For early rainfalls, eliminated activities were comparable because the influence of rain intensity was compensated by rain duration. However, for late rainfalls, wash-off efficiency increased with rainfall intensity. Total transfer factors (TTF) were determined on whole grass immediately after 4 rainfalls and at harvest. After 4 medium intensity rainfalls, rain frequency did not influence total transfer factors (TTF) of strontium, barium and tellurium (about 0.2, 0.3 and 0.35 Bq kgfresh weight-1 by Bq m-2, respectively). Cesium TTF value was lower in the case of a weekly rain (0.1 against 0.2 Bq kgfresh weight-1 by Bq m-2). TTF values were similar for twice-a-week rainfalls, whatever their intensity. They were higher for weekly rains of high intensity (between 0.3 and 0.75 Bq kg fresh weight-1 by Bq m-2 against 0.1-0.35 Bq kgfresh weight-1 by Bq m-2, depending on the radionuclides). TTF values attested that wash-off was more efficient when rainfalls lasted longer. Field loss on the top of the leaves was well described by an offset exponential model. The half-lives varied with rainfall characteristics from 4 days for cesium, strontium and barium to 20 days for tellurium. The offset value varied between 0% for tellurium (high intensity rainfalls) and 14% for cesium (medium intensity rainfalls).