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Post-deposition early-phase migration and retention behavior of radiocesium in a litter-mineral soil system in a Japanese deciduous forest affected by the Fukushima nuclear accident

Koarashi, Jun; Nishimura, Shusaku; Nakanishi, Takahiro; Atarashi-Andoh, Mariko; Takeuchi, Erina; Muto, Kotomi

We established field lysimeters in a Japanese deciduous broad-leaved forest soon after the Fukushima nuclear accident to continuously monitor the downward transfer of $$^{137}$$Cs at three depths: the litter-mineral soil boundary and depths of 5 cm and 10 cm in the mineral soil. Observations were conducted at two sites within the forest from May 2011 to May 2015. Results revealed similar temporal and depth-wise variations in $$^{137}$$Cs downward fluxes for both sites. The $$^{137}$$Cs downward fluxes generally decreased year by year at all depths, indicating that $$^{137}$$Cs was rapidly leached from the forest-floor litter layer and was then immobilized in the upper (0-5 cm) mineral soil layer through its interaction with clay minerals. The decreased inventory of mobile (or bioavailable) $$^{137}$$Cs observed during early stages after deposition indicates that the litter-soil system in the Japanese deciduous forest provides only a temporary source for $$^{137}$$Cs recycling in plants.

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