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Characterizing vertical migration of $$^{137}$$Cs in organic layer and mineral soil in Japanese forests; Four-year observation and model analysis

Muto, Kotomi; Atarashi-Andoh, Mariko; Matsunaga, Takeshi*; Koarashi, Jun

Vertical distributions of $$^{137}$$Cs in the soil profile were observed at five forest sites with different vegetation types for 4.4 years after the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, and $$^{137}$$Cs migration in the organic layer and mineral soil was analyzed based on a comparison of models and observations. Cesium-137 migration from the organic layer was faster than that observed in European forests, suggesting that the mobility and bioavailability of $$^{137}$$Cs could be suppressed rapidly in Japanese forests. The diffusion coefficients of $$^{137}$$Cs in the mineral soil were estimated to be 0.042-0.55 cm$$^2$$y$$^{-1}$$, which were roughly comparable with those of European forest soils affected by the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident. Model predictions indicated $$^{137}$$Cs mainly distributed in the surface mineral soil at 10 years after the accident. It suggest that the $$^{137}$$Cs deposited onto Japanese forest ecosystems will be retained in the surface layers of mineral soil for a long time.

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