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Upward migration of radiocesium in soil via abiotic process

Sakamoto, Fuminori  ; Kozai, Naofumi   ; Guido-Garcia, F.; Kimura, Tatsuki; Grambow, B.

Soil microorganisms are known to remove a fraction of tightly fixed radiocesium and make it bioavailable. In this study, we attempted to nondestructively recover available radiocesium from soil using microorganisms instead of plants. Microbial activity was tested to form bioavailable radiocesium by the comparing the addition of nutrients and microbicide. Powdered minerals, a water absorbent material, and paper towels were packed in a fine mesh cloth bag (mineral bag) with a size of 50 cm $$times$$ 50 cm. The radiocesium concentration analysis revealed that the surface soil contained approximately 0.3-1.2 Bq/g. The mineral mat was replaced with a new one every two weeks. Two control experiments were established: one with 1 L of nutrient solution to activate microorganisms, and another with sodium hypochlorite aqueous solution to suppress microbial activity. These solutions were added every week. After eight weeks, radiocesium concentrations of the top soil and in the soil core were measured. The accumulative radiocesium concentration in the four mats after eight weeks was within 4.2$$times$$10$$^{2}$$ and 9.0$$times$$10$$^{2}$$ Bq, indicating that the mats indeed absorbed radiocesium from soil. The driving force of upward migration of radiocesium is thought to be soil water flow due to continuous water absorption from soil by the mat and evaporation from itself. These results suggest that cesium upward migration flow along with water is a behavior expected to happen in the environment.



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