Distribution and transport of radionuclides in a boreal mire: assessing past, present and future accumulation of uranium, thorium and radium
2013 (English)In: Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, ISSN 0265-931X, E-ISSN 1879-1700, Vol. 121, 87-97 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The spatial distribution of U-238, Ra-226, K-40 and the daughters of Th-232, Ra-228 and Th-228, were measured in a small mire in northern Sweden. High activity concentrations of U-238 and Th-232 (up to 41 Bq U-238 kg(-1)) were observed in parts of the mire with a historical or current inflow of groundwater from the surrounding till soils, but the activities declined rapidly further out in the mire. Near the outlet and in the central parts of the mire the activity concentrations were low, indicating that uranium and thorium are immobilized rapidly upon their entering the peat. The Ra-226 was found to be more mobile with high activity concentrations further out into the mire (up to 24 Bq kg(-1)), although the central parts and the area near the outlet of the mire still had low activity concentrations. Based on the fluxes to and from the mire, it was estimated that approximately 60-70% of the uranium and thorium entering the mire currently is retained within it. The current accumulation rates were found to be consistent with the historical accumulation, but possibly lower. Since much of the accumulation still is concentrated to the edges of the mire and the activities are low compared to other measurements of these radionuclides in peat, there are no indications that the mire will be saturated with respect to radionuclides like uranium, thorium and radium in the foreseen future. On the contrary, normal peat growth rates for the region suggest that the average activity concentrations of the peat currently may be decreasing, since peat growth may be faster than the accumulation of radionuclides. In order to assess the total potential for accumulation of radionuclides more thoroughly it would, however, be necessary to also investigate the behaviour of other organophilic elements like aluminium, which are likely to compete for binding sites on the organic material. Measurements of the redox potential and other redox indicators demonstrate that uranium possibly could be reduced in parts of the mire. The results of the study suggest that this mire currently is, and historically has been, an important sink for radionuclides and that it most likely will continue to be so for a long time to come.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2013. Vol. 121, 87-97 p.
Ecology Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-73555DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2012.06.010ISI: 000318962200009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-73555DiVA: diva2:632800
International Conference on Radioecology and Environmental Radioactivity (ICRER), JUN 19-24, 2011, Hamilton, CANADA
Special Issue2013-06-252013-06-252016-06-27Bibliographically approved