Application of potassium chloride to a Chernobyl contaminated lake: modelling the dynamics of radiocaesium in an aquatic ecosystem and decontamination of fish

Jim Smith, A. Kudelsky, I. Ryabov, R. Hadderingh, A. Bulgakov

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    Abstract

    This study tests a whole-lake experiment to reduce the bioaccumulation of radiocaesium (137Cs) in fish in lakes contaminated by the Chernobyl accident. In many lakes in the Chernobyl contaminated areas, radiocaesium activity concentrations in fish are still significantly higher (up to 100 times in some species) than acceptable limits for human consumption. Estimates of the long-term rate of decline of 137Cs in fish in these regions, in the absence of countermeasures, show that radioactivity in fish in some lakes may remain above acceptable consumption limits for a further 50-100 years from the present date. In February 1998 we applied 15 t of potassium chloride to Lake Svyatoe, Kostiukovichy. The addition of potassium chloride fertilizer to the lake resulted in a decrease in activity concentration of 137Cs to approximately 40% of pre-countermeasure values in a number of different fish species. In contrast to Lake Svyatoe, 137Cs activity concentrations in fish from four control lakes showed no systematic decrease over the study period. Simplified models for transfers of 137Cs in lakes successfully blind predicted the changes in 137Cs in water and fish resulting from this major alteration of the potassium concentration of the lake. The experiment represents the first test of a predictive model for the dynamics of radiocaesium in response to a major perturbation in potassium (its major competitor ion) in a whole lake ecosystem
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)217-227
    Number of pages11
    JournalScience of the Total Environment
    Volume305
    Issue number1-3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2003

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