Modelling the long-term dynamics of radiocaesium in closed lakes

A. A. Bulgakov*, A. V. Konoplev, J. T. Smith, J. Hilton, R. N. J. Comans, G. V. Laptev, B. F. Christyuk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During the years after the Chernobyl accident the radioceasium activity concentration in most contaminated aquatic ecosystems decreased markedly. Lakes with no permanent inflows and outflows (closed lakes), however, still present a radioecological problem which is expected to continue for some time. In this paper, a mechanistic model for the long-term prediction of radiocaesium behaviour in closed lakes is developed. The model of Prokhorov (Radiokhimiya (Radiochemistry) 11 (1969) 317) was modified to describe the effects of bottom sediment bioturbation, surface runoff from the catchment and suspended solids formation and sedimentation. The model input parameters are the effective diffusion coefficient in bottom sediments, depth of the completely mixed layer, the distribution coefficient in the sediment-water system, the runoff coefficient, sedimentation rate, and deposition density. Values of all these parameters can be independently estimated or measured in a short-term experiment. Given negligible runoff and sedimentation, the dynamics of radiocaesium in lake water is described by a simple equation with only one unknown parameter. This allows us to make long-term predictions on the basis of a series of measurements carried out during the relatively short period. The model was tested against 137Cs activity concentrations measured between 1993 and 1999 in Svyatoe lake in the Bryansk region of Russia. Calculated and measured activity concentrations are in good agreement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-53
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Environmental Radioactivity
Issue number1
Early online date9 Apr 2002
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2002


  • closed lakes
  • contamination
  • long term dynamics
  • modelling
  • radiocaesium


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