Vertical Distribution and Estimated Doses from Artificial Radionuclides in Soil Samples around the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Testing Site

Taira, Yasuyuki; Hayashida, Naomi; Tsuchiya, Rimi; Yamaguchi, Hitoshi; Takahashi, Jumpei; Kazlovsky, Alexander; Urazalin, Marat; Rakhypbekov, Tolebay; Yamashita, Shunichi; Takamura, Noboru
February 2013
PLoS ONE;Feb2013, Vol. 8 Issue 2, p1
Academic Journal
For the current on-site evaluation of the environmental contamination and contributory external exposure after the accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (CNPP) and the nuclear tests at the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Testing Site (SNTS), the concentrations of artificial radionuclides in soil samples from each area were analyzed by gamma spectrometry. Four artificial radionuclides (241Am, 134Cs, 137Cs, and 60Co) were detected in surface soil around CNPP, whereas seven artificial radionuclides (241Am, 57Co, 137Cs, 95Zr, 95Nb, 58Co, and 60Co) were detected in surface soil around SNTS. Effective doses around CNPP were over the public dose limit of 1 mSv/y (International Commission on Radiological Protection, 1991). These levels in a contaminated area 12 km from Unit 4 were high, whereas levels in a decontaminated area 12 km from Unit 4 and another contaminated area 15 km from Unit 4 were comparatively low. On the other hand, the effective doses around SNTS were below the public dose limit. These findings suggest that the environmental contamination and effective doses on the ground definitely decrease with decontamination such as removing surface soil, although the effective doses of the sampling points around CNPP in the present study were all over the public dose limit. Thus, the remediation of soil as a countermeasure could be an extremely effective method not only for areas around CNPP and SNTS but also for areas around the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant (FNPP), and external exposure levels will be certainly reduced. Long-term follow-up of environmental monitoring around CNPP, SNTS, and FNPP, as well as evaluation of the health effects in the population residing around these areas, could contribute to radiation safety and reduce unnecessary exposure to the public.


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