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Influence of non-equilibrium sorption on the vertical migration of 137Cs in forest mineral soils of Fukushima prefecture

Abstract : Sorption hypotheses and models are required for the prediction of 137Cs migration in soils contaminated after nuclear reactor accidents and nuclear weapons tests. In assessment models, the Kd hypothesis for sorption, which assumes that sorption is instantaneous, linear and reversible, has often been coupled with the convection-diffusion equation (CDE) to model 137Cs migration. However, it fails to describe 137Cs migration velocities which often decrease with time. Alternative equilibrium-kinetic (EK) hypotheses of 137Cs sorption/desorption have been suggested by laboratory experiments but have not been fully validated in field conditions. This work addressed the influence and magnitude of non-equilibrium 137Cs sorption in field conditions by reinterpreting, with an inverse approach, series of 137Cs profiles measured in mineral soils of forest plots located in Fukushima prefecture (2013-2018). Our results show that the inclusion of non-equilibrium sorption significantly improves, compared to the equilibrium hypothesis, the realism of simulated 137Cs profiles. Fitted sorption parameters suggest a fast sorption kinetic (1 – 7 hours) and a pseudo-irreversible desorption rate (3.2 - 3.4 x 106 years), whereas equilibrium sorption (4.0 x 10-3 L kg-1 on average) only affects a negligible portion of 137Cs inventory. By June 2011, such EK parameters fitted on our plots realistically reproduced profiles measured in the same forest study site (Takahashi, Tamura et al. 2015). Predictive modeling of 137Cs profiles in soil suggests a strong persistence of the surface 137Cs contamination by 2030, with exponential profiles consistent with those reported after the Chernobyl accident. This study demonstrates that hypotheses and parameters of 137Cs sorption can be partially inferred from in situ measurements. However, further experiments in controlled conditions are required to better estimate the sorption parameters and to identify the processes behind non-equilibrium sorption.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, April 6, 2021 - 9:00:54 PM
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Hamza Chaif, Frederic Coppin, Aya Bahi, Laurent Garcia Sanchez. Influence of non-equilibrium sorption on the vertical migration of 137Cs in forest mineral soils of Fukushima prefecture. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, Elsevier, 2021, 232, pp.106567. ⟨10.1016/j.jenvrad.2021.106567⟩. ⟨hal-03191107⟩



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