Plutonium aided reconstruction of caesium atmospheric fallout in European topsoils

Meusburger, Katrin and Evrard, Olivier and Alewell, Christine and Borrelli, Pasquale and Cinelli, Giorgia and Ketterer, Michael and Mabit, Lionel and Panagos, Panos and van Oost, Kristof and Ballabio, Cristiano. (2020) Plutonium aided reconstruction of caesium atmospheric fallout in European topsoils. Scientific Reports, 10 (1). p. 11858.

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Global nuclear weapon testing and the Chernobyl accident have released large amounts of radionuclides into the environment. However, to date, the spatial patterns of these fallout sources remain poorly constrained. Fallout radionuclides (Cs-137, Pu-239, Pu-240) were measured in soil samples (n=160) collected at flat, undisturbed grasslands in Western Europe in the framework of a harmonised European soil survey. We show that both fallout sources left a specific radionuclide imprint in European soils. Accordingly, we used plutonium to quantify contributions of global versus Chernobyl fallout to Cs-137 found in European soils. Spatial prediction models allowed for a first assessment of the global versus Chernobyl fallout pattern across national boundaries. Understanding the magnitude of these fallout sources is crucial not only to establish a baseline in case of future radionuclide fallout but also to define a baseline for geomorphological reconstructions of soil redistribution due to soil erosion processes.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Geowissenschaften > Umweltgeowissenschaften (Alewell)
UniBasel Contributors:Alewell, Christine and Borrelli, Pasquale
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:20 Apr 2021 10:35
Deposited On:20 Apr 2021 10:35

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