- Number 306 |
- March 1, 2010
Studying cesium to seize soil cleanup
(Photo from cover of journal,
Health Physics, Jan. 2010)
A view from Bikini Island across
the protective ocean reef. Nuclear
tests conducted in the early
1950's at Bikini Atoll contaminated
Bikini and other islands of the
atolls to the east of Bikini.
Scientists at DOE's Lawrence Livermore Lab have developed soil clean-up methods at Bikini Atoll and other islands to the east where nuclear tests were conducted in the early 1950s. Studies show that when it rains, a portion of soluble cesium-137 (137Cs) is transported to the groundwater about three meters below the soil surface. The groundwater eventually gets mixed with ocean waters so the 137Cs is lost from the soil, and thus unavailable for uptake by growing island vegetation. The rate of this loss is much faster than the loss by radiological decay. The research is the January cover article of Health Physics.
[Anne M. Stark, 925.422.9799,