Interception of radionuclides by planophile crops: A simple semi-empirical modelling approach in case of nuclear accident fallout

    Research outputpeer-review


    Shortly after an atmospheric release, the interception of radionuclides by crop canopies represents the main uptake pathway leading to food chain contamination. The food chain models currently used in European emergency decision support systems require a large number of input parameters, which inevitably leads to high model complexity. In this study, we have established a new relationship for wet deposited radionuclides to simplify the current modelling approaches. This relationship is based on the hypothesis that the stage of plant development is the key factor governing the interception of radionuclides by crops having horizontally oriented leaves (planophile crops). The interception fraction (f) and the leaf area index normalized (fLAI) and mass normalized (fB) interception fractions were assessed for spinach (Spinacia oleracea) and radish (Raphanus sativus) at different stages of plant development and for different contamination treatments and plant densities. A database of 191 f values for Cs-137 and Th-229 was built and complemented with existing literature covering various radionuclides and crops with similar canopy structure. The overall f increased with the plant growth, while the reverse was observed for fB. The fLAI significantly decreased by doubling the contaminated rainfall deposited. Fitting a multiple linear regression to predict the f value as a function of the standing biomass (B), and the radionuclide form (anion and cation) led to a better estimation of the interception (R2 ¼ 81%) than the ECOSYS-87 model (R2 ¼ 35%). Hence, the simplified modelling approach here proposed seems to be a suitable risk assessment tool as fewer parameters will minimize the model complexity and facilitate the decisionmaking procedures in case of emergencies, when countermeasures need to be identified and implemented promptly.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number115308
    Pages (from-to)1-11
    Number of pages11
    JournalEnvironmental Pollution
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - 1 Nov 2020

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