Bioavailability of radiocesium in soils

SCK•CEN Mentor

Sweeck Lieve,, +32 (0)14 33 28 52

Expert group

Biosphere Impact Studies

Short project description

One of the critical radionuclides in the contamination of the food chain is radiocesium, deposited worldwide by nuclear weapon testing and by nuclear accidents such as Chernobyl and Fukushima. Knowledge of the transfer of radiocesium in the terrestrial environment is of considerable importance in planning effective countermeasures. The soil-plant relation plays a significant role in the transfer of radiocesium to foodstuffs and hence in the internal radiation dose of the population. The soil-plant transfer of radiocesium is the net result of two distinctly separate processes: the first one is geochemical and is governed by soil properties such as the specific retention potential of the soils and the concentration of competitive ions, the second process is plant physiological and relates to the soil solution-plant transfer. Soils sampled from a wide range of terrestrial ecosystems (and different climate states) will be characterised with respect to their capacity to adsorb radiocesium and the relation between the soil-to-plant uptake of radiocesium by grass and potential relevant soil factors will be studied.


The aim of this study is to increase the understanding of the factors which are important in the bioavailability of radiocesium in soils.

The minimum diploma level of the candidate needs to be

A2: Upper secondary school (+7th year BSO)

The candidate needs to have a background in

Biology , Chemistry