Environmental Geology

, Volume 47, Issue 6, pp 869–881 | Cite as

Characterization of subsurface geometry and radioactivity distribution in the trench containing Chernobyl clean-up wastes

  • D. Bugai
  • V. Kashparov
  • L. Dewiére
  • Yu. Khomutinin
  • S. Levchuk
  • V. Yoschenko
Original Article

Abstract

Several radiometric and geophysical methods were applied to characterize the subsurface geometry and radioactivity distribution (especially 137Cs) in a trench with low-level wastes at the Chernobyl site. While surface dose rate measurements and electromagnetic soil conductivity survey produced uninterpretable fields of signals, the ground penetrating radar appeared to be an efficient method for characterization of the subsurface geometry of the waste burial. It was established that the trench had the following dimensions: the length was ≈70 m; average width ≈6–8 m, and depth ≈2–2.5 m. Data on 137Cs distribution in the trench were obtained by means of a borehole gamma-logging technique. The total inventory of 137Cs was estimated at 600±200 GBq. Geostatistical analysis using the semivariogram function has shown regular spatial correlation patterns for the logarithm-transformed 137Cs activity of waste material. The correlation length along the trench was ≈17 m, while across the trench, and in the vertical direction, it was ≈4 m. The observed correlation patterns supposedly were caused by the method used to dispose the contaminated topsoil: the bulldozing in the direction perpendicular to a trench axis. Obtained results may be useful for selecting a characterization method and for optimization of sampling strategies for similar waste sites.

Notes

Acknowledgments

The presented work was supported by funding in the framework of the Chernobyl Pilot Site Project, a collaborative French–Ukrainian program of the Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (France). We gratefully acknowledge work by Jean-Luc Roujou on ground electromagnetic conductivity survey, work by Yuri Shibetskiy on GPR survey of experimental site, and assistance by Andrey Matoshko in interpretation of the GPR images. Comments on this manuscript by an anonymous reviewer are much appreciated.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Bugai
    • 1
  • V. Kashparov
    • 2
  • L. Dewiére
    • 3
  • Yu. Khomutinin
    • 2
  • S. Levchuk
    • 2
  • V. Yoschenko
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Geological Sciences (IGS)KievUkraine
  2. 2.Ukrainian Institute of Agricultural Radiology (UIAR)ChabanyUkraine
  3. 3.Institute for Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN)Fontenay aux Roses cedexFrance

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