Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 36, Issue 6, pp 1165–1190 | Cite as

RETRACTED ARTICLE: Release, deposition and elimination of radiocesium (137Cs) in the terrestrial environment

  • Muhammad Aqeel AshrafEmail author
  • Ayesha Masood Khan
  • Mushtaq Ahmad
  • Shatirah Akib
  • Khaled S. Balkhair
  • Nor Kartini Abu Bakar
Review Paper


Radionuclide contamination in terrestrial ecosystems has reached a dangerous level. The major artificial radionuclide present in the environment is 137Cs, which is released as a result of weapon production related to atomic projects, accidental explosions of nuclear power plants and other sources, such as reactors, evaporation ponds, liquid storage tanks, and burial grounds. The release of potentially hazardous radionuclides (radiocesium) in recent years has provided the opportunity to conduct multidisciplinary studies on their fate and transport. Radiocesium’s high fission yield and ease of detection made it a prime candidate for early radio-ecological investigations. The facility setting provides a diverse background for the improved understanding of various factors that contribute toward the fate and transfer of radionuclides in the terrestrial ecosystem. In this review, we summarize the significant environmental radiocesium transfer factors to determine the damaging effects of radiocesium on terrestrial ecosystem. It has been found that 137Cs can trace the transport of other radionuclides that have a high affinity for binding to soil particles (silts and clays). Possible remedial methods are also discussed for contaminated terrestrial systems. This review will serve as a guideline for future studies of the fate and transport of 137Cs in terrestrial environments in the wake of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster in 2011.


Radionuclide Cesium Transfer Nuclear power plants Contamination Bioaccumulation 



This research is supported by High Impact Research MoE Grant UM.C/625/1/HIR/MoE/SC/04 from the Ministry of Education Malaysia. Thanks also for the support by UMRG (RG257-13AFR) and FRGS (FP038-2013B).

Conflict of interest

The authors certify that there is no conflict of interest with any financial organization regarding the material discussed in the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Muhammad Aqeel Ashraf
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ayesha Masood Khan
    • 1
  • Mushtaq Ahmad
    • 2
  • Shatirah Akib
    • 3
  • Khaled S. Balkhair
    • 4
  • Nor Kartini Abu Bakar
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Geology, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia
  2. 2.Department of Plant SciencesQuaid-i-Azam UniversityIslamabadPakistan
  3. 3.Department of Civil EngineeringUniversity of MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia
  4. 4.Department of Hydrology and Water Resources ManagementKing Abdul Aziz UniversityJeddahSaudi Arabia
  5. 5.Department of ChemistryUniversity of MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia

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