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Transfer of 137Cs and 40K from Agricultural Soils to Food Products in Terrestrial Environment of Tarapur, India


The 137Cs and 40K activities and transfer factors from soil to vegetables, grass, and milk from villages located around Tarapur Atomic Power Station (TAPS) were determined using high-resolution gamma spectrometry. A total of 32 soil, 21 vegetable, 23 dry paddy grass, and 23 milk samples were collected from 23 different agricultural farms from various villages around TAPS to determine transfer factors for natural environment. The mean concentration values for 137Cs and 40K in soil, grass, and milk were 2.39 ± 0.86 Bq kg−1, 0.31 ± 0.23 Bq kg−1, and 12.4 ± 5.7 mBq L−1 and 179 ± 31 Bq kg−1, 412 ± 138 Bq kg−1, and 37.6 ± 9.3 Bq L−1, respectively, for soil–grass–milk pathway. In the soil–vegetation pathway, the mean concentrations values for 137Cs and 40K were 2.15 ± 1.04 Bq kg−1, 16.5 ± 7.5 mBq kg−1, and 185 ± 24, 89 ± 50 Bq kg−1, respectively. The evaluated mean transfer factors from soil–grass, grass–milk, and soil–vegetation for 137Cs were 0.14, 0.0044, and 0.0073 and that of 40K were 2.42, 0.0053, and 0.49, respectively. Only 15 out of total 44 milk and vegetable samples were detected positive for 137Cs, indicating a very low level of bioavailability.

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The authors are thankful to Shri H. S. Khusawah, Director, Health, Safety and Environment Group, Shri P. K. Sarkar, Head, Health Physics Division, and Shri A.G. Hegde, Head, ESS, Health Physics Divisions, for permission to carry out the work. We are thankful to ESL staff members for the help rendered in sampling and sample processing. Special thanks are due to Shri A. Baburajan, Shri V. Sudheendran, Shri Mehendrage, Shri Balram Meena, Dr. Chitralekha Amin, and Dr. Julekha Shaikh for their constant encouragement and support in research work. The authors are also thankful to DAE-BRNS for sponsoring the research project (sanction no. 2007/36/16-BRNS).

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Correspondence to Bipin H. Mehta.

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Panchal, R.H., Rao, D.D. & Mehta, B.H. Transfer of 137Cs and 40K from Agricultural Soils to Food Products in Terrestrial Environment of Tarapur, India. Water Air Soil Pollut 219, 429 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11270-010-0718-0

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  • 137Cs
  • 40K
  • Milk
  • Grass
  • Vegetable
  • Transfer factor