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Considerations on the behaviour of long-lived radionuclides in the soil

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The migration of radionuclides from waste repositories to the biosphere potentially leads to a contamination of soil. Due to the importance of food production, the mobilisation and accumulation behaviour of long-lived radionuclides in the soil plays a key role in performance assessment studies. In this paper, the main features and processes that control radionuclide behaviour in soil, such as pH, redox potential and sorption to organic and inorganic soil components, are discussed for the radionuclides 36Cl, 79Se, 129I, 99Tc, 237Np and 238U, that are usually most relevant in long-term safety assessments of nuclear waste. The interaction of radionuclide behaviour in soil with environmental factors, such as temperature and humidity as well as farming practices are discussed. The possible impact of future soil development on long-term behaviour in soil are taken into consideration. Due to the physiological constraints of plant growth, appropriate soil conditions for growth will probably not be substantially different from current requirements, bearing in mind that sustainable agriculture strives for optimal plant growth. Against this background, present-day parameters may in general be considered appropriate for roughly estimating the behaviour of radionuclides in the soil-plant system.

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Received: 18 October 2000 / Accepted: 20 March 2001

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Koch-Steindl, H., Pröhl, G. Considerations on the behaviour of long-lived radionuclides in the soil. Radiat Environ Biophys 40, 93–104 (2001).

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