Eurasian Soil Science

, Volume 50, Issue 12, pp 1535–1544 | Cite as

Radioactive Contamination of Alluvial Soils in the Taiga Landscapes of Yakutia with 137Cs, 226Ra, and 238U

  • A. P. Chevychelov
  • P. I. Sobakin
Degradation, Rehabilitation, and Conservation of Soils


The concentrations and distribution of 137Cs in alluvial soils (Fluvisols) of the upper and middle reaches of the Markha River in the northwest of Yakutia and 226Ra and 238U in alluvial soils within the El’kon uranium ore deposit in the south of Yakutia have been studied. It is shown that the migration of radiocesium in the permafrost-affected soils of Yakutia owing to alluviation processes extends to more than 600 km from the source of the radioactive contamination. The migration of 137Cs with water flows is accompanied by its deposition in the buried horizons of alluvial soils during extremely high floods caused by ice jams. In the technogenic landscapes of southern Yakutia, active water migration of 238U and 226Ra from radioactive dump rocks. The leaching of 238U with surface waters from the rocks is more intense than the leaching of 226Ra. The vertical distribution patterns of 238U and 226Ra in the profiles of alluvial soils are complex. Uranium tends to accumulate in the surface humus horizon and in the buried soil horizons, whereas radium does not display any definite regularities of its distribution in the soil profiles. At present, the migration of 238U and 226Ra with river water and their accumulation in the alluvial soils extend to about 30 km from the source.


radioactive elements contaminations concentration distribution 


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© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Biological Problems of the CryolithozoneSiberian Branch of the Russian Academy of SciencesYakutskRussia

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