Levels and transfer of 210Po and 210Pb in Nordic terrestrial ecosystems

J.E. Brown, R. Gjelsvik, Per Roos, J.A. Kålås, I. Outola, E. Holm

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Recent developments regarding environmental impact assessment methodologies for radioactivity have precipitated the need for information on levels of naturally occurring radionuclides within and transfer to wild flora and fauna. The objectives of this study were therefore to determine activity concentrations of the main dose forming radionuclides 210Po and 210Pb in biota from terrestrial ecosystems thus providing insight into the behaviour of these radioisotopes. Samples of soil, plants and animals were collected at Dovrefjell, Central Norway and Olkiluoto, Finland. Soil profiles from Dovrefjell exhibited an approximately exponential fall in 210Pb activity concentrations from elevated levels in humus/surface soils to “supported” levels at depth. Activity concentrations of 210Po in fauna (invertebrates, mammals, birds) ranged between 2 and 123 Bq kg−1 d.w. and in plants and lichens between 20 and 138 Bq kg−1 d.w.. The results showed that soil humus is an important reservoir for 210Po and 210Pb and that fauna in close contact with this media may also exhibit elevated levels of 210Po. Concentration ratios appear to have limited applicability with regards to prediction of activity concentrations of 210Po in invertebrates and vertebrates. Biokinetic models may provide a tool to explore in a more mechanistic way the behaviour of 210Po in this system.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Environmental Radioactivity
    Issue number5
    Pages (from-to)430-437
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • Radiation research and nuclear technologies
    • Radioecology and tracers


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