Natural and Artificial Radionuclides in River Bottom Sediments and Suspended Matter in the Czech Republic in the Period 2000-2010


The concentrations of natural radionuclides, radium-226, radium-228, and potassium-40, and the artificial radionuclide caesium-137, in river bottom sediments and suspended matter were monitored in the Czech Republic by the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute during the period 2000-2010 and 2001-2010 respectively. The data were used to evaluate the natural background levels of these radionuclides and the impact of human activities on the water environment. For potassium-40 in sediments, the natural background level was estimated to be 570 Bq/kg. To evaluate the background level for radium-226, the river sites affected by human activities (mining and processing uranium ore, coal) were eliminated from the assessment. The average natural background values were 47.8 Bq/kg for radium-226 and 47.2 Bq/kg for radium-228 in sediments and 86.5 Bq/kg for radium-226 and 87.9 Bq/kg for radium-228 in suspended matter. The river sediments were identified as good indicators of radioactive contamination, especially radium-226, which recorded historic contamination due to former uranium mining and milling. The radium-226 contamination rate was assessed using the ratio of radium-226 to radium-228. This ratio was used to classify sediment according to the relative contamination from the uranium industry. The residual contamination of caesium-137 due to the Chernobyl accident in 1986 was also assessed. Average values of caesium-137 were 14.0 Bq/kg in sediments and 25.0 Bq/kg in suspended matter.

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E. Hanslík, D. Marešová and E. Juranová, "Natural and Artificial Radionuclides in River Bottom Sediments and Suspended Matter in the Czech Republic in the Period 2000-2010," Journal of Environmental Protection, Vol. 5 No. 2, 2014, pp. 114-119. doi: 10.4236/jep.2014.52015.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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