Vertical migration of radionuclides in the vicinity of the chernobyl confinement shelter

Health Phys. 2011 Oct;101(4):362-7. doi: 10.1097/HP.0b013e3182166472.


Studies of vertical migration of Chernobyl-origin radionuclides in the 5-km zone of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (ChNPP) in the area of the Red Forest experimental site were completed. Measurements were made by gamma spectrometric methods using high purity germanium (HPGe) detectors with beryllium windows. Alpha-emitting isotopes of plutonium were determined by the measurement of the x-rays from their uranium progeny. The presence of 60Co, 134,137Cs, 154,155Eu, and 241Am in all soil layers down to a depth of 30 cm was observed. The presence of 137Cs and 241Am was noted in the area containing automorphous soils to a depth of 60 cm. In addition, the upper soil layers at the test site were found to contain 243Am and 243Ñm. Over the past 10 years, the 241Am/137Cs ratio in soil at the experimental site has increased by a factor of 3.4, nearly twice as much as would be predicted based solely on radioactive decay. This may be due to "fresh" fallout emanating from the ChNPP Confinement Shelter.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Americium / analysis
  • Cesium Radioisotopes / analysis
  • Chernobyl Nuclear Accident*
  • Cobalt Radioisotopes / analysis
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Radioactive Fallout / analysis*
  • Soil Pollutants, Radioactive / analysis*
  • Trees*
  • Ukraine
  • Uranium / analysis


  • Cesium Radioisotopes
  • Cobalt Radioisotopes
  • Radioactive Fallout
  • Soil Pollutants, Radioactive
  • Uranium
  • Americium