Cosmogenic 22Na, 7Be and terrestrial 137Cs, 40K radionuclides in ground level air samples collected weekly in Kraków (Poland) over years 2003-2006

J Radioanal Nucl Chem. 2014;300(2):747-756. doi: 10.1007/s10967-014-3049-6. Epub 2014 Mar 9.


A low background gamma spectrometer with an Etruscan, 2500 years old lead shield and a muon veto detector were applied to study 22Na and 7Be activity concentration in ground level air aerosol samples collected weekly over the years 2003-2006 in Kraków. Each sample was formed with ca 100 000 m3 of passed air, collected with two parallel ASS-500 high volume air samplers. The results for 40K and 137Cs are also presented for reference and comparison. Presented frequency distributions for activity concentration and correlation between the obtained results are discussed. The activity concentration results confirmed seasonal variation of activity to be different for all the investigated radionuclides. Moreover, the seasonal variation in nucleus activity ratio was also noticed for 22Na and 7Be. Cosmogenic radionuclides being mainly of stratospheric origin, are subsequently attached to fine aerosols, via which they are transported to the ground level air. The mean aerosol transport time within the troposphere was estimated as equal to 7.5 days on average, reaching even 50 days in warm seasons. Limitations of the applied model were identified.

Keywords: 137Cs; 22Na; 40K; 7Be; Aerosol retention time; Cosmogenic radionuclides; Low background gamma spectrometry; Radioactivity of air.