Soil amendments with zeolite and vermiculite were expected to prevent radiocaesium (137Cs) dissolution and uptake from the soil by plants. In this study, we investigated how zeolite and vermiculite added to soil influence the radiocaesium fixation with ageing. Zeolite and vermiculite were mixed with soil (1 wt%) before or after the addition of carrier-free caesium-137 (137Cs) to soils with different radiocaesium interception potential (RIP), which is related to the capacity of the soil to fix trace radiocaesium. Then, the soils were exposed for repeated wet and dry cycles to accelerate 137Cs immobilization, and its extractability by 1 mol L-1 ammonium acetate was determined before and after 30 dry and wet cycles. Before accelerated ageing (i.e before dry and wet cycles), when 137Cs was adsorbed on the soil before the addition of the amendments, the addition of zeolite and vermiculite caused a decrease in the amount of exchangeable 137Cs in low-RIP soils but an increase in the amount of exchangeable 137Cs in high-RIP soils. The amount of exchangeable 137Cs was significantly decreased after accelerated ageing regardless of the application of amendments. However, radiocaesium fixation with accelerated ageing was partly inhibited by the addition of zeolite, regardless of the RIP values. The 137Cs adsorbed on highly selective sites in zeolite is exchangeable by 1 mol L-1 ammonium acetate. Thus, because a portion of the 137Cs is selectively adsorbed on highly selective sites in zeolite, the redistribution of 137Cs to frayed edge site followed by ageing-induced fixation was likely limited. However, when 137Cs was adsorbed on the soil before the addition of the amendments, the addition of zeolite and vermiculite had little influence on the amount of exchangeable 137Cs. In conclusion, the use of realistic doses of zeolite and vermiculite as agricultural amendments is not effective in enhancing the immobilization of radiocaesium in soil.
Keywords: Ageing; Exchangeable (137)Cs; Radiocesium interception potential; Vermiculite; Wet-and-dry treatment; Zeolite.
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