Keywords: radionuclides, soil fertility, germination, soil remediation, chemical treatment, radioisotopes, laboratory trials, soil contamination, radiation hazards, human health, environmental pollution, herbaceous plants, acid leaching solution, biomass production, bioavailability, pastures
Can chemical treatments to displace radioisotopes influence soil fertility? A laboratory trial
Soils contaminated with radionuclide pose a long–term radiation hazard to human health through exposure via the food chain and other pathways. Remediation of contaminated soils has become increasingly important. The feasibility to move radionuclides from superficial soil layers to a deeper level using an acid leaching solution was already illustrated previously. As this chemical treatment may influence soil equilibrium, its potential effect on germination and on the development of herbaceous plants was studied. Despite an initial delay in growth of treated plants, the same biomass production in the treated samples is reached after about one month since sowing. Even if germination is damaged by the chemical solution in a first short period, this effect is transitory. Therefore, the treatment based on this solution does not reduce the bioavailability in the uppermost soil horizon and does not compromise the yield of pastures land.