Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Suspended sediment reduced by rapid redistribution after Fukushima refining

Researchers at the University of Tsukuba found that soil decontamination efforts at Fukushima lead to rapid declines in sustained, high levels of suspended sediment and radiocesium particles, and that rapid vegetation recovery shortens the duration of unstable turbidity effects.

The effects of increased sediment load in rivers during the recovery phase after a nuclear accident are an important consideration in refining efforts. Researchers in Japan have discovered that with some planning, the destabilizing effects of these efforts can be reduced.

In a study published this month nature stabilityA research group led by the University of Tsukuba has revealed that although the initial effects of the increased sediment load in the rivers due to the Fukushima refining efforts were unsustainable, a number of factors worked in favor of the region to reduce these effects.

On 11 March 2011, the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan released large amounts of radiocesium into the landscape, resulting in long-term radioactive contamination of the large nearby catchment. Mechanical decontamination, used to recover contaminated areas such as Chernobyl, was conducted by the Japanese government in Fukushima in the year following the accident.

“First, the focus has been mostly directed towards understanding the issues caused by the on-site decontamination effect and the regurgitation of atmospheric particles,” says Professor Yuichi Onda, corresponding author of the study. “Much was not known about whether these disturbances have long-term, secondary effects on downstream catchments.”

To investigate these effects, the researchers conducted a comprehensive impact assessment. They found that the potential for regional erosion increased during the decontamination phase, but declined in the later phase. Suspended sediment levels increased by more than 237% in 2016 compared to 2013. Modeling indicated that the slow increase in sediment from dehydrated areas resulted in a rapid decline in particulate radiocesium, but that there was no significant change in the downstream radiocesium discharge after decontamination.

However, because continuous, high levels of turbidity (measurement of water clouds or haze) in rivers affect water use by local residents and the structure of regional aquatic food chains, unstable downstream effects caused by upstream refinements are of major importance. Huh. Vegetation recovery after land development largely depends on local conditions; Both Fukushima’s high rainfall levels and the soil used for decontamination enabled rapid vegetation recovery, reducing the duration of such impacts.

“Our results showed that mechanical decontamination upstream caused sustained high levels of suspended sediment downstream, but with low radiocesium concentrations, and that accelerated vegetation recovery could reduce how long these destabilizing effects persisted. Live,” says Professor Onda.

The study highlights the need for future remedial projects, which include measures such as pre-assessment of the natural restoration potential of local landscapes and, where necessary, appropriate remediation steps into the catchment regulatory framework, Which will reduce the impacts of long-term decontamination activities on the downstream environment.

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material provided by University of Tsukubas, Note: Content can be edited for style and length.

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