Determination of cesium transfer factors by instrumental neutron activation analysis

G. Bátor, A. Bednár, T. J. Glover, T. Kovács, S. Landsberger

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Food-chain models are used to predict radionuclide ingestion after fallout deposition. These models include those transfer processes (soil-to-plant transfer factor(s) [TF], plant-to-animal transfer coefficient(s) [TC] and concentration ratio [CR]) that are likely to be important for radiological assessment. The range of variability for transfer factors for the same plant groups is great, about 4–5 orders of magnitude, which limits their applicability. A better way to determine the best estimate the factors for radiocaesium and other important radionuclides is if the site-specific data are available. Soil, plant and animal samples were collected from a pasture area in Hungary during the vegetation period in 2016. Stable 133Cs concentration was analysed by comparative method with neutron activation analysis (NAA). The comparator and the samples were irradiated in thermal neutron flux 2.55 × 1012 ncm−2s−1 for 2 h (soil) and 6 h (vegetation, animal samples) in the TRIGA Mark II research reactor at the Nuclear Engineering Teaching Laboratory. After an appropriate decay time (12 days) the samples were measured by gamma-spectrometry and analysed. The observed stable caesium TCpm (0.48–0.53) and CRpm (0.41–0.45) were very close to 137Cs factors in the IAEA 2009 Report of 0.49 and 0.54, respectively. This methodology is particularly suitable for the simultaneous study of natural caesium in ecosystem compartments. Consequently, the transfer of stable caesium in a pasture field may be regarded as a useful analogy in predicting the long-term changes of 137Cs affected by site-specific environmental factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-21
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Environmental Radioactivity
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2018



  • Cesium
  • Neutron activation analysis
  • Transfer factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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