[ RadSafe ] Chernobyl's radioactive trees and the forest fire risk

Dan McCarn hotgreenchile at gmail.com
Sun Jul 8 19:09:29 CDT 2012


Because the Contaminated Territories include "non-economic" forests
due to contamination, and there are only limited efforts for
fire-control.  Forest fires do significantly redistribute
radionuclides (R/Ns).

Many important R/Ns concentrate in the upper 10-15 cm of soil where
they are cation-exchanged onto decaying humus material (e.g. Cs, Sr).
During forest fires, the upper soil zone burns, causing these
concentrated R/Ns to be released in the plume of heat / smoke.  The
forests around Chernobyl contain peat-forming soils with very little
mineral content.  They have about the same caloric content as the wood
in the trees.

Burning contaminated forest material does not significantly contribute
to airborne release of R/Ns because the bottom / top ash retains the
contaminants.  We planned to do polymer encapsulation of the ash and
disposal into a shallow repository (~1000 year retention).

I published 2 papers on concept focused on using contaminated forest
material for bio-mass power engineering back in 1996 while working at
the Sosny Nuclear Lab near Minsk in '95 and '96.  We developed a
duty-free / tax-free zone, but the investment "encouragement" was not
enough in the face of the politics in Belarus.

McCarn, D., Dubovik, L., Iakoushev, A., and Grebenkov, A. (1996): The
Ecological-Commerce (ECO-COM) Zone Concept for Developing Biomass
Energy from Contaminated Resources: A New Demonstration Zone for the
Republic of Belarus, in International Topical Meeting on Nuclear and
Hazardous Waste Management, Seattle, Washington, August 18-23, 1996,
pp. 1417-1424.

Grebenkov, A. and McCarn, D.W. (1996): The US-Belarus Joint Projects
Associated with Remediation of the Chernobyl Contaminated Sites,
Environmental Opportunities in Central and Eastern Europe and the
Newly Independent States, in Partnerships for Solutions Forum,
Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado, p. 19-35.

If anyone is interested in these concepts, I'd be delighted to discuss them.


Dan ii

Dan W McCarn, Geologist
108 Sherwood Blvd
Los Alamos, NM 87544-3425
+1-505-672-2014 (Home – New Mexico)
+1-505-670-8123 (Mobile - New Mexico)
HotGreenChile at gmail.com (Private email) HotGreenChile at gmail dot com

On Sun, Jul 8, 2012 at 2:38 PM, Lawrence Jacobi
<rjacobi at jacobiconsulting.net> wrote:
> According to the story below, Professore Sergiy Zibtsev, from the Forestry Institute at the Kiev University of Life Sciences, is evaluating the potential for a fire in the pine forest around Chernobyl to spread major amounts of radioactivity to offsite areas, including the Ukraine and Western Europe.  While my intuition tells me that will not be the case, I was wondering if anyone who is more experienced than me in terrestrial radiation ecology has more insight or a different opinion.
> I remember reading about the "red forest" around Chernobyl caused by the death of the existing pine trees, which I attributed to the massive doses received by the forest 25 years ago; but, not necessarily attributable to ongoing irradiation from contamination.  I also remember reading about an experimental reactor in the USA that was purposelly allowed to go critical while suspended in air, leading to the death of nearby pine trees.  Does anyone remember the name of that facility?
> http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18721292
> _______________________________________________
> You are currently subscribed to the RadSafe mailing list
> Before posting a message to RadSafe be sure to have read and understood the RadSafe rules. These can be found at: http://health.phys.iit.edu/radsaferules.html
> For information on how to subscribe or unsubscribe and other settings visit: http://health.phys.iit.edu

More information about the RadSafe mailing list