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........ published in NEWSLETTER # 59

by Professor F.F. Luykx, International Union of Radioecology, Tervuren (Belgium)
A NATO Advanced Study Institute was held in June 1995 in Zarechny, Southern Urals, Russia, on radioecology applied to heavily radioactive-contaminated sites. The present book (NATO ASI SERIES 2-13)is based on the lectures presented at that ASI.

Many nuclear facilities built since the Second World War have ceased active operation and have been decommisioned. Some of these sites are heavily contaminated with radioactive substances. Correct and efficient actions to mitigate the radiological consequences of such contamination will only be possible when the behaviour of radionuclides in the terrestrial environment is sufficiently well known. Yet, radioecologists often find it difficult to understand the transfer of radioactivity in agricultural land and seminatural ecosystems, because of the complexity and diversity of such environments.

The volume tries to give an analysis of the most important factors affecting the behaviour of radionuclides as they move from their point of release through the environment and then enter the tissues of biota living in the ecosystems, in particular plants and animals consumed by humans.

The ASI, on which this book is based, was held in a region which is severely contaminated due to radioactive discharges into the environment during nuclear weapon fabrication in the 1950s and '60s, and to an accidental release following the explosion of a rad-waste tank in 1957. Several of the lecturers are directly involved in radioecological work in this area and could contribute their personal experience to the ASI. The book's main emphasis is, therefore, on the specific radioecological problems encountered in heavily contaminated areas in the former Soviet Union: the southern Urals, the rivers Techa-Isert-Tobol-Irtis-Ob, and the Chernobyl area.

Systems examined include arable and pasture land, forests, lakes and rivers. Special attention is paid to the effects of radiation on natural ecosystems, trees, soil-dwelling organisms, and aquatic organisms. The advantages and disadvantages of short, medium and long term countermeasures are discussed.
Reference books: 2-10, 2-13

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