Environmental Radioactivity Laboratory - University of Stirling

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Examples of environmental radioactivity research

The laboratory specialises in characterising the spatial and temporal dynamics and impacts of radioactivity in the environment. Examples include: 

  • Mapping intertidal radionuclide concentrations and estimating sediment and radionuclide fluxes over ebb and flood tide sequences through airborne remote sensing (NERC).
  • Bioavailability of 99Tc in soil plant-systems where contaminated seaweed is used as a soil conditioner.
  • Accurate in-situ gamma spectrometry determination of salt 137Cs inventories and activity depth distribution.
  • Detecting contamination induced tree stress within the Chernobyl exclusion zone as a bio-indicator of ecological stress.
  • Assessment of 131I in sewage pellets after the Fukushima accident
  • Effectiveness of potassium application to land as a countermeasure against 137Cs contamination.
  • Radium contaminated land investigation - Systematic site investigation undertaken using, augering and in situ gamma spectrometry to locate and characterise 226Ra particles

Applied research

  • Tracing and quantifying environmental processes such as soil erosion, sediment accretion through 137Cs and 210Pb dating has formed a significant part of laboratory activities.  Examples include:
  • Novel measurement of soil movement in cultivated fields through in-situ gamma ray spectrometry.
  • Assessing the risk to archaeological crop marks from soil tillage.
  • Measuring sediment accretion rates in salt marsh environments through in-situ gamma ray spectrometry.
  • Dating lakes and coastal sediment accumulation rates through 210Pb and 137Cs profiling.

  • Dating peat profiles through 210Pb for landscape reconstruction.

137Cs Distribution Map

Preliminary results from the first in-situ gamma spectrometry survey of the UK's Soil and Herbage Pollution Survey, 2002.



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Last updated 24 February, 2014
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