Future prospects for the 137 Cs technique for estimating soil erosion and sedimentation rates



Over the past five years the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has sponsored the implementation of two projects dealing with the application of the 137Cs technique in soil erosion and sedimentation studies respectively. The standardisation process of the technique undertaken worldwide by 25 scientists across a wide range of environments has brought forward several new issues requiring further development. For convenience, they have been arbitrarily grouped into three main topics: a) Improvement of the 137Cs technique itself, b) Potential use of other fallout radionuclides, and c) Practical applications of the technique for agricultural and environmental purposes. The overall aim of this review paper is to provide a consistent background on the important problems and limitations encountered by users of the 137Cs technique as a means to contribute to its improvement. Furt h e rmore ways/means to take advantage or greatly benefit of the technique are described for future development. Though the scientists participating in the projects mentioned above have made significant progress towards a standardised application of the 137Cs technique, considerable scope remains to improve further the technique and to exploit additional applications. The IAEA through research networks and other mechanisms is promoting further applications of 137Cs and other fallout radionuclides in soil erosion and sedimentation.

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