Factors affecting the sorption of cesium in a nutrient-poor boreal bog

Merja Lusa (Corresponding Author), Malin Bomberg, Sinikka Virtanen, Janne Lempinen, Hanna Aromaa, Jenna Knuutinen, Jukka Lehto

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    135Cs is among the most important radionuclides in the long-term safety assessments of spent nuclear fuel, due to its long half-life of 2.3 My and large inventory in spent nuclear fuel. Batch sorption experiments were conducted to evaluate the sorption behavior of radiocesium (134Cs) in the surface moss, peat, gyttja, and clay layers of 7-m-deep profiles taken from a nutrient-poor boreal bog. The batch distribution coefficient (Kd) values of radiocesium increased as a function of sampling depth. The highest Kd values, with a geometric mean of 3200 L/kg dry weight (DW), were observed in the bottom clay layer and the lowest in the 0.5-1.0 m peat layer (50 L/kg DW). The maximum sorption in all studied layers was observed at a pH between 7 and 9.5. The in situ Kd values of 133Cs in surface Sphagnum moss, peat and gyttja samples were one order of magnitude higher than the Kd values obtained using the batch method. The highest in situ Kd values (9040 L/kg DW) were recorded for the surface moss layer. The sterilization of fresh surface moss, peat, gyttja and clay samples decreased the sorption of radiocesium by 38%, although the difference was not statistically significant. However, bacteria belonging to the genera Pseudomonas, Paenibacillus, Rhodococcus and Burkholderia isolated from the bog were found to remove radiocesium from the solution under laboratory conditions. The highest biosorption was observed for Paenibacillus sp. V0-1-LW and Pseudomonas sp. PS-0-L isolates. When isolated bacteria were added to sterilized bog samples, the removal of radiocesium from the solution increased by an average of 50% compared to the removal recorded for pure sterilized peat. Our results demonstrate that the sorption of radiocesium in the bog environment is dependent on pH and the type of the bog layer and that common environmental bacteria prevailing in the bog can remove cesium from the solution phase.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)22-32
    JournalJournal of Environmental Radioactivity
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • sorption
    • cesium
    • peat
    • bacteria
    • radionuclides
    • radioactive waste


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