SREL Reprint #0685




Increased Cesium Uptake by Water Tupelo Under Inundated Conditions

K. W. McLeod and D. L. Dawson



Low level releases of 137Cs to streams have occurred from existing nuclear production facilities located on the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Savannah River Plant (SRP) near Aiken, South Carolina U.S.A. This has resulted in concentrations of 137Cs greater than background levels in soils, sediments and plants of the bottomland and swamp forest (Ga75a; Ga75b; Sh75).  Plant to soil concentration ratio (CR) of 137Cs varies widely, and depends on many environmental factors as well as the species involved (Da75).  Aquatic macrophytes grown under flooded conditions show higher plant to soil concentration ratios than when grown in nonflooded soils (Sh75; Pe60).  Response to inundation varies considerably between species, due to morphological characteristics, such as production of adventitious roots, and physiological characteristics, such as oxygen transport from aerial plant parts to roots and ability for roots to anerobically respire.  Thus, the effect of inundation on rates of nutrient absorption would vary according to the ability to tolerate inundation.  Therefore, the response of woody vegetation, which generally cannot survive continuous inundation, may be considerably different from aquatic macrophytes.

The objective of this study was to determine the effect of inundation on the absorption of 137Cs by water tupelo.  Water tupelo (Nyssa aquatica) was chosen for study because of its dominance in the Savannah River swamp and its ability to survive and grow well under flooded conditions.


SREL Reprint #0685

McLeod, K.W. and D.L. Dawson. 1980. Increased cesium uptake by water tupelo under inundated conditions. Health Physics 39:809-812.

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