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Clay again

Dear Reader,

Again we are turning out attention to clay, clay is a wonderful substance on which we play tennis on, make pots from and create art with. Clay is also important when cesium gets into our soil. I recently wrote a little on the subject of the clay minerals in the soils in Japan. Here is a useful set of lecture notes on silicate minerals, most clays seem to be silicates.

I have recently read that the soil from Japan holds tightly onto cesium, when soil which was contaminated by the Fukushima event was soaked in 1 M ammonium chloride solution (at 25 oC) only about 20 % of the cesium radioactivity was liberated from the soil. Then when this soil was treated with 1 M acetic acid only about 10 % more of the cesium was liberated from the soil.

It was also found that treatment with 1 milimole per litre sulphuric acid only was able to liberate less than 1 % of the radioactivity while 1 mole per litre sulphuric acid was able to liberate about half the cesium.

These findings suggest it will be hard to wash the cesium out of the soil, but if the soil is washed with ammonium chloride then the remaining cesium will be hard to transfer to plants. I suspect that as time goes on that the amount of cesium which can be transferred to the plants will become less and less as the cesium becomes more and more fixed to the minerals in the soil.

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One Response

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