Main content area

Accumulation of radionuclides and heavy metals in vegetables and greens in zones of the Armenian nuclear power plant

Ghalachyan, L.M., Kocharyan, K.A., Tadevosyan, L.S., Aristakesyan, A.A., Asatryan, A.Z.
Acta horticulturae 2014 no.1033 pp. 53-57
Cucurbita pepo, aerosols, basil, cauliflower, celery, chromium, copper, crops, cucumbers, dill, ecosystems, eggplants, food production, green beans, heavy metals, humans, intensive farming, iron, irrigation, irrigation water, lakes, lead, leaves, lettuce, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, nuclear power, nutrition, onions, parsley, pepper, planting, potatoes, power plants, radio, radionuclides, river water, rivers, rooting, smoke, soil, strontium, tomatoes, vegetation
Artificial radionuclides (ARN - (90)Sr-T(1/2)=28.6 years, (137)Cs-T(1/2)=30.1 years) and heavy metals (HM - Fe, Mn, Ni, Mo, Pb, V, Ti, Cu, Cr) can penetrate into the human organism through the water-soil-plant chain and cause different diseases. The Armenian nuclear power plant (ANPP) is in a densely populated area of the Ararat Valley with intensive agriculture. ANPP uses the water of the River Metsamor. The waters that come out of the ANPP fall into the Metsamor River which is used for crop irrigation. Since 1996 we have carried out radiomonitoring researches in water-soil-plant ecosystems in zones of the ANPP within a radius of 2-15 km. The aim of our studies is to develop practical radio protective strategies to achieve ecologically pure food production. Our investigation has shown that the content of (90)Sr fluctuated between 3.7-8.8 Bq/kg and (137)Cs between 5.7-13.1 Bq/kg in spices crops (basil, celery, dill, parsley, lettuce). The (90)Sr content fluctuated between 1.0-7.2 Bq/kg and (137)Cs between 3.5-7.5 Bq/kg in the other crops (pepper, tomato, eggplant, vegetable marrow, string beans, cucumber, potato, cauliflower, onion). HM contents in spicy crops fluctuated widely (416.7-1513.9 mg/kg; in other crops 125.2-744.3 mg/kg). This is likely due to the joint influence of factors vegetation period, mineral nutrition, rooting patterns, watering regime, anatomical structure and size of leaves. We can conclude that ARN and HM penetrated into crops through irrigation water (artesian, Metsamor River, Akna Lake), from the soil as well as the atmosphere (dust, smoke and aerosol). Frequent watering of spicy herbs promoted ARN and HM migration from irrigation water and soils in the hot and dry soil-climate conditions of the Ararat Valley. It is important to note that ARN content did not exceed the MACL in planting material, while the HM (Fe, Ni, Cr, Pb) exceed edit.