Depth Profile of 137Cs Fallout in Soil in Cameron Highlands


  • Zaini Hamzah
  • Che Yasmin Amirudin
  • Ahmad Saat



Depth Profile, 137Cs method, Gamma Spectrometer, Cameron Highlands,


137Cs is one of the important man-made radionuclide introduced into the environment through nuclear weapons testing and nuclear accidents. In Cameron Highlands meaningful activity concentration of 137Cs radionuclide has been measured. The present study embarked on the determination of 137Cs activity concentration in soils of the sloping area. This would enable the distribution profile in the soil be investigated. Soil profile samples were collected by using scrapper plate in the sloping area which covers top, centre and bottom of the hills and a core in the forest for comparison purpose. The scrapper is 40 cm long and able to obtain slice of 2 cm interval of soil with diameter of 15.2 cm. Soil samples were oven dried, ground, sieved, homogenize and seal properly into a plastic container. The 137Cs activity concentration was measured by using low background coaxial hyper pure germanium detector gamma spectrometer based on 137Cs 661.66 KeV gamma ray. Results showed there were trend of low activity on the top of the hill and subsequently increases downhill. In all location, two trends of profiles were observed starting from the depth of 0 cm to 18 cm and 18 cm to 30 cm which indicating the presence of two sources of 137Cs. The 137Cs activity concentrations range detected at top location was from 0.05 Bq/kg to 1.53 Bq/kg, centre was 0.22 Bq/kg to 2.11 Bq/kg, bottom was from 0.00 Bq/kg to 2.03 Bg/kg and forest was 0.00 Bq/kg to 0.96 Bq/kg. The basic parameters of the soil such as pH (top; 3.72, centre; 4.26, bottom; 4.02), density (top; 1.45 g/m3, centre; 1.41 g/m3 , bottom; 1.59 g/m3 ) and organic matter content (top; 17.08 %, centre; 16.75 %, bottom; 20.32 %) also being tested. These results show that the relative activity concentration of 137Cs at the top is lowest, while at the bottom is highest, representing the presence of downward transport. However, identical pattern of profiles were observed at the three points of the slopes.


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