The geochemistry of strontium-90 in peatlands of the European Subarctic of Russia

Document Type : Original Research Paper


Federal State Budgetary Institution of Science, Federal Research Center for Comprehensive Study of the Arctic named after Academician N.P. Laverov, Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 163020, Russia


The subject of this research is the vertical migration of strontium-90 in peatlands of the European Subarctic region of Russia. The activity level of strontium-90 has been determined in peat samples, and the physicochemical parameters of peat deposits have been studied. The specific activity of the radionuclide has been determined using beta radiometric methods with radiochemical preparation according to the methodology. The physicochemical parameters of the peat have been determined using weight-based methods according to the specified procedures. The influence of physicochemical parameters on the vertical migration of the radionuclide in peatlands has been evaluated using correlation analysis. The results have shown that the specific activity of strontium-90 in peat deposits ranges from 0.25 to 7.7 Bq/kg. The results are consistent with typical values for all soils in Russia. The average value of the specific activity of strontium-90 in peat deposits is estimated to be 1.5±0.02 Bq/kg, which is below the established minimum values and average parameters for all soils in Russia. The pathways of vertical migration of strontium-90 in peat deposits demonstrate a downward direction with various trajectories. These pathways serve as a trace of past global atmospheric radioactive fallout. The vertical migration of strontium-90 in peat is associated with the organic matter content, ash content in peatlands, and recent local atmospheric fallout from nuclear fuel facilities. The research results provide valuable information for predicting the migration of strontium-90 into aquifers under changing environmental conditions due to the Arctic's rapid climate warming.


Main Subjects

Antropov, P.Ya. (Eds.) (1958). Geology of the USSR. Vol. XXVII. Murmansk region. Part 1. Geological Description. (Moscow: Gosgeoltekhizdat)  
Bakhur, A.E. (2018). Interpretation of natural and technogenic radioactive anomalies in environmental objects. Prospecting and Subsoil Protection, 07, 58-62.  
Bakhvalov, A.V., Lavrent’eva, G.V., & Synzynys, B.I. (2012). Biogeochemical behavior of 90Sr in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. International Scientific and Applied Journal “Biosphere”, 2 (4), 206-216.
Chevychelov, A.P., & Sobakin, P.I. (2017). Migration of 137Cs and 90Sr in the soil-vegetative cover of the site of an underground nuclear explosion “Kraton-3”. Siberian Forestry Journal, 6, 64-75.
Eriksen, D.Ø., Sidhu, R., Ramsøy, T., Strålberg, E., Iden, K.I., Rye, H., Hylland, K., Ruus, A., & Berntssen, M.H.G. (2009). Radioactivity in produced water from Norwegian oil and gas installations – concentrations, bioavailability, and doses to marine biota, Radioprotect, 44, 869-874.
GOST Protection of Nature. Soils. General requirements for sampling. (2018). (Moscow: Standartinform)
GOST 26213-91. Soils. Methods for determining organic matter. (1992). (Moscow: Standards Publishing House)
GOST 27784-88. Soils. Method for determining the ash content of peat and peat-affected soil horizons. (1988). (Moscow: Standards Publishing House)
GOST 28268-89. Soils. Methods for determining moisture content, maximum hygroscopic moisture content, and moisture content at plant wilting. (2006). (Moscow: Standartinform)   
Grechkina, V.V., Lebedev, S.V., & Petrusha, Yu.K. (2020). Features of radionuclide accumulation by terrestrial mosses in different zones of Russia. International Journal of Humanities and Natural Sciences, 11-1(50), 13-16.
Hansson, S.V., Kaste, J.M., Olid, C., & Bindler, R. (2014). Incorporation of radiometric tracers in peat and implications for estimating accumulation rates. Science of the Total Environment, 493, 170-177.
Karcher, M., Harms, I., Standring, W.J.F., Dowdall, M., & Strand, P. (2010). On the potential for climate change impacts on marine anthropogenic radioactivity in the Arctic regions. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 60, 1151-1159.
Kasimov, N.S., & Borisenko, E.N. (2002). The formation and development of the doctrine of geochemical barriers. Geochemical barriers in the zone of hypergenesis, 6-37.   
Kizeev, A.N. (2015). The state of the natural environment in the area of the Kola Nuclear Power Plant (Murmansk region). International Scientific Bulletin (Bulletin of the Association of Orthodox Scholars), 2, 42-43.   
Maksimovich, N.G. & Khairulina, E.A. (2011). Geochemical barriers and environmental protection.  (Perm: Perm State University)   
Maximovich, N.G. (2010). Theoretical and applied aspects of using geochemical barriers for environmental protection. Engineering Geochemistry, September, 20-28.  
Methods for measuring the specific activity of strontium-90 (90Sr) in samples of soils, grounds, bottom sediments and rocks by the beta-radiometric method with radiochemical preparation. (2013). (Moscow: FGUP “VIMS”)
Mroz, T., Łokas, E., Kocurek, J., & Gasiorek, M. (2017). Atmospheric fallout radionuclides in peatland from Southern Poland Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 175-176, 25-33.
Omelyuk, V.V. (2020). Radiological and hygienic characterization of global radionuclide fallout in the Arctic regions of Russia (based on data from the P.V. Ramzaev Institute of Radiation Hygiene). Radiation Hygiene, 4 (13), 51-66.
Putilina, V.S., Galitskaya, I.V., & Yaganova, T.I. Sorption processes in the contamination of groundwater with heavy metals and radioactive elements. Strontium. Analytical review. (Novosibirsk: State Public Scientific and Technical Library of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences)  
Rakhimova, N.N., & Deligirova, V.V. (2020, March). Study of the profile migration of radionuclides Cesium-137 and Strontium-90 in various types of soils (Paper presented at the International Scientific Conference «Global science and innovations 2020», Tashkent: Eurasian Center for Innovative Development “DARA” Publishing House)      
Red Book of the Murmansk Region. (2003). (Murmansk: Murmansk Regional Publishing House) 
Report “On the State and Conservation of the Environment of the Nenets Autonomous Okrug in 2020”. Retrieved October 18, 2021, from   
Report “On the state and protection of the environment of the Murmansk region in 2020”. Retrieved April 03, 2021, from 
Resolution of the Chief State Sanitary Doctor of the Russian Federation dated 07.07.2009 № 47 “On the approval of SanPiN” Standards of radiation safety (NRB-99/2009)”. Retrieved April 01, 2022, from
Sysuev, V.V. (2021). Processes of formation and parameters of the landscape-geochemical barrier of a lowland bog. Geochemistry, 7(66), 646-658.  
Telelekovа, A.D., & Evseev, A.V. (2014). Radionuclides in the natural environment of the Kola Peninsula. Evolution and Dynamics of Geosystems, 5, 89-94.
Vasilyenko, I.Ya., & Vasilyenko, O.I. (2002). Radioactive Strontium. Energy: Economy, Technology, Ecology, 4, 26-32.
Vinichuk, M.M., Johanson, K.J., & Taylor, A. (2004). 137Cs in the fungal compartments of Swedish forest soils. Sci. Total Environ, 323, 243–251.
Yakovlev, E.Yu., Orlov, A.S., Ocheretenko, A.A., Druzhinin, S.V., & Druzhinina A.S. (2021). Radionuclides of atmospheric precipitation in peat-bog ecosystems of the European Subarctic of Russia (Paper presented at the Sixth International Field Symposium «West Siberian peatlands and the carbon cycle: past and present», Tomsk)