Transfer of Radionuclides in Arid and Semi-Arid Environments for Radiological Environmental Impact Assessment

Closed for proposals

Project Type

Coordinated Research Project

Project Code




Approved Date

24 March 2021


Active - Ongoing

Start Date

20 October 2021

Expected End Date

31 December 2026

Participating Countries

Russian Federation
United Arab Emirates
United Republic of Tanzania
United States of America


The safe, sustainable planning and operation of facilities and activities, such as nuclear installations and uranium facilities in regions characterized by arid or semi-arid climate, requires science-based knowledge on radionuclides fate and transfer processes, and related data for radiological environmental impact assessment (REIA) within these regions. However, although significant work has been undertaken for temperate climatic conditions, major knowledge and parameter data gap has been identified for arid and semi-arid regions under the IAEA’s Modelling and Data for Radiological Impact Assessments II (MODARIA II) programme ( It is important to acknowledge that there are differences in soil and crop types, soil physicochemical characteristics, agriculture practices and food consumption habits in arid areas in different parts of the world, in comparison to temperate or tropical regions. Therefore, the key fate and transfer mechanisms governing the transfer of radionuclides between different environmental media and within the food chain can differ. Moreover, the rise in global temperatures has led to increasing arid and desert-like areas in many regions worldwide, with significant changes of soil and crop properties.The Expert Group under MODARIA II Working Group 4 (WG4):Transfer Processes and Data for Radiological Impact Assessment, Subgroup 3 (SG3) on Transfer Parameters in Non-Temperate Systems proposed that it would be beneficial to continue this work within the framework of a Coordinated Research Project (CRP). The overall objective of this CRP is to improve REIA for arid and semi-arid regions in support of effective decision-making and to ensure the protection of the public and the environment. Soil-to-plant transfer parameter datasets derived according to a standard protocol and experimental conditions will be established for radionuclides important for REIA, and for plant groups specific to arid/semi-arid regions, to address the existing gaps in data.


To contribute to the improvement of radiological environmental impact assessments for arid and semi-arid regions in support of effective decision-making and to ensure the protection of the public and the environment

Specific objectives

To establish a protocol and guidelines for determination of soil-to-plant transfer parameters for the most important food-plant groups in arid and semi-arid regions to ensure the representativeness of data (including experimental set-up, sampling and data evaluation) and to fill in the gaps identified from the MODARIA II arid dataset

To enhance the number and quality of transfer parameter data underlying the models used to predict activity concentrations in foodstuffs and biota in arid and semi-arid regions

To identify specific radionuclides, their stable analogues and food-plant groups in arid and semi-arid environments showing significant differences in transfer compared to non-arid regions and possibly relevant for REIA

To enhance networking and to support optimization and harmonization of radioecological research activities of IAEA Member States in support of the assessment of radiological impacts in arid and semi-arid environments

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