Accidental releases, nuclear weapons testing, and inadequate practices of radioactive waste disposal are the principal human activities responsible for radioactive contamination as a new and global form of soil degradation. Understanding the radionuclide distribution, mobility and bioavailability, as well as the changes caused by the variation of environmental conditions, is essential for soil rehabilitation. This chapter aims to highlight the importance of evaluating radionuclide distribution, for the selection of proper in situ or ex situ remediation strategy. Attention was focused onto remediation methods based on radioactive pollutants redistribution, for enhanced separation (chemical extraction) or containment (in situ immobilization). When the excavation and off-site leaching treatments are uneconomic, impractical, or unnecessary, in situ stabilization by the addition of appropriate reactive materials is an alternative approach. The optimization of factors in control of chemical leaching methods, selection of cost-effective immobilization agents, especially among suitable wastes and by-products, and verification of long-term effects of remediating actions are the major challenges for future investigation in this field. Furthermore, the improvement and standardization of the methods for radionuclide speciation are necessary to enable comparison between studies and monitoring of the effects achieved by the soil treatments.
Part of the book: Soil Contamination