Conceptualization of arid region radioecology strategies for agricultural ecosystems of the United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Prasoon Raj, Nemeer Padiyath, Natalia Semioshkina, Yacine Addad, Francois Foulon, Diana Francis, Gabriele Voigt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Since the last decade, ambitious nuclear power programmes have begun maturing in the Arab countries, most importantly in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The region's environment and population, therefore, are prone to adverse, long-term impacts of radionuclide discharges. To calculate the associated exposure scenarios, to estimate doses and their consequences, and finally, to lay out a radiological emergency management plan, arid region radioecology is taking shape in the UAE as a major field of research. Geography, demography, food habits, weather, soil, water, flora, and fauna of the desert-marine regions are quite distinct from their temperate counterparts. This results in the need to increase the knowhows of environmental migration and bioaccumulation of radionuclides in the region's agricultural ecosystems. In this paper, we present a detailed review of the measured data from the UAE and nearby nations, generating insights for the soil radioactivity and soil-to-plant transfer phenomena under local arid conditions. In the literature, the radionuclide activity concentrations (in Bq kg−1) vary over five orders of magnitude depending on nuclide type, sample type, and locality. Variabilities over six orders of magnitude are observed for transfer parameters too, and in-depth studies on the transfer mechanisms are usually scarce. We discuss the recent progresses made in root and foliar uptake studies with methods relatively new to sandy soils, like controlled potting, and soil Kd measurements. Showing the serious gaps in the data and interpretations, we provide a justification for the immediate experimentation in the understudied aspects of radioecology in the UAE and in arid lands in general.

Original languageBritish English
Article number154965
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2022


  • Agriculture
  • Arid region
  • Radioecology
  • Transfer factors
  • United Arab Emirates


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