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Entry, James A., Lidia S. Watrud, Robin S. Manasse, and Nan C. Vance. 1997. Phytoremediation and reclamation of soils contaminated with radionuclides. In: Ellen L. Kruger, T. A. Anderson, and J.R. Coats, editors, Phytoremediation of Soil and Water Contaminants, ACS Symposium Series 664. American Chemical Society, Washington, D.C., pp. 299-306.>

As a result of both nuclear testing and nuclear reactor accidents, large areas of land have become contaminated with low concentrations of radionuclides. Removal, transport and treatment of large volumes of soil may be logistically difficult and cost prohibitive. Using plants to remove low concentrations of radionuclides from soil in situ is expected to be less costly than mechanical, physical or chemical methods, particularly for treatment over large areas. Phytoremediation is applicable to a wide range of terrestrial environments and plants can be selected for given soil and climatic conditions. Phytoremediation of contaminated sites should also leave treated sites amenable to subsequent reclamation efforts.

The points to consider for initial phytoremediation and subsequent reclamation of contaminated soils include (a) enhancement of efficacy by addition of mycorrhizal or bacterial inocula, chilatling agents or organic amendments, (b) periodic harvests to recover or dispose of radionuclides in the ashed plant materials, (c) minimization of potential environmental effects on non-target organisms, and (d) replacement of the initial remediating species with a complex plant community.

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