Developing field-scale, gentle remediation options for nuclear sites contaminated with 137Cs and 90Sr: The role of Nature-Based Solutions
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The remediation of contaminated land using plants, bacteria and fungi has been widely examined, especially in laboratory or greenhouse systems where conditions are precisely controlled. However, in real systems at the field scale conditions are much more variable and often produce different outcomes, which must be fully examined if ‘gentle remediation options’, or GROs, are to be more widely implemented, and their associated benefits (beyond risk-management) realized. These secondary benefits can be significant if GROs are applied correctly, and can include significant biodiversity enhancements. Here, we assess recent developments in the field-scale application of GROs for the remediation of two model contaminants for nuclear site remediation (90Sr and 137Cs), their risk management efficiency, directions for future application and research, and barriers to their further implementation at scale. We also discuss how wider benefits, such as biodiversity enhancements, water filtration etc. can be maximized at the field-scale by intelligent application of these approaches.