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Microbial destruction of 137Cs radioactivity.

Ludwik Kowalski

Montclair State University, New Jersey, USA

August, 31, 2011

According to V. Vysotskii and A.Kornilova, the radioactive 137Cs (half-life 30 years) can be destroyed by bacteria. In an experiment described at (1) they introduced 260,900 Bk of 137Cs into a solution containing several chemical substances and bacteria. By natural decay the activity after 100 days would be reduced by 1670 Bk. But the actually measured reduction of radioactivity, after 100 days, turned out to be 51,100 Bk, plus or minus 1000. In other words, the reduction due to bacteria was 29 times larger than the reduction due to natural decay.

All activities were measured by placing small solution-containing flasks (2 by 2 by 2 cm) on top of the 1- cm-wide detector (2). Flasks were hermetically sealed, to make sure that cesium does not escape into the air, in the form of a volatile compound. Absence of accumulation of a solid cesium compound, gradually precipitating toward the bottom of the flask, was confirmed in a control experiment (during which 137Cs was decaying in the same chemical solution but without bacteria.) The decrease of radioactivity, during that experiment, was very close to the expected 1670 Bk.

The above conclusion--bacteria were destroying radioactivity of cesium 30 times faster than natural decay--was based on the 100-days-long experiment. Another experiment, about 40 hours long, confirmed this conclusion, as graphically illustrated in (1). It occurred to me that data from that figure can be treated as if they came from six consecutive experiments, each about one-week-long. Each of these sub-experiments confirmed the bacterial effect, both qualitatively and quantitatively. In that sense one can say that reported results were “ fully reproducible” in Kiev’s laboratory. Would experiments performed in other laboratories lead to the same conclusion? This remains to be seen.


1) Vladimir Vysotskii and Ala Kornolova, Nuclear transmutation of radioactive isotopes and reactor waste deactivation in biological systems. Click to download

2) V. Vysotskii, personal email communication (August 30, 2011)

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