Can "sea purslane" flora near nuclear facilities remove cesium from soil?

November 2, 2022, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Sesuvium portulacastrum (Photo: David Eickhoff/Wikicommoms)

The authors of a study that was recently published in Advances in Agriculture have recommended that the plant Sesuvium portulacastrum, commonly known as sea purslane, “be cultivated in [cesium]-contaminated soils and near nuclear power plants for phytoremediation.” The researchers found that S. portulacastrum is a “hyper-accumulator” of radioactive cesium isotopes, which are byproducts of nuclear fission reactions in nuclear reactors. The study results suggested that these plants could efficiently remove the toxic metallic chemicals from contaminated soil around nuclear facilities.