Andrii Oleksandrenko, PhD Candidate

Thesis title: Fallout radionuclides as markers of the start of the Anthropocene

The main objective of this study is to determine the beginning of the Anthropocene, using fallen radionuclides mainly from open-air atomic bomb testing. Historical bomb testing could be a good indicator of certain periods in human history, as small particles from it are rising up to the stratosphere, dispersing from a long distance, and settling down on the Earth’s surface. In this case, ombrotrophic (i.e., rain-fed) peat bogs could serve as the best natural archives of a long-term record of atmospheric deposition. The typical plant for such bogs is a Sphagnum moss which has no roots and “receives” all elements from the atmosphere, so there is a lower chance radionuclides are input from other sources (e.g., local groundwater). In order to date a certain layer of a core, Pb-210 age-dating is used.

Andrii was born in Ukraine, at a city located about 200 km from Chernobyl. Having the opportunity to see with his own eyes some of the long-term effects of radiation due to the terrible Chernobyl disaster, Andrii became fascinated with radiation and the preservation of the environment while a child.

Andrii completed a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Protection and Conservation of Nature at the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences (NULES, Kyiv, Ukraine) in 2016. While studying for a master’s degree (Environmental science, ecological audit) in NULES, he was able to continue his studies for an M.Sc.Eng. in France (Lille, Hauts-de-France region). During his studies in France (at ISA – Institut Supérieur d’Agriculture de Lille), he attended conferences dedicated to the remediation of polluted sites: CSME (France); EORTs (France), Interreg SUDOE (Spain), and some exchange programs for advanced training and experience exchange in the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. During the summer of 2018 Andrii had an internship in a groundwater remediation company “Ecosurvey” (Bologna, Italy), doing an examination and comparison of ISCO and P&T treatment techniques. During spring-summer 2019 he also had the opportunity to work at the “Laboratoire de Génie Civil et géoEnvironnement – LGCgE” (Lille, France), working on GIS and Geostatistics on the project of spatial quantification of different nitrogen flows in the Douaisis territory (Nord, Hauts de France).

After obtaining a Master of Science and Engineering degree (Major Environmental Science – Sustainable Management of Pollution),  accepted the opportunity to continue his studies as a PhD candidate in the SWAMP laboratory, University of Alberta (Edmonton, Canada), studying fallout radionuclides as markers of the start of the Anthropocene.