School of Earth and Environment

Gemma Woodward Gemma Woodward

Postgraduate Researcher

Email address:
Room: 8.154p

Affiliation: Earth Surface Science Institute


I am a PhD student working with Dr. Ian Burke and Dr. Caroline Peacock at the University of Leeds. My project involves researching cobalt interactions in soils and how this would impact remediation after a contamination event.

I volunteer with the Student Union's Conservation Society, and I enjoy krav maga and reading.

Follow me on twitter @glw_93


  • BSc Environmental Science (Hons.), University of Leeds 2011 - 2014
    • Thesis: The Co-Sorption of Copper and Zinc by Iron and Manganese Oxyhydroxides: Implications for Remediation of Heavy Metals in Mine Affected Areas

Research Interests

Geochemical behaviour of heavy metals in aqueous systems.

Project details

Project title

Effect of ageing on clean-up of dusts and soils after a nuclear contamination event.


Ian Burke and Caroline Peacock



Start date

1st October 2014

Project outline

Radioactive contamination may be result in soils and dusts as a result from:
• Non-intentional releases including accidents from industrial sites, universities and hospitals, materials in transit or naturally-occurring radioactive material (NORM).
• Deliberate or authorised release of radioactivity;
• Improvised radiological devices (‘Dirty Bombs’);
• Deliberate use of nuclear or improvised nuclear devices;
• Other terrorist acts;

Decontamination is not an automatic or inevitable response to radioactive release incidents. Whether or not to initiate decontamination procedures will depend on the assessment of the nature of the incident by first responders. Hence following a radiological release in an urban area there will likely be a time-delay between the event(s) occurring and the subsequent clean-up operations. Such delays may have significant effect on the effectiveness of decontamination efforts.

I will be investigating the effect of soil and dust aging on the ease with which particulate radionuclides can be removed from urban soils and dusts, following a nuclear accident or a terrorist attack. I will study the effect of aging on radionuclide release as material becomes more readily incorporated into the soil matrix through physical movement and chemical reaction.