The analysis of the radioactive aerosol scavenging by rain after the Chernobyl accident highlights some differences between the modelling studies and the environmental measurements. Part of this gap is due to the uncertainties on the scavenging efficiency of aerosol particles by raindrops, in particular for drops with a diameter larger than one millimeter. The IRSN (Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire) has decided to launch an experimental study to measure with a better accuracy the scavenging efficiency of large raindrops.

The scavenging efficiency of aerosol has been determined by measuring precisely the mass of aerosol particles collected by a single drop after its path through an atmosphere loaded with particles.

The collection efficiencies for drop diameters of 2 mm and 2.6 mm (previously unknown for atmospheric aerosols) are measured. The impact of these new data on modeling of the washout of the atmosphere by the rain is noticed.

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