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INVESTIGATION OF THE LEAD 210 PATHWAYS VIA WASTE AIR AND WASTE WATER OF URANIUM MINING SITES

Objective

IN THE COURSE OF THIS PROJECT THE DISTRIBUTION AND TRANSPORTATION OF PB-210 AND OF THE PARENT NUCLIDE RN-222, RESPECTIVELY, ARE TO BE EXAMINED, WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO THE DEPOSITION ON PLANTS AND ON THE SOIL. THE REASON FOR THIS INVESTIGATION IS THE FACT THAT NATURAL RADIONUCLIDES CAN REPRESENT A RADIATION HAZARD FOR THE HUMAN BEING WHICH IS FAR FROM BEING NEGLIGIBLE. THIS LATTER FACT IS ALL THE MORE RELEVANT SINCE THE RELEASE OF NATURAL RADIONUCLIDES IS CONSTANTLY AND RAPIDLY INCREASING BY ANTHROPOGENIC INFLUENCES, I.E. SUCH AS COMBUSTION OF FOSSILE FUELS, MINING OF URANIUM AND EXTRACTION OF PHOSPHATES. AS FAR AS RADIATION HAZARD IS CONCERNED, THERE ARE AMONG THE NATURAL DECAY PRODUCTS OF URANIUM AND THORIUM ESPECIALLY RA-226, PB-210 AND TH-230 WHICH NEED TO BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION AS BONE SEEKERS. AMONG THOSE, PB-210 PLAYS A SPECIAL ROLE AS TO TRANSFER AND DISTRIBUTION.

A) THE TRANSFER VIA AIR OCCURS THROUGH THE PARENT NUCLIDE AS WELL AS THROUGH PB-210 ITSELF WHICH HAD ALREADY BEEN FORMED. THEREFORE, TRANSFER VIA AIR IS COMPARATIVELY FASTER AND AT THE SAME TIME MORE COMPLICATED AND FAR MORE OBSCURE THAN SOIL MIGRATION.
B) ON THE BASIS OF THE LATEST SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGES (ICRP, EURATOM, BASIC SAFETY STANDARDS) IT WAS AGREED UPON THAT THE MAXIMUM CONCENTRATIONS ADMISSIBLE FOR RA-226 HAVE BEEN OVERESTIMATED UNTIL NOW COMPARED TO THE CONCENTRATIONS ADMISSIBLE FOR PB-210. MODIFICATIONS OF THE 'STRAHLENSCHUTZVERORDNUNG' ARE EXPECTED IN THE NEAR FUTURE.
C) THE ANALYTICAL DETERMINATION OF PB-210 IS MORE COMPLICATED THAN THAT OF RA-226. THUS, ALTHOUGH AVERAGE VALUES ARE KNOWN, THERE IS STILL A LACK OF DETAILED KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THE BEHAVIOUR OF PB-210 AS FAR AS TRANSFER VIA AIR IS CONCERNED. THERE ARE U.S. AMERICAN DATES FROM MESO-ARIDE REGIONS AND CANADIAN INVESTIGATIONS ABOUT PURE FORESTRY ON GLACIAL SOIL BUT FOR COMPARISON ALL RESULTS CAN BE REFERRED TO ONLY UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS.
IN FRANCE, THE INVESTIGATION IS GOING TO TAKE PLACE IN LODEVE. THE ELLWEILER URANIUM PLANT CAN BE REGARDED AS THE MOST IMPORTANT SOURCE OF PB-210 IN THE FRG, SINCE IT IS THE ONLY HYDROMETALLURGICAL PROCESSING PLANT IN THE COUNTRY. THE PLANNED PROJECT AIMS PRIMARILY AT THE SOLUTION OF THE PURELY SCIENTIFIC PROBLEM OF PB-210 TRANSFER INTO THE ECOLOGICAL PATH.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

Technische Hochschule Darmstadt
Address
Karolinenplatz, 5,
64289 Darmstadt
Germany