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Analyses of radionuclides in soil, water, and agriculture products near the Urgeiriça uranium mine in Portugal

  • Fernando P. Carvalho
  • João M. Oliveira
  • Margarida Malta
Article

Abstract

Analyses of soils, irrigation waters, agriculture products (lettuce), green pasture, and cheese were performed in samples collected in the area of the old Urgeiriça uranium mine and milling facilities, Centre-North of Portugal, in order to assess the transfer of uranium series radionuclides in the environment and to man. Soils close to milling tailings display an enhancement of radioactivity. In the drainage basin of the stream Ribeira da Pantanha, receiving drainage from the tailings piles and discharges from the acid mine water treatment plant, there was enhancement of uranium series radionuclide concentrations in water and suspended matter. Agriculture products from kitchen gardens irrigated with water from the Ribeira da Pantanha show an increase of radioactivity, mainly due to uranium isotopes. Agriculture products from other kitchen gardens in this area, irrigated with groundwater, as well pasture and cheese produced locally from sheep milk did not show enhanced radionuclide concentrations. In the Urgeiriça area, some soils display radionuclide concentrations higher than soils in reference areas and, in agriculture products grown there, 226Ra was the radionuclide more concentrated by vegetables. Through ingestion of these products 226Ra may be the main contributor to the increment of radiation dose received by local population.

Keywords

Uranium mining residues Radium Thorium Polonium Water Plants Pasture Cheese 

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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fernando P. Carvalho
    • 1
  • João M. Oliveira
    • 1
  • Margarida Malta
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Radiological Protection and Nuclear SafetyNuclear and Technology Institute (ITN)SacavemPortugal

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