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Radioactivity and Water Quality in Areas of Old Uranium Mines (Viseu, Portugal)

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

Abstract

Radionuclides were determined in streams and rivers receiving mine drainage from old uranium mines at the center of Portugal. Results showed enhanced radioactivity levels in some areas impacted by uranium mining and milling wastes, but levels were lower than several years ago due to current water treatment of mine drainage. In some areas, such as at the village of Cunha Baixa, water from wells was contaminated by acid mine drainage, and it is not suitable anymore for human consumption and irrigation of horticulture plots. In the present, villages and towns near those old uranium mines have tap water from public networks supplied from artificial lakes built in major rivers of the region. This tap water showed compliance with the recommended limits of total alpha and total beta radioactivity, and it is suitable for human consumption. Radiation exposure of the population was therefore controlled, but current water supply is much more costly than it was with local water sources.

Keywords

Uranium mines Mining waste Radioactivity Water contamination Drinking water 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fernando P. Carvalho
    • 1
  • João M. Oliveira
    • 1
  • Margarida Malta
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratório de Protecção e Segurança Radiológica/Instituto Superior Técnico (LPSR/IST)Universidade de LisboaBobadelaPortugal

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