Leachability of radium-226 from industrial phosphogypsum waste using some simulated natural environmental solutions

  • E. M. El AfifiEmail author
  • M. Khalil
  • Y. F. El-Aryan
Original Article


This study investigated the leaching of radium-226 from phosphogypsum (PG) waste produced from the fertilizer industry by synthetic solutions that replicate water that may contact the waste in natural conditions. The results indicated that the activity concentration of Ra-226 in the PG was 461 ± 12 Bq kg−1 and compared with other studies carried out worldwide. The leached percentage of Ra-226 represents the exchangeable fraction loosely bounded in the matrix of the PG waste. The leached fraction of Ra-226 was 6.5 ± 0.6 and 9.0 ± 0.5% when the waste was exposed to rainwater and saline solution, respectively. It is also found that the leaching fraction increased 10–12 ± 0.4% when the waste was exposed to the admixture of saline solution containing Sr2+ or Ba2+ cations, whereas it was lowered to 4–5 ± 0.5% in the presence of carbonate or sulfate anions. When the PG is used as an economic fertilizer, the irrigation water can leach 7.8 ± 0.6% of Ra-226 that could contribute to plant uptake, thereby to animal and/or human consumption. The primary tests of the drinking water (well and tap resources) consumed by the populations surround the PG facility showed that the activity concentration of Ra-226 was below the minimum detectable activity.


TENORM Radium-226 Fertilizer industry Environmental contamination Radiological hazards 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hot Laboratories and Waste Management Center (HLWMC)Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority (EAEA)CairoEgypt
  2. 2.Chemistry Department, College of SciencesBisha UniversityBishaSaudi Arabia

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