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Radioelemental study of Kolaghat, thermal power plant, West Bengal, India: possible environmental hazards.

Abstract

Coal combustion in power plants in India produces large quantities of coal-related wastes, e.g. fly ash and bottom ash. Indian coals used in power stations are of high ash content, thus resulting in the generation of large amounts of fly ash (~100 million tons/year). Combustion of coal results in enhanced concentration of most radionuclides found in waste materials. In the present work, an attempt has been made to assess the radiological impact of the Kolaghat thermal power plant in West Bengal, India. The fly ashes and coal from the power plant were analysed for 238U, 232Th and 40K by a NaI (Tl)-based gamma-ray spectrometer. The results show that 226Ra and 232Th range from 81.9–126 and 132–169 Bq/kg in fly ash and 25–50 and 39–55 Bq/kg in coal. These results are high compared to those of other thermal power plants of India. Hence, the Kolaghat fly ash has a significant amount of radioactivity which, if not properly disposed, will be a serious threat to the ambient environment.

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Acknowledgements

We are grateful to the Kolaghat Thermal Power Plant authorities for allowing us to carry out the fieldwork and providing us with samples, to Dr. R. Srinivasan and Dr. G.K. Reddy for the radiometric assaying on rock samples using gamma-ray spectrometry at the National Geophysical Research Institute, Hyderabad.

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Correspondence to D. Sengupta.

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Mandal, A., Sengupta, D. Radioelemental study of Kolaghat, thermal power plant, West Bengal, India: possible environmental hazards.. Env Geol 44, 180–186 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00254-002-0744-3

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Keywords

  • Bottom ash
  • Fly ash
  • Power plant
  • Radioactivity
  • Kolaghat
  • West Bengal
  • India