Concentration, distribution and characteristics of depleted uranium (DU) in the Kosovo ecosystem: A comparison with the uranium behavior in the environment uncontaminated by DU
The smear samples of the penetrator were analyzed for the determination of the uranium composition. The obtained relative composition (m/m) of uranium isotopes in all the smear samples is in the range of 99.76-99.78% for 238U, 0.000659-0.000696% for 234U, 0.213-0.234% for 235U, and 0.00274-0.00328% for 236U, showing characteristics of depleted uranium (DU). The uranium concentrations in Kosovo soil and water samples as well as biological samples were investigated. It was found that the uranium concentrations in the Kosovo soil samples are in the range of 11.3-2.26·105 Bq·kg-1 for 238U, 10.3-3.01·104 Bq·kg-1 for 234U, 0.60-3251 Bq·kg-1 for 235U, and £0.019-1309 Bq·kg-1 for 236U. The obtained activity ratios are in the range of 0.112-1.086 for 234U/238U, 0.0123-0.1144 for 235U/238U, and 0-0.0078 for 236U/238U, indicating the presence of DU in about 77% of the surface soil samples. At a specific site, the DU inventory in the surface soil is about 140 mg·cm-2, which is 1.68·106 times higher as the estimated mean DU dispersion rate in the region. The uranium concentrations in Kosovo lichen, mushroom, bark, etc., are in the range of 1.97-4.06·104 Bq·kg-1 for 238U, 0.48-5158 Bq·kg-1 for 234U, 0.032-617 Bq·kg-1 for 235U, and £0.019-235 Bq·kg-1 for 236U with mean activity ratios of 0.325±0.0223 for 234U/238U, of 0.0238±0.0122 for 235U/238U, and 0.0034±0.0028 for +U/238U, indicating the presence of DU in the entire sample. On the contrary, the uranium concentrations in Kosovo water samples are low, compared with the water samples collected in central Italy, indicating the presence of negligible amount of DU. The uranium isotopes in Kosovo waters do not constitute a risk of health at the present time.
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