Assessment of Radiological Impact on the Environment During Recovery of Uranium from Phosphate Rocks and Phosphoric Acid

  • A.H. Khan
Part of the Springer Geology book series (SPRINGERGEOL)


Increasing demand for nuclear power has necessitated a fresh look at non-conventional sources of uranium such as phosphate rocks and phosphoric acid. Phosphate rocks are known to contain uranium around 50 to 200 parts per million (ppm); sometimes even up to about 800 ppm. About 150 million t of rock phosphates containing about 120 ppm of uranium amounting to a total of about 18,000 t of uranium are mined and processed around the world annually. The world potential for recovery of uranium from weak phosphoric acid is reported to be around 7000 t per annum. During production of phosphoric acid, while uranium goes with the acid, 226Ra and other environmentally important radionuclides emerge with the phosphogypsum. As all the decay products of uranium are present in the phosphate rocks, processing of large quantities of phosphate rocks has a potential for contamination of the surroundings with the enhanced natural radioactivity. An assessment of the potential exposure of workers to radiation and the impact on the environment from the radionuclides present in the rock phosphates and the product materials is considered important.


Phosphoric Acid Phosphate Rock Environmental Impact Assessment Radon Progeny Exemption Level 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. AERB (2009), Atomic Energy regulatory Board India), Directive 01/2009.Google Scholar
  2. Cioroianu, T. M., Bunu, F., Filip, D. and Filip, Gh., (1998), Environmental considerations on uranium and radium from phosphate fertilizers, Proc. of a Tech. Comm. Meeting, Vienna, September 14–17, 1998, IAEA-TECDOC-1244/2001.Google Scholar
  3. Gupta, C. K. and Singh, H., (2003), Uranium Resource Processing – secondary resources, Springer, Berlin/Heidelberg, ISBN 3-540-67966-9.Google Scholar
  4. Haridasan, P. P. and Paul, A.C., (1994), Environmental radiological surveillance at a phosphatic fertilizer unit, Proc. 3rd National Symposium on Environment, Thiruananthapuram, March 1994, pp. 1–4.Google Scholar
  5. Haridasan, P. P., Maniyan, C. G., Pillai, P. M. B. and Khan, A. H., (2000), An evaluation of the radiological impact of phosphogypsum disposal, Proc. of the National Symp. on Environment, Bangalore Univ., June 2000, pp. 211–214.Google Scholar
  6. Haridasan, P. P., Maniyan, C. G., Pillai, P. M. B. and Khan A. H., (2002), Dissolution characteristics of 226Ra from phosphogypsum, Jour. of Environmental Radioactivity, 62, (2002), pp. 287–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. IAEA (1996), Basic Safety Standards, IAEA Safety Series 115, 1996.Google Scholar
  8. IAEA (1997), Environmental impact assessment for uranium mine, mill and in situ leach projects, IAEA-TECDOC-979, November 1997.Google Scholar
  9. Menzel, R. G., (1968), Uranium, radium and thorium content in phosphate rocks and their possible radiation hazard, J. Agr. Food Chem, Vol. 16, No.2, 1968.Google Scholar
  10. Shukla, V. K., Murthy, M. V. R. and Kamath, R. R., (1996), Natural radioactivity in phosphogypsum and radiological impact assessment for its utilization in building construction materials, 5th Nat. Symp. on Environment, Calcutta, Feb. 28 – March 1, 1996.Google Scholar
  11. 2009Google Scholar
  12. 2010Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • A.H. Khan
    • 1
  1. 1.Environmental Assessment DivisionBhabha Atomic Research CentreTrombay, MumbaiIndia

Personalised recommendations