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  • Author or Editor: A. Hegde x
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Abstract  

Shallow land burial is routinely used for the disposal of low-level radioactive waste. Natural processes causing leaching of radionuclides can lead to contamination of surrounding ground water and soil by the radionuclides. The comparative leachability of radionuclides U(nat), 226Ra, 228Ra and Th(nat) from the soil of a radioactive waste disposal site, by ground water was evaluated. The probability of leaching was obtained in the following order Ra (≈77%) > U (≈40%) > Th (≈20%). Observed ratios (OR) were calculated to correlate leachability of radionuclides to that of major cations Ca2+ and Mg2+. The leaching of the radionuclides was seen to be dependent on Ca2+ and SO4 2− leached from the soil. This study provides sitespecific leachability of radionuclides, that can be used as indicator of the tendency for migration or retention in soil. It can play an important role during an unforeseen accident like breach of containment at the waste disposal site leading to contamination of soil and ground water and causing hazard to public via drinking water route.

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Abstract  

The purpose of the present study is the association of natural uranium in seawater with colloidal and suspended-particulate matter was determined. The separation of suspended particulate material (>0.45 µm) and colloidal fraction (as dissolved fractions) in seawater were done by suction and ultra filtration techniques. Seawater samples were collected at 1 km away from the shore and subjected to sequential fractionation in nine stages ranging from 2.7 µm to 1.1 nm. Suspended particulate matter were separated in three different size groups namely >2.7 µm, <2.7–>0.45 µm and <0.45–>0.22 µm by suction filtration using cellulose acetate and nitrate membranes filters. To concentrate the solution with colloidal particles <0.22 µm–1.1 nm (0.5 k Nominal Molecular Weight cut-off Limit {NMWL}), the solution obtained from filtration through <0.22 µm was passed through stirred ultra-filtration cell. The pH and conductivity at different stages of fractionation (dissolved) showed minor variations. The concentration of uranium was measured in suspended and dissolved fractions by using a pulsed nitrogen laser at 337.1 nm. In order to evaluate the role of mineral colloids in various stages of filtration, concentration of calcium, magnesium, potassium were measured by using ion chromatography and atomic absorption spectrometry. The clay mineral at seawater pH (approximately 8) behave as negative ions and provides binding site for the positively charge species of uranium. Among the dissolved fraction, the maximum concentrations of colloidal uranium was observed about 4 times higher than that compared to average concentration of 6.93±3.10 ppb in other fractions. In the case of suspended particulate matter, the concentration of uranium was below detection limits (<1 ppb). The maximum concentration of Ca, Mg and K in the dissolved fraction were in the <1.1 nm fraction, while for suspended particulate matter, the concentration of Ca, Mg and K decreased with the decrease in size and it is highest in the fraction of 0.22 –0.45 µm.

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Abstract  

Uranium determination in environmental samples is faced with problems due to presence of iron and other major elements. Iron is also used many a times for pre-concentration of uranium and actinides. Separation of milligram quantity of Fe from microgram quantity of uranium becomes essential during the estimation step. A simple two step procedure has been standardized for separating uranium and iron using anion exchange in 0.025 M H2SO4. Quantitative recovery of uranium was obtained as well as good separation from iron. This method was applied for estimation of uranium in water samples.

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Abstract  

The naturally occurring radioisotopes such as 238U, 232Th and 40K in the silt samples collected from Moticher lake, Gujarat were evaluated. The activity of 238U, 232Th and 40K was found to be 4.4-9.7 Bq kg−1 with a mean 6.4 ± 1.3 Bq kg−1, 10.5–21.2 Bq kg−1 with a mean 15.6 ± 2.5 Bq kg−1 and 102–231 Bq kg−1 with a mean 160 ± 40 Bq kg−1, respectively. The depth profile study could not reveal any significant vertical correlation on radioactivity levels of 238U, 232Th and 40K. Radium equivalent activity (Raeq), external hazard index (H ex) and internal hazard index (H int) were calculated by using the activity of 238U or 226Ra, 232Th and 40K in silt samples. Annual Effective Dose Equivalent (AEDE) level in Moticher silt was found to be 24.8 ± 5.0 μSv year−1, which is much lower than the worldwide average value. The relative contribution to dose due to 238U and 232Th series were found to be 14% and 53%, followed by the contribution of 33% due to 40K.

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Abstract  

During operation and maintenance of Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) at Kakrapar Atomic Power Station (KAPS), low level radioactive liquid waste is generated and released to the aquatic ecosystem (Moticher lake). The silt and aquatic weed (Hydrilla verticillata) samples collected from different locations in Moticher lake were analysed for 137Cs, 134Cs, 65Zn, 60Co, 54Mn and 40K during 2007–2008. A wide variation in activity levels of 137Cs, 134Cs, 65Zn, 60Co, 54Mn and 40K in silt and weed samples were observed in aquatic system of KAPS. The activity buildup in the silt is confined to a small area in the Moticher lake. The activity levels were found to be insignificant at 1 km away from discharge point (upstream and downstream). An attempt was made to evaluate the radiological dose to aquatic weed (Hydrilla verticillata), which was found to be well within the dose limit prescribed by US DOE. The total radiological dose due to the naturally occurring radionuclide (40K) is comparatively higher than that of other reactor released gamma emitting radionuclides.

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Abstract  

Mumbai Harbour Bay (MHB) is a recipient of low level treated effluents from BARC, Trombay. In addition, the Bay is also a recipient of domestic and industrial wastes from the city of Mumbai and adjoining areas. The average value of uranium concentration reported for Indian Bay water at Tarapur and Mumbai is ~3.0 ppb which is comparable with the reported value for Arabian sea. As such the global average is reported to be ~3.3 ppb by Oceanologists. The present study deals with the distribution of uranium in seawater of MHB. The uranium activity in MHB by alpha spectrometry was found to be between 1.0 and 4.4 ppb with an average concentration of 2.5 ppb which is comparable with the earlier reported average activity of 2.6 ppb in the MHB as well as those reported globally. To compare the results obtained by alpha spectrometry, uranium estimation was also carried out using Laser fluorimeter and the levels of uranium concentration have ranged between 0.8 and 4.9 ppb with an average concentration of 2.7 ppb.

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Ten fresh water samples of wells and rivers from the environment of Tarapur Maharashtra Site were analyzed to evaluate and establish the fall out level of 137Cs activity concentration using large volume of water samples. A radiochemical separation method suitable for the analysis of large volume of water sample based on the adsorption of Cs isotopes on coated acrylic fibres was standardized. 134Cs isotope was used for monitoring the radiochemical recovery of the analysis. Radiochemical recovery was obtained in the range of 74–98% for a sample volume of 250 L or more. The fall out level 137Cs concentration in river/dam water was found to be in the range of 0.205 to 0.268 mBq L−1. The fall out level annual effective dose through water ingestion pathway for a member of public was evaluated to be 2.27 × 10−9 Sv.

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Knowledge of the dynamics of HTO in leafy plant–soil system is required to verify models, such as the NORMTRI code, which predict environmental tritium following its release. Tritium concentrations in plants has been evaluated using the code NORMTRI and experimentally by collection of samples of different plants and their soils samples. In the present study, major seasonal crop plants i.e. wheat, mustard, sugar cane, coriander, spinach, potato, were collected beyond Narora Atomic Power Station site boundary and gular, arandi, neem, ashok, amaltas, csuarina leaf samples within NAPS site boundary for analysis of HTO content. Data analysis indicated that HTO in leaf is strongly influenced by atmospheric relative humidity and type of the plant.

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Abstract  

Guidelines for the assessment of internal doses from monitoring suggest default measurement of uncertainties (i.e. lognormal scattering factor, SF) to be used for different types of monitoring data. In this paper, SF values have been evaluated for internal contamination due to 60Co in two cases using whole body counting data. SF values of 1.04 and 1.03 were obtained for case I and II, respectively while SF value of 1.03 was obtained using bioassay data for case I. SF evaluated is in good agreement with the default values given by IDEAS guidelines. The present study also presents the follow up study of a case I of 60Co internal contamination using whole body counting and bioassay analysis. The effect of medical intervention applied on the subject is studied. Medical intervention of d-Penicillamine (250 mg × 4 daily) was orally administered from 13th day of initial exposure for about a fortnight, which showed reduction of activity present by 33.4% through urine.

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Abstract  

Thorium along with its daughter products present in the soil is one of the major contributors to the external gamma dose in the environment. To establish the dose levels, quantification of thorium contents in soil samples is very important. As a part of pre-operational environmental radiological surveillance, a total of 23 soil and six sand samples were collected from different locations around the proposed nuclear power plant site of Jaitapur, Maharashtra. Thorium concentrations in these samples were determined by instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA). Samples were irradiated with neutrons in Apsara reactor at a neutron flux of ~5 × 1011 cm−2 s−1 and radioactive assay was carried out using high resolution gamma ray spectrometry. Relative method of INAA was used for quantification of thorium utilizing 311.9 keV gamma ray of 233Pa, the daughter product of 233Th. The concentrations of thorium in the soil and sand samples were in the ranges of 4.0–18.8 and 1.2–6.2 mg kg−1 respectively.

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