An investigation on natural radioactivity from mining industry#
The environmental problem of naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) is omnipresent on earth and their radioactivity may become concentrated as a result of human activities. Various industries produce concentrated radioactivity in their by-products. Mining originating industries such as the coal industries, petroleum extraction and processing and natural gas, mining enrichment waste, phosphate, etc have been well known and widely investigated. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) describes NORM wastes from the mining and processing of three categories of metals: Rare earth metals, special application metals and metals produced in bulk quantities by industrial extraction processes. Moreover, NORM has a lot of negative effects on the natural resources (water supplies, soils, air, etc.) and living organisms (human, animals, plants, microorganisms, etc.). In this study, we investigated NORM levels that originated from mining industry and the concentration of NORM in drinking water supplies. NORM parameter of gross alpha and gross beta were also in this study, seasonal changes in gross alpha and gross beta were investigated. The obtained results showed that, natural activity concentrations of α- and β-emitting radionuclides in all water samples did not exceed World Health Organisation (WHO) and Turkish Standards of Drinking Water (TS 266) recommended levels (Table 1). Concentrations ranging from 0.0062 Bq/l to 0.79 Bq/l and from 0.004 to 0.18 Bq/l were observed for the gross α and gross β activities, respectively. For all samples, the gross β activities were higher than the corresponding gross α activities.
Key words: Natural radioactivity, mining industries, gross alpha, gross beta.