Rapid estimation of environmental radioactivity surrounding Xiangshan uranium deposits, Jiangxi province, Eastern China

Nan Gan 1 , 2 , Kuang Cen 3 , Rong Ye 3  and Ting Li 4
  • 1 School of Earth Sciences and Resources, China University of Geosciences (Beijing),, Beijing, China
  • 2 Beijing Research Institute of Chemical, Engineering and Metallurgy,, Beijing, China
  • 3 School of Earth Sciences and Resources, China University of Geosciences (Beijing),, Beijing, China
  • 4 School of Geophysics and Information Technology, China University of Geosciences (Beijing),, Beijing, China

Abstract

The surveys of terrestrial gamma dose rate, radon concentration indoor and in water and specific activity of radionuclides of soil were carried out in 14 villages and a town in Xiangshan uranium deposit and surrounding area, Jiangxi province, Eastern China, in 2017-2018, using a scintillator dosemeter, an ionization chamber and a high-purity germanium gamma spectrometer to study radiation status in these places after remediation. A radioactive hot spot was discovered in a village near the mining office, where specific activity of 238U, 226Ra, 232Th and 137Cs of soil was as high as 1433 ± 76 Bq/kg, 1210 ± 62 Bq/kg, 236 ± 13 Bq/kg and 17 ± 1.1 Bq/kg, respectively. The dose rate on a waste rock heap was about 2423 nGy/h. Approximately 50% of the houses in a village near the uranium mining site had radon concentrations that exceeded 160 Bq/m3. There was a significant positive correlation between indoor radon concentration and outdoor gamma dose rate (R2 = 0.7876). The abnormal radon concentration was observed in a rising spring sample providing residents with tap water up to 127.1 Bq/l. Four tap water samples and three of five well water samples exceeded the limit of radon concentration of drinking water in China (11.1 Bq/l). The mean annual effective doses from gamma dose rate data were 0.86 mSv/y and 1.13 mSv/y for indoor radon. The study shows that there are some radioactively contaminated places surrounding the Xiangshan uranium mine. The local outdoor dose rate averages may be used to estimate local indoor radon concentrations.

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