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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(1), 138; doi:10.3390/ijerph13010138

An Assessment of Radiological Hazards from Gold Mine Tailings in the Province of Gauteng in South Africa

1
Center for Applied Radiation Science and Tehnology, North West University (Mafikeng), P.Bag X2046, Mmabatho 2735, South Africa
2
iThemba LABS, National Research Foundation, Private Bag X11, WITS 2050, South Africa
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Received: 7 December 2015 / Revised: 9 January 2016 / Accepted: 14 January 2016 / Published: 18 January 2016
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [281 KB, uploaded 20 January 2016]

Abstract

Radiological hazards associated with exposure to Naturally Occurring Radionuclides Materials from gold mine tailings in the province of Gauteng in South Africa were evaluated. A comparison was made with soil samples from a control area. In this study, gamma spectroscopy was used to measure the activity concentrations of these radionuclides in 56 soil samples from the mine tailings and 10 soil samples from the control area. The average activity concentrations in Bq∙kg−1 for Uranium-238, Thorium-232, and Potassium-40 from the mine tailings were found to be 785.3 ± 13.7, 43.9 ± 1.0 and 427.0 ± 13.1, respectively. On the other hand, the average activity concentrations in Bq∙kg−1 for Uranium-238, Thorium-232, and Potassium-40 from the control area were found to be 17.0.1 ± 0.4, 22.2 ± 0.5 and 496.8 ± 15.2, respectively. Radiological hazard parameters calculated from these activity concentrations were higher than recommended safe limits. In particular, calculated average values for the external hazard (Hex) and the internal hazard (Hin) from the mine tailings were found to be 2.4 and 4.5. Both these values were higher than unity, posing a significant health risk to the population in the area. View Full-Text
Keywords: radiological hazard; radionuclide; gold mine tailing; gamma spectroscopy; activity concentration radiological hazard; radionuclide; gold mine tailing; gamma spectroscopy; activity concentration
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Kamunda, C.; Mathuthu, M.; Madhuku, M. An Assessment of Radiological Hazards from Gold Mine Tailings in the Province of Gauteng in South Africa. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 138.

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