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The radium distribution in some Swedish soils and its effects on radon emanation

by Edsfeldt, Cecilia

Abstract (Summary)
The aim of this study has been to clarify how the radiumdistribution in soils affects the radon emanation. Thedistribution of radium, uranium and thorium has been determinedusing sequential extractions. In the study, soils from twodifferent locations were investigated.In the first part the applicability of the sequentialextraction method for determining Ra distribution in differentsoil types was investigated, using a simple sequentialextraction method. Sampled soils were clay, sand and till fromthe vicinity of the Stockholm Esker. The main part of Rnemanating Ra was associated with Fe oxides in the soil. Themethods applied provided information about the radon risk ofthe soil, but, inorder to gain more information on theprocesses governing Ra distribution and radon emanation insoils, a more detailed sequential extraction procedure would bedesirable.The second part consisted of a detailed study of theradionuclide distribution and the geochemistry in a podzolisedglacial till from Kloten in northern Västmanland. A moredetailed sequential extraction procedure was used, and thespecific surface area of samples was measured. Samples weretaken from E, B, and C horizons; radium and thorium wereenriched in the B horizon, whereas uranium had its maximumconcentration in the C horizon. Extractable radium primarilyoccurred in the exchangeable pool, possibly organicallycomplexed, whereas extractable uranium and thorium were mainlyFe oxide bound. Oxide-bound Ra was important only in the Bhorizon. The radon emanation was not correlated with the amountof exchangeable Ra, but instead with the oxide bound Ra.However, the amount of oxide-bound Ra was too small to accountfor all the emanated Rn, thus, exchangeable Ra was interpretedas the main source of emanated Rn. This exchangeable Ra wasmore emanative in the B horizon than in the C horizon. Theexplanation is the larger surface area of the B horizonsamples; the specific surface area appears to be the maingoverning parameter for Rn emanation in this soil. The surfacearea is largely created by the precipitation of amorphous Feoxides, thus, Fe oxides has a significant effect on Rnemanation.Comparing the two studies, the Stockholm samples had thesame amounts of oxide-bound Fe and surface-bound Ra. Still theradon emanation was much smaller for these samples than in theKloten soil. The amount of organic matter in the B horizon ofthe Kloten soil is however, much larger than the organic mattercontent in the Stockholm samples. It is suggested that thelarge Rn emanation in the B horizon of Kloten is caused by thecombined effect of Fe oxides and organic matter.The variability of226Ra distribution in soils was also investigated.The226Ra distribution was determined for samples from60-70 cm and 80-90 cm depth, from three adjacent soil profilesin a podzolic glacial till. Ra distributions, and estimationsof Rn risk based on the Ra distributions, of a single soilprofile, are likely to be representative for a similar area,provided that the samples are taken from a sufficientdepth.KEYWORDS: distribution, emanation, extraction, glacial till,podzol, Ra, radium, radon, Rn, sequential soil, spodosol, Th,thorium, U, uranium, variability
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Kungliga Tekniska högskolan

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:distribution; emanation; extraction; glacial till; podzol; Ra; radium; radon; Rn; sequential soil; spodosol; Th; thorium; U; uranium; variability

ISBN:91-7283-150-2

Date of Publication:01/01/2001

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