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South African Journal of Science

On-line version ISSN 1996-7489
Print version ISSN 0038-2353


MSILA, Xolani; LABUSCHAGNE, Frans; BARNARD, Werner  and  BILLING, David G.. Radioactive nuclides in phosphogypsum from the lowveld region of South Africa. S. Afr. j. sci. [online]. 2016, vol.112, n.1-2, pp.01-05. ISSN 1996-7489.

We evaluated the suitability of phosphogypsum from the Lowveld region of South Africa (LSA), for the manufacturing of building materials, with reference to (1) the National Nuclear Regulator Act 47 of 1999 and (2) the radioactivity associated risks as quantified in terms of the external and internal hazard indices, the activity concentration index and the radium equivalent. The distribution of radioactive nuclides in the LSA phosphogypsum was also examined. Analyses of 19 samples of the phosphogypsum show that phosphogypsum contains lower activity concentrations of naturally occurring radioactive nuclides of uranium and thorium and their progeny than the 500 Bg/kg limit set for regulation in South Africa. The potassium-40 (40K) activity concentration was below the minimum detectable amount of 100 Bq/kg. The values obtained for external and internal hazard indices and the activity concentration index were: 2.12 + 0.59, 3.44 + 0.64 and 2.65 + 0.76 respectively. The calculated radium equivalent Raeq was 513 + 76Bq/kg. The final decision regarding phosphogypsum's suitability for use as a building material should consider scenarios of use.

Keywords : apatite; radium equivalent; radiation hazard indices; Anderson-Darling; secular equilibrium.

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