Uranium isotopes in well water samples as drinking sources in some settlements around the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site, Kazakhstan

Yamamoto, Masayoshi; Tomita, Junpei; Sakaguchi, Aya; Ohtsuka, Yoshihito; Hoshi, Masaharu; Apsalikov, Kazbek N.
May 2010
Journal of Radioanalytical & Nuclear Chemistry;May2010, Vol. 284 Issue 2, p309
Academic Journal
Radiochemical results of U isotopes (234U, 235U and 238U) and their activity ratios are reported for well waters as local sources of drinking waters collected from the ten settlements around the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site (SNTS), Kazakhstan. The results show that 238U varies widely from 3.6 to 356 mBq/L (0.3–28.7 μg/L), with a factor of about 100. The 238U concentrations in some water samples from Dolon, Tailan, Sarzhal and Karaul settlements are comparable to or higher than the World Health Organization’s restrictive proposed guideline of 15 μg (U)/L. The 234U/238U activity ratios in the measured water samples are higher than 1, and vary between 1.1 and 7.9, being mostly from 1.5 to 3. The measured 235U/238U activity ratios are around 0.046, indicating that U in these well waters is of natural origin. It is probable that the elevated concentration of 238U found in some settlements around the SNTS is not due to the close-in fallout from nuclear explosions at the SNTS, but rather to the intensive weathering of rocks including U there. The calculated effective doses to adults resulting from consumption of the investigated waters are in the range 1.0–18.7 μSv/y. Those doses are lower than WHO and IAEA reference value (100 μSv/y) for drinking water.


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