Title: Naturally occurring radioactive materials in metallic mine wastes from northeaster Guanajuato Mexico: a scoping study

Authors: Cruz Daniel Mandujano-García; Juan Mantero; Modesto Sosa; Guadalupe De La Rosa; Gustavo Cruz-Jiménez; René Loredo-Portales; Yann René Ramos-Arroyo; Guillermo Manjón; Rafael García-Tenorio

Addresses: Environmental and Molecular Biology Laboratory, Academic Unit of Biological Sciences, Autonomous University of Zacatecas, Zacatecas – 98060, Zacatecas, Mexico ' Applied Nuclear Physics Group II, University of Seville, Seville – 41012, Spain ' Department of Engineering Physics, Division of Science and Engineering, University of Guanajuato, León – 37150, Guanajuato, Mexico ' Department of Engineering Physics, Division of Science and Engineering, University of Guanajuato, León – 37150, Guanajuato, Mexico ' Department of Pharmacy, University of Guanajuato, Guanajuato – 36050, Guanajuato, Mexico ' Geology Institute, Regional Northwest Station, CONACyT – National Autonomous University of Mexico, Hermosillo – 83000, Sonora, Mexico ' Department of Engineering in Geomatics and Hydraulics, University of Guanajuato, Guanajuato – 36000, Guanajuato, Mexico ' Applied Nuclear Physics Group II, University of Seville, Seville – 41012, Spain ' Applied Nuclear Physics Group II, University of Seville, Seville – 41012, Spain

Abstract: Accumulation of mine wastes with high concentrations of potentially toxic elements has been occurring in different mining regions of Mexico. Few data are available on the activity concentration of natural radionuclides in metallic mine wastes. Radioactive data is necessary to assess the impact of mine wastes from a radiological point of view. In this work, levels of natural radioactivity in a metallic mine wastes area from Xichú in northeaster Guanajuato Mexico, have been determined. This region is characterised by the mining of 'skarn' ores containing silver, and copper, among other elements. The radiometric characterisation of mine wastes has been performed by gamma-ray and alpha-particle spectrometry. The obtained results of the activity concentration cover the ranges of 4-11, 4-38 and 548-1,739 Bq kg−1 for U and Th natural series and 40K respectively. These results are comparable with the averages values found in unperturbed soils worldwide, and the radiological impact is negligible.

Keywords: environmental radioactivity; NORM; metallic mine wastes; gamma-ray spectrometry; alpha-particle spectrometry; Mexico.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEWM.2019.101288

International Journal of Environment and Waste Management, 2019 Vol.24 No.2, pp.210 - 221

Available online: 02 Jul 2019 *

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