Assessment of the radiological impact of coal utilization. I. Preliminary studies on Western coal. [Western USA; radionuclide impurities]
Description: It was the purpose of this project to broadly survey pathways of radionuclides in the coal fuel cycle, identifying critical questions and providing direction for subsequent, definitive studies of radionuclides in coal and the technological enhancement of concentrations of naturally occurring radionuclides through use of this coal. Western coal was selected for study because of its prominence in the National Energy Plan. Specific objectives were to: investigate the fate of radionuclides in the coal fuel cycle and, where possible, delineate the scope of the potential environmental and human health problem associated with radionuclides in coal; compile and evaluate data for uranium-238, uranium-234, lead-210, polonium-210, and thorium-230 in coal; study the release, fate, and accumulation of radionuclides from a power plant burning Western coal; and assess the possible need for additional control technology or standards. Results indicate that concentration of radionuclides in coal from Western mines varies widely, both within and between mines similar to other minor and trace constituents. The concentration of radionuclides in Western coal being mined today is roughly comparable to that of Eastern coal and is slightly below the average for all U.S. coal. A radionuclide balance for a power plant indicated that over 80% of uranium-234, uranium-238, and lead-210 present in the feed coal remained with the fly ash. Thus, collection of fly ash by electrostatic precipitators is of value in controlling radionuclide emissions. An additional 8 to 9% of the radionuclidesremained with bottom ash. Since over 90% of uranium-234, uranium-238, and lead-210 in feed coal remains with bottom ash and fly ash, it is suggested that the possible migration of radionuclides--particularly radon-222 which decays to lead-210 and polonium-210--from the ash pond, warrants further study.
Date: February 12, 1979
Creator: Styron, C.E.; Casella, V.R.; Farmer, B.M.; Hopkins, L.C.; Jenkins, P.H.; Phillips, C.A. et al.
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Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department