Radon, water and abandoned metalliferous mines in the UK: Environmental and Human Health implications

Source: OAI

ABSTRACT A study has been undertaken of radon gas levels in the atmosphere in abandoned metalliferous mines that were exploited primarily for tin in South-West England, UK, and compared to levels in an old lead mine in northern England, UK. Measurements have been taken since 1992 in the South-West of radon in the air using a variety of measuring techniques. Extremely high radon gas levels have been noted in a number of these mines, one of the highest levels recorded in Europe was recorded at 3,932,920 Bq m-3 in a shallow adit of an ex-uranium mine. The health implications for casual users / explorers of such mines are shown to be considerable. Even outside such mines, in adit entranceways, very high atmospheric radon levels were recorded of, for example, 200,000 Bq m-3. The heavy metal content of stream-water that flows from such mine adits together with dissolved radon content has also been measured and assessed in terms of potential health effects. A combination of heavy metal pollution and radiation can have a considerable impact on health and this research recommends that further research should be undertaken in such environments.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The distribution of radioactive pollutants, such as222Rn, U, Th and226Ra in the air, surface waters, soils and crops around the Lincang uranium mine, Yunnan Province, China, is studied. The mechanical, geochemical and biogeochemical processes responsible for the transport and fate of the radioactive elements are discussed based on the monitoring data. The pollutants concentrations of effluents from the mine tunnels were dependent on pH and which were controlled by biochemical oxidation of sulfide in the ore/host rocks. Radon anomalies in air reached 4 km from the tailings pile depending on radon release from the site, topography and climate.238U and226Ra abnormities in stream sediments and soil were 40—90 cm deep and 790—800 m away downstream. Anomalies of radioactive contaminants of surface watercourses extended 7.5—13 km from the discharge of effluents of the site mainly depending on mechanical and chemical processes. There were about 2.86 ha rice fields and 1.59 km stream sediments contaminated. Erosion of tailings and mining debris with little or no containment or control accelerated the contamination processes.
    Science in China Series B Chemistry 01/2002; 45:11-19. · 1.20 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
May 19, 2014