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Assessment of the Radiological Impact on the Environment near a Storage Site of Coal Ashes in a Thermal Power Plant

Aziz Boukhair, Laila Belahbib, Khadija Azkour, , Mohammed Benjelloun, Abdelmjid Nourreddine

Abstract: The radiological impact of coal ashes, with enhanced natural radioactivity in the storage site, is due to the presence of naturally occurring radionuclides. Some of these radionuclides have a radioactive period of several million years and will, therefore, have time to migrate to the soil, atmospheric air, surface water, and groundwater. This impact depends mainly on the activity of these coal ashes, the duration of exposure to such waste, transfers to the air, and the leaching phenomenon by rainwater. In this study, and so as to assess the radiological impact of coal ashes of the storage site of the JLEC-Morocco thermal power plant on environment, some analyses are performed by alpha dosimetry and a digital dosimeter on samples of coal ashes, soil, atmospheric air, surface water and groundwater belonging to a perimeter of 10 km around that site. The obtained results show that, within the studied area, the radiological impact on the soil of the coal ashes of the storage site is insignificant even though the concentrations of radon in the near vicinity (1 to 2 km) are moderately important, and remain below 200 Bq/m3. In the atmospheric air, this impact remains medium for the neighborhoods of the storage site (2 to 3 km) with radon activities superior to 10 Bq/m3. These results also show that there may be a water contamination of wells located at the storage site without any transfer of radioactivity into the groundwater of the area studied where the concentrations of radon are less than 11.1 Bq/l.
Keywords: contamination / radionuclides / radon / Bq/m3 / coal ashes / radiological impact / storage site

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