Naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORMs) generated from lignite-fired power plants in Kosovo

The energy production in Kosovo depends primarily on lignite-fired power plants. During coal combustion, huge amounts of fly ash and bottom ash are generated, which may result in enriched natural radionuclides; therefore, these radionuclides need to be investigated to identify the possible processes that may lead to the radiological exposure of workers and the local population. Lignite samples and NORMs of fly ash and bottom ash generated in lignite-fired power plants in Kosovo are analysed using a gamma-ray spectrometry method for the activity concentration of natural radionuclides. The average activity concentrations of (40)K, (226)Ra and (232)Th in lignite are found to be 36 ± 8 Bq kg(-1), 9 ± 1 Bq kg(-1) and 9 ± 3 Bq kg(-1), respectively. Indications on the occurrence and geochemical behaviour of uranium in the lignite matrix are suggested. The activity concentrations of natural radionuclides in fly ash and bottom ash samples are found to be concentrated from 3 to 5 times that of the feeding lignite. The external gamma-ray absorbed dose rate and the activity concentration index are calculated to assess the radiological hazard arising from ash disposal and recycling in the cement industry.

Authors: Hasani F, Shala F, Xhixha G, Xhixha MK, Hodolli G, Kadiri S, Bylyku E, Cfarku F. ;Full Source: Journal of Environmental Radioactivity. 2014 Sep 15;138C:156-161. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2014.08.015. [Epub ahead of print] ;