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J Environ Radioact. 2005;82(2):237-50. Epub 2005 Mar 29.

Assessment of the radiological impacts of a zircon sand processing plant.

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Interdepartmental Centre for Research in Environmental Science, University of Bologna, via dell'Agricoltura 5, 48100 Ravenna, Italy.


The paper presents the results of a study on radiological impacts resulting from a zircon sand processing plant located in the North-Eastern part of Italy. Activity concentrations of radionuclides found in materials associated with this industrial process are presented as well as the results of the assessment of the annual effective doses to the workers and the members of the public. Gamma-spectrometric analyses were performed on "raw" sands, end-products, and soils sampled near the plant. Thermoluminescent dosimeters, electric pumps and electret ion chambers were used to measure the external irradiation, the indoor dust concentrations and the radon concentrations, respectively. The ground-level air concentration of radioactive particulate near the plant and the deposition of particulate matter were estimated by a Gaussian model (ISCLT3). Finally, the annual effective doses, calculated as provided for by Directive 96/29/Euratom, were estimated to be 1.7 mSv y(-1) for workers and 4.4 microSv y(-1) for members of the public.

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