Title
Redistribution of uranium and thorium by soil/plant interaction in a recultivated mining area Redistribution of uranium and thorium by soil/plant interaction in a recultivated mining area
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Sciences. Chemistry
Publication type
article
Publication
New York ,
Subject
Chemistry
Source (journal)
Microchemical journal. - New York
Microchemical journal. - New York
Volume/pages
90(2008) :1 , p. 44-49
ISSN
0026-265X
ISI
000258744000008
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
During the recultivation of the uranium mining area of Kõvágószõlõs (Hungary), the tailings were covered with clay and loess soil layers having a thickness of 30 cm and 100 cm, respectively. In the loess covering layer, acacia (Robinia pseudoacacia), poplars (Populus × albus, Populus × canescens), oak (Quercus pubescens), silver tree (Eleagnus angustifolia) were planted between 1996 and 2004. In order to establish the extent of the uranium and thorium transport from the sludge to the leaves by uptake and translocation processes through roots with a length higher than 1.3 m results in a remarkable redistribution of these pollutants, a gray poplar tree, growing spontaneously in the last uncovered tailing, being selected as reference tree. The U and Th concentrations in the leaves of the above-mentioned trees, in the covering layers as well as in the original sludge were determined by inductively coupled plasma sector field mass spectrometry (ICP-SF-MS). Generally, the Th concentration of the soils was about 4 times higher than that of uranium, while uranium concentration was about 10130 times higher than that of thorium in the leaf samples and its concentration ranged from 28 to 1045 ng g− 1, the last value belonging to the poplar tree growing on the last uncovered tailing. In order to assume the mobility and bioavailability of uranium if the dry leaves fall down, the uranium species in the leaves of the poplar tree growing in the uncovered reservoir were determined applying ultrasound-assisted extraction with distilled water and ammonium acetate as well as high performance liquid chromatographic (HPLC)-ICP-SF-MS technique. About 20% of total uranium could be extracted in form of uranyl cations and a presumably negatively charged uranium compound. Estimations revealed that the annual increment of U in the soil surface layer due to the dead fallen leaves in case of the investigated gray poplar (Populus × canescens) is about 1.2%.
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