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Radium and heavy metal transport beneath an abandoned uranium tailings dam.

  • Jeffery, JJ
  • Sinclair, G
  • Lowson, RT
Publication Date
Sep 01, 1988
ANSTO Publications Online
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An abandoned uranium tailings dam at Moline in the Northern Territory of Australia was the site of a study to assess the movement of potentially toxic elements from tailings into subsoil. The tailings at Moline were first laid down in 1959 and have since been leached by prevailing rainfall. Sixteen sampling sites were selected to give a good representation of the dam. At each site a trench was excavated through the tailings and into the subsoil then samples of subsoil were taken at 10 cm intervals down to a depth of 50 cm. A sample of the tailings overlying the tailings-subsoil interface was also taken. Samples were analysed for radium uranium copper zinc and lead. At most sites there was only minor accumulation of these elements in the 0-10 cm subsoil layer immediately below the interface with concentrations typically one or two orders of magnitude less than the concentrations in overlying tailings. Below 10 cm the concentrations were typically at or close to background concentrations.

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