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Precise Determination of Uranium Isotopes in Suez Canal Sediment

DOI: 10.4236/jasmi.2019.92004, PP. 30-41

Keywords: Sediment, Uranium, Isotopic Ratios, Natural Radioactivity, Suez Canal, Egypt

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Abstract:

The streambed sediments of the Suez Canal have been analyzed for determining the natural radionuclides and long-lived radionuclides such as uranium by gamma and alpha spectrometric techniques. The specific activities of 238U series, 232Th series and 40K (Bq/kg) were measured by gamma spectrometry based on Hyper-Pure Germanium detector (HPGe). The average specific activities of 226Ra(238U) series, 232Th series and 40K were ranged from 3.04 ± 1.10 to 14.70 ± 1.24 Bq/kg, from 1.12 ± 0.66 to 16.10 ± 1.30 and from 77 ± 4.90 to 350.50 ± 8.90 Bq/kg respectively. The concentration of 238U and 234U in the streambed sediments are ranged from 3.24 ± 0.21 to 13.34 ± 0.61 ppm and from 3.18 ± 0.02 to 13.77 ± 0.03 ppm in dry weight respectively. 234U/238U ratios of the sediments are relatively lower than unity in many locations indicating the preferential uranium leaching process. The results with the high ratios for 234U/238U were observed in the sediment collected from Port Said. This may be attributed to the sorption of uranium by sediment which has a relatively high content of organic matter. The geochemical behavior of sediment, the chemistry of uranium and the flow rates of water are considered as the most important factors controlling uranium isotopic composition of the streambed sediment. The result of radioactivity in sediment samples can be used to distinguish any future changes due to non-nuclear industries on the Suez Canal area.

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