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Soil-to-plant transfer of 40K, 238U and 232Th and radiological risk assessment of selected mining sites in Nigeria

Orosun, M. M. ORCID:, Usikalu, M. R., Oyewumi, K. J., Omeje, M., Awolola, G. V., Ajibola, O. ORCID: and Tibbett, M. (2022) Soil-to-plant transfer of 40K, 238U and 232Th and radiological risk assessment of selected mining sites in Nigeria. Heliyon, 8 (11). e11534. ISSN 24058440

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2022.e11534


One of the major route through which humans are exposed to ionizing radiation is via food chain, which is consequent of soil-to-plant transfer of radionuclides. This work reported the activity concentrations of 40K, 238U and 232Th in samples of water, soil and guinea corn grains collected from Beryllium and Gold mining sites in Kwara, Nigeria. In-situ measurements at approximately 1 m in the air was carried out using a well-calibrated portable Gamma Spectrometer (Super Spec RS-125), while the soil, water and the guinea corn samples were analyzed using a ‘3 × 3’ inch lead-shielded NaI (Tl) detector. The measured activity concentrations of the natural radionuclides in the soil from both mines are lower than the in-situ measurements. This was attributed to the contribution from other terrestrial materials on-site. The estimated mean transfer factors (TFs) for 40K, 238U and 232Th are 0.21, 0.17 and 0.31, and 0.46, 0.19 and 0.28 respectively for the Beryllium and Gold mining sites. While the TFs for 238U and 232Th exceeded the mean value of 0.0062 and 0.0021 for 238U and 232Th respectively, the TFs for 40K are well below the 0.74 for cereals grains provided by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The radiation impact assessment using the Monte Carlo simulations reveals values that were generally less than the global average values provided by the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR). Hence, the risk of cancer inducement due to radiation exposure is within the acceptable limits for both mining sites.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Soil Research Centre
Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Sustainable Land Management > Centre for Agri-environmental Research (CAER)
ID Code:108994


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