Phosphogypsum (PG) is a by-product of the chemical reaction called the "wet process" whereby sulphuric acid reacts with phosphate rock (PR) to produce phosphoric acid, needed for fertilizer production. Through the wet process, some impurities naturally present in the PR become incorporated in PG, including U decay-series radionuclides, are the main important concern which could have an effect on the surrounding environment and prevent its safe utilization. In order to determine the distribution and bioavailability of radionuclides to the surrounding environment, we used a sequential leaching of PG samples from Aqaba and Eshidiya fertilizer industry. The results showed that the percentages of 226Ra and 210Pb in PG are over those in the corresponding phosphate rocks (PG/PR), where 85% of the 226Ra and 85% of the 210Pb fractionate to PG. The sequential extraction results exhibited that most of 226Ra and 210Pb are bound in the residual phase (non-CaSO4) fraction ranging from 45-65% and 55%-75%, respectively, whereas only 10%-15% and 10%-20% respectively of these radionuclides are distributed in the most labile fraction. The results obtained from this study showed that radionuclides are not incorporated with gypsum itself and may not form a threat to the surrounding environment. ?? 2010 Science Press, Institute of Geochemistry, CAS and Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
Additional publication details
Distribution and mode of occurrence of radionuclides in phosphogypsum derived from Aqaba and Eshidiya Fertilizer Industry, South Jordan