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Radioactive Elements in Coal and Fly Ash: Abundance, Forms, and Environmental Significance

Fact Sheet 163-97

By:
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Abstract

Coal is largely composed of organic matter, but it is the inorganic matter in coal—minerals and trace elements— that have been cited as possible causes of health, environmental, and technological problems associated with the use of coal. Some trace elements in coal are naturally radioactive. These radioactive elements include uranium (U), thorium (Th), and their numerous decay products, including radium (Ra) and radon (Rn). Although these elements are less chemically toxic than other coal constituents such as arsenic, selenium, or mercury, questions have been raised concerning possible risk from radiation. In order to accurately address these questions and to predict the mobility of radioactive elements during the coal fuel-cycle, it is important to determine the concentration, distribution, and form of radioactive elements in coal and fly ash.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Radioactive Elements in Coal and Fly Ash: Abundance, Forms, and Environmental Significance
Series title:
Fact Sheet
Series number:
163-97
Year Published:
1997
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Description:
4 p.