Volume 40, May 2005ECORAD 2004
|Page(s)||S183 - S189|
|Published online||17 June 2005|
Radioactivity concentration and heavy metal content in fuel oil and oil-ashes in Venezuela
Dpto. FAMN, Facultad de Física, Universidad de Sevilla, Apdo., 41060 Sevilla, Spain
2 Dpto. Física, Universidad Simón Bolívar, Sartenejas, Edo. Miranda, Venezuela
3 Dpto. Física Aplicada I, Universidad de Sevilla, EUITA, Ctra. Utrera km 1, Apdo. 41013, Sevilla, Spain
Environmental radiation levels are modified in regions where the oil industrial activity is more aggressive, such as in the Zulia State and the Orinoco's Oil Belt. In these regions Venezuela is producing 1750 thousand barrels of oil from the near-to-the-surface or deep oil drilling, being its 2003 total OPEC market share 2932 thousand barrels of oil per day . Petroleum constitutes an important source of energy and as the majority of natural sources it contains radionuclides and their disintegration products. The combustion of oil concentrates in the ashes those radioelements, which later enters the environment by different pathways producing adverse effects on the quality of man life. The concentration of radioelements varies greatly between oil fields, and then still requiring local survey studies in this area. Moreover due to the recent national interest in recycling processes, it becomes important to take care in the selection of materials that may contain by-products of industrial origin. In fact the oil ashes and other mining by-products are employable in the building industry. The concentration of radioactivity and heavy metals in crude oil, fuel oil N 6 and the ashes from power plants were determined. The analysis includes the two major thermoelectric power plants in Venezuela, Ricardo Zuluaga on the northern seaside of Caracas and Planta Centro on the littoral of Carabobo State. The study covers different samples: fuel oil N° 6, heavy and medium petroleum as well as fuel Oil N°6 ashes. Gamma spectrometry was used for measuring 226Ra, 214Pb, 214Bi, 228Ac, 212Pb, 212Bi, 208Tl and 40K, and heavy metallic cations were determined by ICP-MS, which also allows the direct determination of 232Th and 238U. In this material (oil ashes) the total activity concentration is above 300 Bq.kg-1. Some criteria from the literature have been compared and used to investigate the applicability of oil ashes as an additive for building materials. The combustion concentrate also heavy metal cations, as is the case of Pb, Ni, Mn, V, Zn among others. The found high metal concentrations can represent an important environmental risk since the high amount of sulfates in the Venezuelan oil and ashes contributes to their dissolution and bioavailability.
© EDP Sciences, 2005
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