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UDC 628.161.2:614.777:546.47/.49

Larionov S. Iu., Panteleev A. A., Riabchikov B. E., Shilov M. M., Kasatochkin A. S.

Removal of natural radionuclides from underground water sources


Natural radionuclides are present in underground water sources of some Russian regions in the concentrations exceeding the maximum permissible level for drinking water. Natural water radioactivity is caused by the presence of uranium 238U and thorium 232Th isotope decay products including radium and radon. For the purification of radium containing water lime softening, sorption on special adsorbents (e. g. zeolites), ion exchange softening and active aluminium oxide or active alumina, manganese containing media are used. The given methods of treatment are described in a number of publications that state the possible use of reverse osmosis or nanofiltration, however, lack the information on their application. Membrane technologies in combination with the traditional methods allow designing the flow scheme of radionuclides removal from underground water. During the tests on producing water of the required quality for an open-cycle heat supply system no radionuclides accumulation was observed. For the operation period (1.5 month) of the ultrafiltration plant during the interval between backwash cycles the radiation background straight at the membrane increased insignificantly; whereas, after the backwash it returned to the initial level. Backwash number was more than 100 providing for the statistically valid data. The reverse osmosis plant was operating with ultrafiltration permeate. The total radionuclides in the parent solution was about 1.4 Bq/l, in reverse osmosis filtrate – 0.005 Bq/l, i. e. much lower than the maximum permissible level. In reverse osmosis concentrate this value does not exceed 1 Bq; therefore, it can be discharged into the open hydraulic networks in compliance with the established standards. No activity accumulation on the reverse osmosis membranes was observed.

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