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Radionuclide Emission from Coal Based Thermal Power And industries in India (2018)

M. Mishra1, S.K. Sahu1 and G. Beig2

1Post-Graduate Environment Sciences, Utkal University, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India; +91-87631 52698, E-mail: madhusmitamishraa@gmail.com
2Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Coal is the major fossil fuel widely being used in thermal power plants, manufacturing industries and captive power plants in India where a significant amount of fly ash is being generated due to the combustion. The radionuclide emissions like thorium (232Th), radium (226R), potassium (40K) and uranium (238U) are found in fly ash generated. India is highly dependent on coal of various kinds. It is highly essential to estimate radionuclide emissions from fly ash generated out of approximately 163 coal based thermal power plants with collective capacity of 197,409 MW, 245 cement industries with total capacity 483 MT, and 121 iron and steel industries with their total production capacity 249.45 MT, along with 4,470 manufacturing industries having their own captive power plants. Nearly 281.4 Tg of fly ash was generated in 2018. Hence, an inventory of all sources of radionuclide emission and its quantification is highly essential for mitigation strategy.  In the present work an inventory of radionuclide emissions is developed based on the coal consumption pattern in above discussed industries. It is estimated that approximately 5,866.5 GBq of 226R, 8,707.1 GBq of 232Th, 33,693.2 Bq of 238U and 178,904.9 GBq of 40K is released every year that is supposed to be exposed to 300 million people covering 100 districts across India. So the aim of this study is to make a comparative assessment and understanding of environmental impact on these industries. We believe that the present study is the first to do a detailed high-resolution radionuclide emission inventory in India. The inventory could be a useful tool for policy makers to formulate permissible radionuclide emission standards in India.

Figure 1

Figure 1. Radionuclide emission from industrial coal combustion in India.