Title: The role of mesoscale meteorology in modulating the 222Rn concentrations in Huelva (Spain) - impact of phosphogypsum piles
Publication Year: 2015
JRC N°: JRC94360
ISSN: 0265-931X
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC94360
DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2015.03.023
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: The combined analysis of 222Rn activity concentrations and mesoscale meteorological conditions at Huelva city (Spain) was addressed in this study to understand the potential impact of phosphogypsum piles on the 222Rn activity concentrations registered at this area. Hourly mean data from April 2012 to February 2013 registered at two sampling sites (Huelva city and in the background station of El Arenosillo, located 27 km to the south-east) have been used in the study. The results of the present study showed a large difference in mean radon concentrations between the two stations during the sampling period, 6.3 ± 0.4 Bq m−3 at Huelva and 3.0 ± 0.2 Bq m−3 at El Arenosillo. The analysis has demonstrated that hourly 222Rn concentrations at Huelva city above 22 Bq m−3, with nocturnal peaks up to 50 Bq/m3, mainly coincided with the occurrence of a pure sea-land breeze cycle. Mesoscale circulations in this region are mainly characterized by two patterns of sea-land breeze, pure and non-pure, with the phosphosypsum piles directly upstream (south) of the city during the afternoon on pure sea-breeze days. The difference between mean 222Rn activity concentrations at Huelva city were 9.9 ± 1.5 Bq m−3 for the pure pattern and 3.3 ± 0.5 Bq m−3 for the non-pure pattern, while in the background station concentrations were 3.9 ± 0.4 Bq m−3 and 2.8 ± 0.4 Bq m−3 respectively. Considering these large differences, a detailed analysis of composites and case studies of representative sea-land breeze cycles of both types and their impact on 222Rn activity concentration was performed. The results suggested that the presence of the phosphogypsum piles was necessary in order to justify the high 222Rn activity concentrations observed at Huelva compared with the background station in the afternoons on pure sea breeze days (1.5–2.0 Bq m−3). On the other hand, large night time differences between the two sites on these days were likely to be associated with a combination of shallow density currents travelling down the Guadalquivir valley and, again, the presence of phosphogypsum piles. The results have demonstrated a significant impact of the phosphogypsum piles on 222Rn activity concentrations in Huelva city during the occurrence of pure sea breeze days.
JRC Directorate:Nuclear Safety and Security

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