Radium-226 Contents and Rn Emanation Coefficients of Particle-size Fractions of Alkaline, Acid and Mixed U Mill Tailings

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Abstract

Alkaline circuit and mixed, acid and alkaline circuit U mill tailings sampled at an inactive mill site near Monticello, UT, and tailings from an active, acid-leach U mill were separated into particle-size fractions ranging from +10 mesh to −325 mesh by dry and wet separation techniques. The 226Ra contents and 222Rn emanation coefficients of these fractions were determined. Dry tailings show a high degree of aggregation that tends to mask the relation of properties, such as Ra content and Rn emanating power, to dispersed-particle size. Coarse-tailings fractions (+325 mesh) had emanation coefficients which were from 25 to 45% lower than those of their fine-fraction counterparts. Emanation coefficients measured for tailings derived from a salt roast/carbonate-leach process suggest that such ore roasting does not lead to reductions in Rn emanation in the tailings derived therefrom.

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