Evidence for a higher natural uranium content in world rivers


α-SPECTROMETRIC uranium isotopes analyses on groundwater samples from the highly fertilised Handschuhsheimer Feld area in Heidelberg suggest that the uranium content of the groundwater is primarily of natural origin; uranium derived from phosphate fertilisers is adsorbed on the uppermost soil layers and the uranium content of the water is correlated to the HCO3 content. A similar relationship between uranium and HCO3 also applies for world rivers and lakes. We show here that this indicates that a low uranium content is due to low HCO3 contents and not to lower contamination levels. On the basis of this correlation the average natural uranium content of world rivers, for 35% of the water input to the ocean, was calculated to be µg l−1.

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MANGINI, A., SONNTAG, C., BERTSCH, G. et al. Evidence for a higher natural uranium content in world rivers. Nature 278, 337–339 (1979). https://doi.org/10.1038/278337a0

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