Alexa High levels of Uranium found in Cox’s Bazar

Dhaka, Saturday   29 February 2020

Akash

High levels of Uranium found in Cox’s Bazar

 JKNIU Correspondent daily-bangladesh.com

 Published: 03:03 PM, 22 January 2020   Updated: 03:04 PM, 22 January 2020

Collected

Collected

Uranium levels ranging from 850.7 ppm to 990.6 ppm in Zircon and Monazite have found in the underground soil of Cox’s Bazar - which is almost twice as high as the ore found in Sylhet and Moulvibazar. 

On January 9, a report was published on the website of Japan’s world-renowned science journal ‘sciencedirect.com’ at the section of Ground Water for Sustainable Development. 

Domestic and foreign researchers have worked for this report which was led by Professor Dr. Ashraf Ali, departmental head of the Department of Environmental Science and Engineering (ESE) of Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University (JKNIU)

In the latest research conducted in Cox’s Bazar, the soil is collected from a maximum of 18.9 meters deep in the surface. Of these — Zircon and Monazite are found within 3 meters, said Researcher Professor Dr. Ashraf Ali.  

“In Cox’s Bazar soil, 1.1 ppm to 33.4 ppm Uranium and  6.3 ppm to 202.3 ppm Thorium were found. And in this soil, Monazite contains 3.28% and Zircon contain 2.36%.” 

A few years ago, a sample of 10 ppm Uranium was discovered — five times higher than the tolerance level (2 ppm) set by the World Health Organization (WHO) — by scientist Dr. Ashraf while testing a sample of groundwater in Cox’s Bazar. And after this result, he conducted a survey on the possibility of high levels of uranium in Cox’s Bazar soil.

Dr. Ashraf said that the Monazite and Zircon particles themselves are rich in Thorium from 3395.9 ppm to 3937.5 ppm and Uranium from 850.7 ppm to 990.6 ppm - which is much richer than normal levels. The normal levels of Thorium is 275.5 ppm to 318.4 ppm and Uranium is 256.3 ppm to 290.5 ppm. “Since it is quite in rich and at low depths, lifting will also be very economical.”

In his study, the presence of extremely high levels of Uranium  (16%) was detected in Monazite. Rutile, Zircon, and Ilmenite also contain radioactive substances that are very harmful like Uranium. The black layer of Uranium pollutes the air through the oxide, he said. “However, no studies have been done on the number of Uranium reserves in the ground or in the seawater in Cox’s Bazar.”

It is very encouraging what was found in the initial search in Cox’s Bazar. Chattogram's Patenga survey last year also found the presence of more radioactive material than tolerable levels in the soil. These include Uranium, Thorium, and Radium, according to Dr. Ashraf Ali adding, “These surveys provide a strong indication of Uranium and Thorium in the soil of the Chattogram coast. Other coastal areas of the country also have a strong possibility for getting these minerals.”

Uranium is used throughout the world for different purposes. Uranium, which is found in nature, is enriched in nuclear reactors and used in power plants. Uranium, which is found in nature, is enriched from 0.7% to 3.7% and from 3.7% to 5%. 

However, up to 20% of enriched uranium is called high-level uranium or Hard Rock Uranium (HRU). Nuclear power plants require a large amount of rich Uranium. Researchers believe the supply of Uranium could come from the country.

They also said that they should start preparing for the use of these valuable mineral resources in the future in line with the economic development of Bangladesh.

DailyBangladesh/AS