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Assessment of potassium isotope--40 in Ardabil soils.


One of the potentially harmful environmental factors is Ionizing radiations that caused by natural resources with cosmic origin and natural radioactive materials in the earth's crust as well as artificial sources include artificial radioactive substances and devices produce radiation. Naturally, there are three types of radioactive material in some parts in the world and on the surface and a depth, several meters. Potassium discovered during extraction of potassium hydroxide KOH in 1807 [1]

Potassium (K) is an alkali metal and its atomic number is19. Potassium is soft and silver--white; easily oxides in the air, extremely interacts with water, produce heat, and thereby lead to ignite hydrogen and its reaction. This element forms approximately 4.2% of Earth's crust. It is the seventh most abundant element in the soil. Obtaining potassium from minerals is very difficult because of its insolubility and durability. Potassium and carbon, mainly, containing radioactive isotopes which has significantly high radiation dose. An average, Human has about 30 milligrams of potassium 40 that has a half life of 5730 years [2]. So far, 17 isotopes of potassium have been known. Non combinatorial form of potassium are composed of three isotopes: K-40 (93.3%), K39 (0.01%) and K-41 (6.7%). It must be said that K 40 that naturally occurring, by electron capture and omission of positron converted to stable Ar 40.

A nucleus cannot decompose simultaneously with more than one type of radiation dose. Natural radioactive substances decompose as a result of sequentially decay. Natural sources of ionizing radiation such as alpha, beta, gamma, neutron and gamma photon existed since the creation of the world and now which has been a slight decrease over the centuries and much of their irradiation resulting from radioactive material in the earth's crust. The main source of natural radioactivity in the earth's crust which lead to large attract of radiation by living organisms is due to radio nucleotides in decay series U238 , Th232 and radioactive radio nucleotides k 40 [3]. Normal radioactive substances and gamma rays in different areas depend on the geological and geographical conditions and environment and available at different values in each region of the world's soil. Regarding the population subjected to natural radioactivity due to gamma radiation is different in every region of the world, therefore, according to the various method of radiation measuring, identification and continuous control of activities where are at a higher level in terms of radioactive materials is essential [4]. dadkhah and Nileye Ahmadi [5], radioactive substances are naturally expanded in the environment, although they are low density and are normally harmless. Soil naturally contains various radioactive materials some of which include uranium, thorium, radium and radon gas that continuously enters the atmosphere and have radioactivity. The major portion of the earth's crust consists of wastes with low level of radioactivity. Radiation of these waves no due to use of uranium for power generation only, but also, extraction of uranium from mines and its primary preparation for fuel cycle in case of uranium and any kind of other elements lead to human contact to these materials.

Riyazi and Tahghighi [6], during occurrence nuclear events trough wars and damages to nuclear installation, most important action, primarily, is lifesaving of injured and then remove infection from infected peoples. In this text, first introduction to most important radioactive elements in terms of nuclear contaminations and then summary about what should done as primarily clinical actions for infected people has been provided. Radiation leads to biological damages to body tissues trough direct and indirect ways. After contact of ionization rays to materials atoms, its a few or whole energy transfer and cause stimulation and ionization in site. Ionization can directly damage to structures and sensitive molecules in body cells that known as direct effect of radiation.

Azarvand [7], in determinant of natural radioactivity measurements in environmental samples of Sungun mining, Iran, showed that the amount radioactive elements, especially K40, in many parts of the region is higher than world average provided by UNICER (2000). According to biological effects of radiation on humans, the results are very important in terms of protection against radiation and health of those working in the mine. Rajesh et al [8], performed the study of k 40, 127 c transfer from Soils to food products. They conducted this transfer from soil to vegetables and dry forage by gamma technique. They harvested 31 soil, 21 vegetable and 22 dry forage samples from 23 different farms. They research showed that this samples are not in critical level. Macneill et al [9], proceed to the zoning of radio cesium levels in Ireland soils and performed study of its transfer from soil to potato plants. They study, using of gamma spectrophotometer analysis technique, showed that Ireland soils affected by Chernevil phenomenon and there is more than 88 percent of cesium, remained from Chernevil, in 1-10 cm of soil. The aim of this study is to determine potassium isotope 40 in Ardabil soil.


This study carried out to evaluate amount of potassium isotope--40 in Ardabil soils in summer 2013. Sampling, randomly, take from soil of seven regions Karshenasan, Kowsar, Niar, Niar 1, Dash kasan, Shoorabil and Shoorabil 1, in Ardabil. Data needed obtained trough sampling and analysis of samples in the laboratory of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. For recording the sampling points, the location measuring device GPS is used. To prepare variables needed for related models, also, Excel soft ware is used. First, collected information introduce to working pages are created in the software and then calculations conducted to achieve variables in this study. After calculation of all variables need for this research model, these variables combined in working integrated pages to transfer electronically to the soft ware in final process. Permitted level, according to Idaho University, USA, is 400 kebrel per kilogram that used in this study.

Table 1: results from soil sampling from Ardabil soils.

Sample position    Gamma spectrometer         Result         Unit

Karshenasan       Soil radio nucleotide   877 [+ or -] 33   Bq / kg
Kosar             Soil radio nucleotide   812 [+ or -] 30   Bq / kg
Niar1             Soil radio nucleotide   984 [+ or -] 37   Bq / kg
Niar2             Soil radio nucleotide   857 [+ or -] 32   Bq / kg
Dash Kasan        Soil radio nucleotide   760 [+ or -] 28   Bq / kg
Shorabil1         Soil radio nucleotide   638 [+ or -] 24   Bq / kg
Shorabil2         Soil radio nucleotide   634 [+ or -] 24   Bq / kg

According to table 1, in all sampling regions, amount of potassium isotope 40 is higher than standard level of atomic energy, 457 kebrel per kilogram.

The results of discretional statistics of research variables showed that potassium isotope in sampling regions has average amount of 794.57, median 812, mode 634, SD 128.04, variance 16395.2, minimum 634 and maximum 984 kebrel per kilogram.

Data normality test:
Table 3: Result of Kolmogorov--Smirnov test for data normality

Parameters                    value

Maximum positive difference    0.18
Maximum negative difference   -0.15
Kolmogorov--Smirnov            0.48
Significant level              0.97

To assessment normality of independent variable distribution, Kolmogorov--Smirnov test used that its assumptions are following:

Null and Alternative hypothesis:

Data distribution is normal: H0

Data distribution is abnormal: H1

According to table 3, significant level of data is more than 5%; thus, we accept H1 assumptions. In other word, independent variable data distribution is normal.


According to Iran Atomic Energy, permitted level for isotope 40 is equal to 400 kebrel per kilogram. Results of soil sampling from Ardabil showed that highest to lowest amount of isotope 40 belongs to Niar 1 (984), Karshenasan (877), Niar 2 (857), Kowsar (812), Dash kasan (760), Shoorabil 1 (638) and Shoorabil 2 (634), kebrel per kilogram, respectively. As a result, each points of measurement represent the excess of permitted standard of Idaho University, USA. Niar (948 kebrel per kilogram) and Shoorabil (634 kebrel per kilogram) has highest and lowest infection, respectively.


To perform this study, seven kinds of soils from different regions evaluated that potassium isotope 40 radio nucleotides in this soils has average amount of 794.57, median 812, mode 634, SD 128.04, variance 16395.2, minimum 634 and maximum 984 kebrel per kilogram. The results of this study shows that average concentration of potassium 40 in soils sampled from Ardabil is more than standard level of Atomic Energy.


Article history:

Received 26 September 2014

Received in revised form 20 November 2014

Accepted 25 December 2014

Available online 2 January 2015


[1] Tiecke, T.G., 2010. Properties of Potassium.2010. van der Waals-Zeeman institute University of Amsterdam. The Netherlands . v1.0 (February, 2010).

[2] Upfal, Mark, J., Johnson, Christine, 2003. "65 Residential Radon". In Greenberg, Michael I.; Hamilton, Richard J., Phillips, Scott D. et al. Occupational, industrial, and environmental toxicology (2nd ed.). St Louis, Missouri: Mosby. ISBN 9780323013406. Retrieved 28 November.

[3] Parivand, Y., 1999. All of the environmental situation in Ardabil province, Islamic Azad University, Ardabil.

[4] Ghandi Maraghe, M., 2001. Nuclear Chemistry and Chemical radio, publishing AEOI, pp: 173-179.

[5] Dadkhah, A. and A. Nileye Ahmadi, 2006. Classification of radioactive material in the environment, Proceedings of the International Conference on the status of the nuclear fuel cycle technology development and research.

[6] Riyazi, R. and A. Tahghighi, 2012. Introduction of radioactive contamination and methods of decontamination of Avicenna Journal, 1(2): 13-18.

[7] Azarvand, S., 2012. determine and measure the natural radioactivity in environmental samples Sungun's mining region, Zeiss journal Environmental Science and Technology, pp: 49-58.

[8] Rajesh, H., D. Panchal Devendar, H. Rao Bipin Mehta, 2011. Mehta Transfer of 137 Cs and 40 K from Agricultural Soils to Food Products in Terrestrial Environment of Tarapur, India. Water Air Soil Pollut, 219: 429-442.

[9] Macneill, Geradine, Y.T. Duffy, Y.D. Cuningham, Nuclear Energy, 1991. Bard. Environmental science, 22(1): 73.

Pooriya Rafiee and Somayeh Najirad

Environmental engineering Department, Ardabil Branch, Islamic Azad University, Ardabil, Iran

Corresponding Author: Somayeh Najirad, Environmental engineering Department, Ardabil Branch, Islamic Azad University, Ardabil, Iran
Table 2: Discretional statistics of research variables

discretional   potassium isotope

Number                 7
Mean                794/57
Min                   812
Mod                   634
a                   128.04
Var                16395.29
Min                   634
Max                   984

Table 5: T-test

         Number    Mean     Standard    Mean Standard
                            deviation   deviation

Value        7     794.57    128.044       48.39

Table 5: Test, according to Idaho university standard.

Portion value: 400

Degree of confidence      Mean      Standard
                       difference   deviation
Highest   Lowest

455.99    219.15         337.57       0.000

Portion value: 400

Degree of confidence   Degree of   T - test
Highest   Lowest

455.99    219.15           6        6.975     value
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Author:Rafiee, Pooriya; Najirad, Somayeh
Publication:Advances in Environmental Biology
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Dec 15, 2014
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