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Radiation Protection and NORM Residue Management in the Zircon and Zirconia Industries

Safety Reports Series No. 51

English STI/PUB/1289 ¦ 92-0-100607-1

149 pages ¦ 13 figures ¦ € 36.00 ¦ Date published: 2007

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Zircon has economic importance as a raw material in its own right and also as a feedstock for the manufacture of zirconia (zirconium dioxide), zirconium chemicals and zirconium metal. The geological processes that formed zircon led to the incorporation of radionuclides of natural origin into the crystal structure. The presence of these radionuclides is not significant enough to be of any commercial value, but creates a possible need to control exposures of workers and members of the public. This report provides detailed information on all the major industrial applications of zircon and zirconia, the processes involved, the management of naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) residues arising from such processes, the radiological characteristics of the process materials, exposure pathways to workers and members of the public, exposure levels, annual effective doses, and examples of good practice with respect to monitoring techniques and practical measures to reduce doses. For each process or industrial application, the available information is used as the basis for assessing the regulatory implications in terms of the standards for radiation protection and management of radioactive waste.

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