Radiochemical analysis of waters and mud of Euganean spas (Padua)
CNR - Institute of Inorganic Chemistry and Surfaces - C.so Stati Uniti 4 35127 Padova, Italy
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The area around the Euganean Hills (North-East Italy) is concerned with thermal phenomena known and used for therapeutic purposes since ancient times. The thermal waters collected in this area have taken up a natural radionuclides content due to the leaching of hot and permeable deep rocks, with which they come into contact, before their rising to the surface. During the "maturation" process of the mud used for treatment purposes, the thermal waters make happen a complex series of biochemical changes and release a series of chemical species to the mud, resulting, in particular, in an enrichment phenomenon for some radionuclides. In this work, the first radiochemical analysis extended to all the Euganean Thermal District is reported. In particular, chemical analyses of mud, as well as radiochemical analyses of both mud and waters were performed; the enrichment of the radioisotopes in mud used for treatments was also documented. The results show that the 226Ra content in mud, during the "maturation" process, presents an enrichment even of one order of magnitude with respect to the value found in the unprocessed mud. Furthermore, in the same thermal waters, high concentrations of "unsupported" 222Rn have been found, which have shown to be not completely negligible both for people under treatment and particularly for spa workers.
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