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Impact assessment of enhanced exposure from Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM) within LCA
University of Tartu, Institute of Physics, Ostwaldi 1, 50411 Tartu, Estonia.
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Sustainability Assessment and Management.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9560-3132
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5535-6368
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5600-0726
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2018 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 172, p. 2824-2839Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The potential impact of ionising radiation from enhanced exposure to Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM) to humans and the environment is not currently accounted for sufficiently in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Here we present midpoint and endpoint characterisation factors resulting from the implementation of impact assessment models for human health and ecosystems for NORM exposure. These models build upon existing fate, exposure and effect models from the LCA and radiological literature. The newly developed models are applied to a theoretical study of the utilisation of bauxite residue, a by-product of alumina processing enriched in natural radionuclides, in building materials. The ecosystem models have significant sensitivity to uncertainties surrounding the differential environmental fate of parent and daughter radionuclides that are produced as a part of decay chains, and to assumptions regarding long term releases from landfill sites. However, conservative results for environmental exposure suggest that in addition to landfill of materials, power consumption (burning coal and mining uranium) is a potentially significant source of radiological impact to the environment. From a human perspective, exposure to NORM in the use phase of building materials is the dominant source of impact, with environmental releases of nuclides playing a comparatively minor role. At an endpoint level, the impact of NORM exposure is highly significant in comparison to other impact categories in the area of protection of human health. The dose increase is of an order of magnitude comparable to lifestyle factors. The results highlight the importance within LCA of having sufficient impact assessment models to capture all potential impacts, such that issues of burden shifting between impact measures can be captured, interpreted and resolved in the optimisation of product systems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier Ltd , 2018. Vol. 172, p. 2824-2839
Keywords [en]
Bauxite residue, Burden shifting, Construction materials, LCA impact category, NORM, Agronomy, Economics, Elongation, Environmental impact, Environmental management, Fertilizers, Gas emissions, Grain growth, Greenhouse gases, Information management, Nitrogen, Nitrogen compounds, Nitrogen fertilizers, Proteins, Sustainable development, Urea, Energy indexes, GHG emission, Grain quality, N fertilizers, Triticum, Grain (agricultural product)
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-223168DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.11.131ISI: 000423002200135Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85038867547OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-223168DiVA, id: diva2:1186424
Note

QC 20180912

Available from: 2018-02-28 Created: 2018-02-28 Last updated: 2018-09-12Bibliographically approved

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The full text will be freely available from 2019-11-17 08:43
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Joyce, Peter JamesBjörklund, AnnaFinnveden, Göran

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