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Phosphogypsum refers to the gypsum formed as a by-product of processing phosphate ore into fertilizer with sulfuric acid. Phosphogypsum is radioactive due to the presence of naturally-occurring uranium and radium in the phosphate ore.
Additional recommended knowledge
Marine-deposited phosphate typically has a higher level of radioactivity than igneous phosphate deposits, because uranium is present in seawater.
In the United States
The United States Environmental Protection Agency has banned most applications of phosphogypsum with a radium-226 concentration of greater than 10 picocuries/gram (pCi/g). As a result, phosphogypsum which exceeds this limit is stored in large stacks.
Florida has a large quantity of phosphate deposits, particularly in Bone Valley region. However, the marine-deposited phosphate ore from central Florida is highly radioactive, and as such, the phosphogypsum by-product is too radioactive to be used for most applications. As a result, there are about 1 billion tons of phosphogypsum stacked in 25 stacks in Florida (22 are in central Florida) and about 30 million new tons are generated each year.
Various applications have been proposed for using phosphogypsum, including using it as material for:
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Phosphogypsum". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|