Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry

, Volume 295, Issue 2, pp 1195–1200 | Cite as

Study of uranium isotopic composition in groundwater and deviation from secular equilibrium condition

  • R. M. Tripathi
  • S. K. Sahoo
  • S. Mohapatra
  • P. Lenka
  • J. S. Dubey
  • V. D. Puranik


Uranium concentration in groundwater reflect both redox conditions and uranium content in host rock. In the present study an attempt has been made to study the uranium concentration and activity ratios of uranium isotopes to present the geochemical conditions of the groundwater in Malwa region of Punjab state, India and the reason for high uranium levels and variation of activity ratios from secular equilibrium conditions. Uranium concentration in groundwater samples was found to be in the range of 13.9 ± 1.2 to 172.8 ± 12.3 μg/l with an average value of 72.9 μg/l which is higher than the national and international guideline values. On the basis of uranium concentration, the groundwater of the study region may be classified as oxidized aquifer on normal uranium content strata (20 %) or oxidized aquifer on enhanced uranium content strata (80 %). The 238U, 235U and 234U isotopic concentration in groundwater samples was found to be in the range of 89.2–1534.5, 4.4–68.5, and 76.4–1386.2 mBq/l, respectively. Activity ratios of 234U/238U varies from 0.94 to 1.85 with a mean value of 1.11 which is close to unity that shows secular equilibrium condition. High value of 234U isotope than 238U may be due to alpha recoil phenomenon. The plot of AR of 234U/238U against the total uranium content in log scale reveals that the groundwaters of the study region either belongs to stable accumulation or normal oxidized aquifer.


Uranium Isotopic ratios Activity ratios Groundwater 



Authors gratefully acknowledge the guidance of Dr. A. K. Ghosh, Director and Dr. D. N. Sharma, Associate Director, Health, Safety and Environment Group, BARC. Guidance and help received from Ms. P. D. Sawant, BARC for isotopic analysis of uranium is acknowledged. The suggestions and help from other colleagues during the course of work and preparation of this manuscript are acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. M. Tripathi
    • 1
  • S. K. Sahoo
    • 1
  • S. Mohapatra
    • 1
  • P. Lenka
    • 1
  • J. S. Dubey
    • 1
  • V. D. Puranik
    • 1
  1. 1.Environmental Assessment DivisionBhabha Atomic Research CentreTrombay, MumbaiIndia

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