Characterization of the natural radioactivity of the first deep geothermal

Mirela Vasile, Michel Bruggeman, S. Van Meensel, S. Bos, B. Laenen

    Research outputpeer-review


    Deep geothermal energy is a local energy resource that is based on the heat generated by the Earth. As the heat is continuously regenerated, geothermal exploitation can be considered as a renewable and, depending on the techniques used, a sustainable energy production system. In September 2015, the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO) started drilling an exploration well targeting a hot water reservoir at a depth of about 3 km on the Balmatt site near Mol. Geothermal hot water contains naturally occurring gases, chemicals and radionuclides at variable concentrations. The actual concentrations and potentially related hazards strongly depend on local geological and hydrogeological conditions. This paper summarizes the radiological characterization of several rock samples obtained from different depths during the drilling, the formation water, the salt and the sediment fraction. The results of our analyses show low values for the activity concentration for uranium and thorium in the formation water and in the precipitate/sediment fraction. Also, the activity concentrations of 210Pb and 210Po are low in these samples and the activity concentration of 226Ra is dominant. From the analysis of the rock samples, it was found that the layer above the reservoir has a higher uranium and thorium concentration than the layer of the reservoir, which on the other hand contains more radium than the layer above it.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)300-303
    Number of pages3
    JournalApplied Radiation and Isotopes
    Issue number08
    StatePublished - 19 Dec 2016

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