Radioactive contaminants have been found in coal ash, according to a new Duke University study. Testing revealed five times more radioactivity in coal ash than in normal soil. The study also found that the ash was ten times more radioactive than coal itself.
The Appalachian area in North Carolina is part of one of the three major U.S. coal-producing basins found to have higher levels of radioactivity.
The finding raises concerns about the environmental and human health risks posed by radioactivity, in addition to the selenium and arsenic that are already of concern. Coal ash is currently unregulated and is stored in coal-fired power plants' holding ponds and landfills nationwide.
The study comes as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's first-ever regulations on coal ash disposal are set to go into effect in October.
You can find a link to the full Duke University study here.