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Radioactive Material in Coal

People in Hazmat suits

Did you know that coal contains naturally radiative trace elements such as Uranium (U), Thorium (Th) and numerous decay products including Radium (Ra) and Radon (Rn), as well as heavy metals such as arsenic, lead and mercury?

To minimise the amount of radioactive material released by coal-fired plants, mitigating measures can be implemented, including using scrubbers and filters and sending coal ash to secure landfills to prevent it from further polluting the air, leaching into the environment or contaminating soil and/or water.

The majority of air pollution in Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia, is produced in the city’s Ger districts by small coal and wood burning stoves, which do not have such filters. These stoves are the primary source of heating and cooking and are essential for survival, to the local population living in these districts, especially during the cold of winter.

Numerous studies around the world have found a direct link between free radioactive particles and heavy metals occurring in the environment, and health risks in humans: particles inhaled or ingested can cause cancer and other health problems.

Switching to cleaner sources of energy such as gas, solar, wind, geothermal or even nuclear power are currently considered viable solutions to reducing the amount of radioactivity released in our environment.

In particular Mongolia and its capital city would stand to significantly benefit from being able to rely on cleaner sources of energy. Strides towards reliable such resources are being made by the Mongolian government, as well as numerous initiatives to provide new housing with cleaner sources of heating and power.

With its developing CBM industry and a push for more energy investment, in addition to significant building projects to encourage people to move from existing Ger Districts to modern housing estates, Mongolia is hoping to secure a much healthier environment for its people.

If you want more information on how Excelsior Energy is helping Mongolia make the energy transition, contact us on

For more information on the impacts of burning coal:

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