The Radiation Physics and Environment research group (FRYMA = Física de Radiaciones y Medio Ambiente), was created in the year 1992. The original research line was the environmental radioactivity, starting with the study of the radioactive impact generated by the phosphogypsum stacks located in the vicinity of Huelva city, and the use of these radionuclides to analyze the spatial and temporal evolution of the existing pollution in the common estuary formed by the Odiel and Tinto rivers.
One relevant study area in the field of environmental radioactivity has been the radiological assessment of NORM (Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials) industries, which either use raw materials containing concentrations of natural radionuclides significantly above background, or along its industrial process generate intermediate or final materials with high content of natural radioactivity. Industries devoted to the production of phosphate fertilizers, titanium dioxide pigments, cellulose pulp, industrial landfills, electrolytic copper, etc. have been studied.
The second research line was developed from 1998 under a collaboration agreement between FRYMA and the El Arenosillo Atmospheric Sounding Station, belonging to INTA (National Institute for Aerospatiale Technology), and located at 30 km from Huelva and very close (around 10 km) to the Doñana National Park. Under this collaboration were made three doctoral thesis devoted to study the behavior of tropospheric ozone, its precursors and radioactive aerosols in Western Andalusia (Southwestern Spain).
The most appropriate treatments and technologies have to be selected and applied in different cases, from the environmental and economic point of view, thinking in the valorization as an alternative to management of waste in landfills and controlled repositories. Therefore, from about 2007 we have started with the nowadays most important research line of FRYMA: the characterization and valorization of several inorganic industrial waste, including the NORM category. We have characterized and give some applications to cements, concretes and ceramics, among others, to waste as phosphogysum (from phosphoric acid production), red gypsum, muds, etc.. In this context, we apply different materials characterization techniques and tools as ICP-MS, DRX, FRX, SEM-EDX, alpha spectrometry, gamma spectrometry, laser diffraction granulometry, TG, DTG, TGA, etc., in order to know previously in depth the properties of the wastes that we will try to valorize.