Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter May 2, 2013

Decommissioning and rehabilitation of uranium and thorium production facilities

Stillegung und Sanierung von Uran- und Thorium-Produktionsanlagen
M. Hagen, C. Kunze and P. Schmidt
From the journal Kerntechnik

Abstract

The use of nuclear energy for military as well as for peaceful purposes was and remains closely connected with the mining and processing of uranium ore and, to a lesser extent, of thorium ore. Mining and processing of radioactive ores are characterised by the generation of huge amounts of radioactive residues, massive impacts upon ecosystems, landscape reshaping (or devastation in some places), and the monostructural socio-economic orientation of human settlement areas. However, a great number of the mines and mills commissioned during the cold war have been already closed, either for deposits being depleted of economically recoverable resources or on political grounds. The specifics of uranium/thorium mining and milling make high demands on the decommissioning and rehabilitation of the facilities which in addition to radiological aspects would have to address issues such as water pollution control and soil conservation, future site re-use, landscaping, and infrastructure development. The present paper gives an overview of the state of decommissioning and rehabilitation. Radiological specifics and their integration into the decommissioning and rehabilitation management are demonstrated for the rehabilitation of uranium mining legacies in Saxony and Thuringia.

Kurzfassung

Die Nutzung der Kernenergie für militärische als auch friedliche Zwecke war und ist eng mit der Förderung und Verarbeitung von Uranerzen, in kleinerem Umfang auch von Thoriumerzen, verbunden. Charakteristisch für die Förderung und Verarbeitung radioaktiver Erze ist die Entstehung großer Massen an radioaktiven Rückständen, der massive Eingriff in Ökosysteme, die Prägung (z. T. auch Devastierung) von Landschaften und die monostrukturelle sozial-ökonomische Ausrichtung von Siedlungsgebieten. Viele der in den Jahren des Kalten Krieges entstandenen Bergwerke und Verarbeitungsbetriebe sind heute jedoch vor allem wegen Erschöpfung der Lagerstätten nicht mehr rentabel oder werden aus politischen Gründen stillgelegt. Die Besonderheiten der Uran/Thorium-Produktion stellen hohe Anforderungen an die Stillegung und Sanierung von Anlagen, wobei neben radiologischen Aspekten Fragen des Gewässer- und Bodenschutzes, der künftigen Flächennutzung, der Landschaftsgestaltung und der infrastrukturellen Entwicklungen zu beachten sind. Der vorliegende Beitrag gibt einen Überblick zum Stand der Stillegung und Sanierung. Beispielhaft wird anhand der Darstellung der Sanierung der Hinterlassenschaften des Uranbergbaus in Sachsen und Thüringen auf die radiologischen Besonderheiten und deren Einordnung im Rahmen des Stillegungs- und Sanierungsmanagements eingegangen.

References

1 German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety: Guidelines on How to Determine Effective Doses Caused by Natural Radioactivity at Mining Sites (in German); Berlin, 1999. Search in Google Scholar

2 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development/Nuclear Energy Agency and International Atomic Energy Agency: Environmental Remediation of Uranium Production Facilities, Joint OECD/NEA and IAEA Report, Paris 2002. Search in Google Scholar

3 CuE Consulting and Engineering GmbH: Phare Multi Country Environmental Programme – Remediation Concepts for the Uranium Mining Operations in CEEC; Final Report, Chemnitz, 1997. Search in Google Scholar

4 UMREG: Uranium Mining Remediation Exchange Group, Session, Oxford, Sept.2002. Search in Google Scholar

5 U. S. Environmental Protection Agency: Standards for the Cleanup of Land and Buildings Contaminated with Residual Radioactive Materials from Inactive Uranium Processing Sites, 1983. Search in Google Scholar

6 U. S. Environmental Protection Agency: Health and Environmental Protection Standards for the Uranium and Thorium Mill Tailings, 1989. Search in Google Scholar

7 U. S. Department of Energy: Decommissioning of US Uranium Production Facilities, DOE EIA 0592, Washington 1995. Search in Google Scholar

8 International Atomic Energy Agency: Current Practices for the Management and Confinement of Uranium Mill Tailings, IAEA Technical Report Series No. 335, Vienna 1992. Search in Google Scholar

9 International Atomic Energy Agency: Decommissioning of Facilities of Mining and Milling of Radioactive Ores and Close Out of Residues, IAEA Technical Report Series No. 362, Vienna 1994. Search in Google Scholar

10 International Atomic Energy Agency: Application of Radiation Principles to the Clean up of Contaminated Areas, IAEA TECDOC 987, Vienna 1997. Search in Google Scholar

11 International Atomic Energy Agency: Planning for Environmental Restoration of Uranium Mining and Milling Sites in Central and Eastern Europe, IAEA TECDOC 982, Vienna 1997. Search in Google Scholar

12 International Atomic Energy Agency: Proceedings of the Intern. Symp. on Restoration of Environments with Radioactive Residues, Arlington, USA, December 1999, IAEA SM 359, Vienna 2000. Search in Google Scholar

13 GDR Governmental Board for Atomic Safety: Verordnung über die Gewährleistung von Atomsicherheit und Strahlenschutz (VOAS), GBl., Teil I, Nr. 30 der DDR, vom 21. November1984. Search in Google Scholar

14 GDR Governmental Board for Atomic Safety: Anordnung zur Gewährleistung des Strahlenschutzes bei Halden und industriellen Absetzanlagen und bei der Verwendung darin abgelagerter Materialien (HaldAO), GBl, Teil I, Nr. 34 der DDR, vom 17. Dezember1980. Search in Google Scholar

15 German Commission on Radiological Protection: Radiation Protection Principles Concerning the Safeguard, Use or Release of Contaminated Materials, Buildings, Areas or Dumps from Uranium Mining, Publication of the, Vol. 23, Gustav Fischer Verlag, Stuttgart, 1992. Search in Google Scholar

16 Hagen, M.: Status and Outlook for the WISMUT Remediation Project in the States of Thuringia and Saxony, Germany, Proceedings, IAEA Meeting RADLEG-142, Moscow, 2000. Search in Google Scholar

17 Jakubick, A. T.; Hagen, M.: The WISMUT Approach to Environmental Remediation, UMREG 2002 – Uranium Mine Remediation Exchange Group, Proceedings of the Meeting, Freiberg, 2002. Search in Google Scholar

18 Schmidt, P.; Regner, J.: Improvement of the Radon Situation at Former Uranium Mining and Milling Sites in East Germany as Part of the Wismut Rehabilitation Project, Proc. 6th Int. Conference on High Levels of Natural Radioactivity and Radon Areas, Osaka, September2004. Search in Google Scholar

Received: 2004-12-22
Published Online: 2013-05-02
Published in Print: 2005-02-01

© 2005, Carl Hanser Verlag, München