Remediation of uranium mining areas in the Czech Republic

Petrová Š., Soudek P., Vaněk T.
CHEMICKÉ LISTY 107 [4]: 283-291, 2013

Keywords: uranium, mining, contamination, remediation
Abstract: Uranium areas contaminated with radionuclides are located near the places of mining and processing of uranium ores. The most contaminated areas in the Czech Republic are located near Stráž pod Ralskem (in situ chemical leaching), Rožná, and Mydlovary (both uranium processing plants). Radioactive waste is stored in waste rock dumps, and waste piles. Water flowing from the tailings and waste piles has also higher concentrations of radionuclides. It is essential to decrease the pollution; otherwise, the radionuclides can contaminate sources of drinking water which can lead to spread of contamination into the food chain. In the past, pollution problems were solved through ex situ methods (contaminated soil or water was processed outside of the area). These methods were very expensive and destructive in relation to the soil properties and the environment. Nowadays, the objective of successful remediation is to find and use such method that preserves the functions and properties of the soil. In situ methods offer decontamination techniques on site without the removal of contaminated soil; therefore, they are friendlier to the environment, and cheaper than ex situ methods. This paper reviews uranium mining areas in the Czech Republic and possible ways of redevelopment of these contaminated sites.
IEB authors: Šárka Petrová, Petr Soudek, Tomáš Vaněk