Safe Management of Residues from Former Uranium Mining and Milling Activities in Central Asian IAEA Regional Technical Cooperation Project
Several of the Central Asian countries of the former Soviet Union were involved in the uranium mining and milling industry from about 1945 for varying periods until the break up of the Soviet Union in 1991. Even before the break up, several of these facilities had been abandoned and in only a few cases had any significant remediation been undertaken. Since 1991 the newly independent states of the region have been seeking assistance for the remediation of the multitude of tailings piles, waste rock stockpiles and abandoned, and often semi-dismantled, production facilities that may be found throughout the region. Many of these sites are close to settlements that were established as service towns for the mines. Most towns still have populations, although the mining industry has departed. In some instances there are cases of pollution and contamination and in many locations there is a significant level of public concern. The IAEA has been undertaking a number of Technical Cooperation (TC) projects throughout the region for some time to strengthen the institutions in the relevant states and assist them to establish monitoring and surveillance programmes as an integral part of the long term remediation process. The IAEA is liaising with other agencies and donors who are also working on these problems to optimise the remediation effort. The paper describes the objectives and operation of the specific TC regional programme, liaison efforts with other agencies, the achievements so far and the long term issues for remediation of these legacies of the “cold war” era.
Keywordsuranium mining and milling monitoring surveillance IAEA regional programme
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