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Sample records for jaduguda uranium mines

  1. Uptake of uranium by aquatic plants growing in fresh water ecosystem around uranium mill tailings pond at Jaduguda, India.

    PubMed

    Jha, V N; Tripathi, R M; Sethy, N K; Sahoo, S K

    2016-01-01

    Concentration of uranium was determined in aquatic plants and substrate (sediment or water) of fresh water ecosystem on and around uranium mill tailings pond at Jaduguda, India. Aquatic plant/substrate concentration ratios (CRs) of uranium were estimated for different sites on and around the uranium mill tailings disposal area. These sites include upstream and downstream side of surface water sources carrying the treated tailings effluent, a small pond inside tailings disposal area and residual water of this area. Three types of plant groups were investigated namely algae (filamentous and non-filamentous), other free floating & water submerged and sediment rooted plants. Wide variability in concentration ratio was observed for different groups of plants studied. The filamentous algae uranium concentration was significantly correlated with that of water (r=0.86, p<0.003). For sediment rooted plants significant correlation was found between uranium concentration in plant and the substrate (r=0.88, p<0.001). Both for other free floating species and sediment rooted plants, uranium concentration was significantly correlated with Mn, Fe, and Ni concentration of plants (p<0.01). Filamentous algae, Jussiaea and Pistia owing to their high bioproductivity, biomass, uranium accumulation and concentration ratio can be useful for prospecting phytoremediation of stream carrying treated or untreated uranium mill tailings effluent. PMID:26360459

  2. An assessment of the radiological scenario around uranium mines in Singhbhum East district, Jharkhand, India.

    PubMed

    Tripathi, R M; Sahoo, S K; Mohapatra, S; Patra, A C; Lenka, P; Dubey, J S; Jha, V N; Puranik, V D

    2012-07-01

    The present work deals with the prevalent radiological scenario around uranium-mining sites in the Singhbhum East district of Jharkhand state, India. The concentration of naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORMs) was estimated from 27 soil samples collected around three regions in the study area, namely Bagjata, Turamdih and Jaduguda. The mean activity concentrations of (238)U in Bagjata, Turamdih and Jaduguda regions were found to be 128.6, 95.7 and 49.2 Bq kg(-1), respectively. Similarly for (232)Th and (40)K the activity concentrations were found to be 57.3, 78.4, 68.9 and 530, 425 and 615 Bq kg(-1) in the Bagjata, Turamdih and Jaduguda regions, respectively, which are comparable with other reported values worldwide, except for some high values. The calculated gamma dose rate, obtained from the concentrations of (238)U, (232)Th and (40)K in the samples, was compared with the observed dose rate in air. A good correlation (0.96) was observed between the calculated and the observed gamma dose rate. The annual outdoor effective dose rate was estimated and the values falls between 0.04-0.3, 0.07-0.3 and 0.07-.14 mSv y(-1) with mean values of 0.14, 0.12 and 0.11 mSv y(-1) for the Bagjata, Turamdih and Jaduguda regions, respectively. The terrestrial dose rates in all the three regions are comparable with other reported values worldwide, except for a few high values in Greece, Rio Grande Do Norte (Brazil) and Kalpakkam (India). PMID:22155799

  3. Domestic uranium mining and milling

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1983-01-01

    A field hearing was held in Riverton, Wyoming on the erosion of the state's uranium industry as production and capital investment have declined and inventories have continued to rise because of a shift to foreign suppliers. The result has been serious unemployment in Wyoming and a decline in uranium mines from 5400 in 1980 to the present 1200. The seven witnesses spoke for the mining industry and state and federal government. Among the issues raised were mining regulations and the cancellation of nuclear rejects which have impacted the health of the industry. Additional statements and a report supplied for the record follow their testimony. (DCK)

  4. Radon emanation from backfilled mill tailings in underground uranium mine.

    PubMed

    Sahu, Patitapaban; Mishra, Devi Prasad; Panigrahi, Durga Charan; Jha, Vivekananda; Patnaik, R Lokeswara; Sethy, Narendra Kumar

    2014-04-01

    Coarser mill tailings used as backfill to stabilize the stoped out areas in underground uranium mines is a potential source of radon contamination. This paper presents the quantitative assessment of radon emanation from the backfilled tailings in Jaduguda mine, India using a cylindrical accumulator. Some of the important parameters such as (226)Ra activity concentration, bulk density, bulk porosity, moisture content and radon emanation factor of the tailings affecting radon emanation were determined in the laboratory. The study revealed that the radon emanation rate of the tailings varied in the range of 0.12-7.03 Bq m(-2) s(-1) with geometric mean of 1.01 Bq m(-2) s(-1) and geometric standard deviation of 3.39. An increase in radon emanation rate was noticed up to a moisture saturation of 0.09 in the tailings, after which the emanation rate gradually started declining with saturation due to low diffusion coefficient of radon in the saturated tailings. Radon emanation factor of the tailings varied in the range of 0.08-0.23 with the mean value of 0.21. The emanation factor of the tailings with moisture saturation level over 0.09 was found to be about three times higher than that of the absolutely dry tailings. The empirical relationship obtained between (222)Rn emanation rate and (226)Ra activity concentration of the tailings indicated a significant positive linear correlation (r = 0.95, p < 0.001). This relationship may be useful for quick prediction of radon emanation rate from the backfill material of similar nature. PMID:24412814

  5. Spatial distribution of gamma radiation levels in surface soils from Jaduguda uranium mineralization zone, Jharkhand, India, using γ-ray spectrometry, and determination of outdoor dose to the population.

    PubMed

    Maharana, Mandakini; Krishnan, Narayani; Sengupta, D

    2010-10-01

    The concentrations of natural radionuclides in surface soil samples around selected villages of Jaduguda were investigated and compared with the radioactivity level in the region. Concentrations of (238)U, (232)Th, and (40)K were determined by a gamma ray spectrometer using the HPGe detector with 50% relative efficiency, and the radiation dose to the local population was estimated. The average estimated activity concentrations of (238)U, (232)Th, and (40)K in the surface soil were 53.8, 44.2 and 464.2 Bq kg(-1) respectively. The average absorbed dose rate in the study area was estimated to be 72.5 nGy h-1, where as the annual effective dose to the population was 0.09 mSv y-1. A correlation analysis was made between measured dose rate and individual radionuclides, in order to delineate the contribution of the respective nuclides towards dose rate. The radio-elemental concentrations of uranium, thorium and potassium estimated for the soils, in the study area, indicated the enrichment of uranium series nuclide. The results of the present study were subsequently compared with international and national recommended values. PMID:21170189

  6. Spatial distribution of gamma radiation levels in surface soils from Jaduguda uranium mineralization zone, Jharkhand, India, using γ-ray spectrometry, and determination of outdoor dose to the population

    PubMed Central

    Maharana, Mandakini; Krishnan, Narayani; Sengupta, D.

    2010-01-01

    The concentrations of natural radionuclides in surface soil samples around selected villages of Jaduguda were investigated and compared with the radioactivity level in the region. Concentrations of 238U, 232Th, and 40K were determined by a gamma ray spectrometer using the HPGe detector with 50% relative efficiency, and the radiation dose to the local population was estimated. The average estimated activity concentrations of 238U, 232Th, and 40K in the surface soil were 53.8, 44.2 and 464.2 Bq kg−1 respectively. The average absorbed dose rate in the study area was estimated to be 72.5 nGy h-1, where as the annual effective dose to the population was 0.09 mSv y-1. A correlation analysis was made between measured dose rate and individual radionuclides, in order to delineate the contribution of the respective nuclides towards dose rate. The radio-elemental concentrations of uranium, thorium and potassium estimated for the soils, in the study area, indicated the enrichment of uranium series nuclide. The results of the present study were subsequently compared with international and national recommended values. PMID:21170189

  7. Modeled atmospheric radon concentrations from uranium mines

    SciTech Connect

    Droppo, J.G.

    1985-04-01

    Uranium mining and milling operations result in the release of radon from numerous sources of various types and strengths. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Clean Air Act, is assessing the health impact of air emissions of radon from underground uranium mines. In this case, the radon emissions may impact workers and residents in the mine vicinity. To aid in this assessment, the EPA needs to know how mine releases can affect the radon concentrations at populated locations. To obtain this type of information, Pacific Northwest Laboratory used the radon emissions, release characteristics and local meterological conditions for a number of mines to model incremental radon concentrations. Long-term, average, incremental radon concentrations were computed based on the best available information on release rates, plume rise parameters, number and locations of vents, and local dispersion climatology. Calculations are made for a model mine, individual mines, and multiple mines. Our approach was to start with a general case and then consider specific cases for comparison. A model underground uranium mine was used to provide definition of the order of magnitude of typical impacts. Then computations were made for specific mines using the best mine-specific information available for each mine. These case study results are expressed as predicted incremental radon concentration contours plotted on maps with local population data from a previous study. Finally, the effect of possible overlap of radon releases from nearby mines was studied by calculating cumulative radon concentrations for multiple mines in a region with many mines. The dispersion model, modeling assumptions, data sources, computational procedures, and results are documented in this report. 7 refs., 27 figs., 18 tabs.

  8. Monitoring of Uranium Mining and Milling Operations

    SciTech Connect

    Curtis, Michael M.

    2004-12-01

    The International Atomic Energy Agency's Additional Protocol has engendered the monitoring of past and present uranium mining and milling operations by the IAEA. This activity requires tools, instruments, and expertise unfamiliar to Agency safeguards inspectors, but methods and instruments for effecting such monitoring are currently being employed by geologists, geophysicists, mining engineers, environmental officials, and archaeologists. Remote sensing in the form of photography, radar imagery, and gamma ray spectroscopy complements field data by disclosing prior mine-related activities or the magnitude of present ones, including: surveying pit volumes, mapping the spatial distribution of mine tailings over time, identifying soil and mineral disparities, and revealing biophysical data.

  9. What Price Energy? Hazards of Uranium Mining in the Southwest.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Barry, Tom

    1979-01-01

    This article describes the hazards, sickness, death and destruction caused by uranium mining/nuclear energy development in the Southwest focusing on the experiences of several Indian uranium mines. (RTS)

  10. Radiological characterization of a uranium mine with no mining activity

    PubMed

    Lozano; Vera Tome F; Gomez Escobar V; Blanco Rodriguez P

    2000-07-01

    We report a radiological study of a uranium mine located in Extremadura, in the south-west of Spain, in which mining work had ceased. One interest in the work is that the results can be used as a reference for the future evaluation of the effects produced by the restoration program. The radiological parameters selected to estimate the impact of the inactive mine were: 222Rn in air and water, 222Rn exhalation, effective 226Ra in soils and sediments, and natural uranium and 226Ra in water. Chemical analyses of water samples and measurements of meteorological variables were also made. Average values of these radiological parameters are presented. We characterize the zone radiologically and estimate the influence of the mine on the basis of some of these parameters, while others are used to reflect the status of the installation, information which could be very useful in the near future when restoration is complete. PMID:10879882

  11. URANIUM MINING TENORM TECHNICAL REPORT - VOLUME I

    EPA Science Inventory

    The intent of this effort is to publish a series of individual reports, using a consistent approach, on industries that makes use of or produces TENORM waste. The first three products of this effort will be a URANIUM MINE LOCATION DATABASE, included in the Science Inventory as a...

  12. Assessment of (222)Rn emanation from ore body and backfill tailings in low-grade underground uranium mine.

    PubMed

    Mishra, Devi Prasad; Sahu, Patitapaban; Panigrahi, Durga Charan; Jha, Vivekanand; Patnaik, R Lokeswara

    2014-02-01

    This paper presents a comparative study of (222)Rn emanation from the ore and backfill tailings in an underground uranium mine located at Jaduguda, India. The effects of surface area, porosity, (226)Ra and moisture contents on (222)Rn emanation rate were examined. The study revealed that the bulk porosity of backfill tailings is more than two orders of magnitude than that of the ore. The geometric mean radon emanation rates from the ore body and backfill tailings were found to be 10.01 × 10(-3) and 1.03 Bq m(-2) s(-1), respectively. Significant positive linear correlations between (222)Rn emanation rate and the (226)Ra content of ore and tailings were observed. For normalised (226)Ra content, the (222)Rn emanation rate from tailings was found to be 283 times higher than the ore due to higher bulk porosity and surface area. The relative radon emanation from the tailings with moisture fraction of 0.14 was found to be 2.4 times higher than the oven-dried tailings. The study suggested that the mill tailings used as a backfill material significantly contributes to radon emanation as compared to the ore body itself and the (226)Ra content and bulk porosity are the dominant factors for radon emanation into the mine atmosphere. PMID:24057960

  13. Microbial Diversity in Uranium Mine Waste Heaps

    PubMed Central

    Schippers, A.; Hallmann, R.; Wentzien, S.; Sand, W.

    1995-01-01

    Two different uranium mine waste heaps near Ronneburg, Thuringia, Germany, which contain the remains of the activity of the former uranium-mining Soviet-East German company Wismut AG, were analyzed for the occurrence of lithotrophic and chemoorganotropic leach bacteria. A total of 162 ore samples were taken up to a depth of 5 m. Cell counts of ferrous iron-, sulfur-, sulfur compound-, ammonia-, and nitrite-oxidizing bacteria were determined quantitatively by the most-probable-number technique. Sulfate-, nitrate-, ferric iron-, and manganese-reducing bacteria were also detected. In addition, the metabolic activity of sulfur- and iron-oxidizing bacteria was measured by microcalorimetry. Generally, all microorganisms mentioned above were detectable in the heaps. Aerobic and anaerobic microorganisms thrived up to a depth of 1.5 to 2 m. Up to 99% of Thiobacillus ferrooxidans cells, the dominant leaching bacteria, occurred to this depth. Their numbers correlated with the microbial activity measurements. Samples below 1.5 to 2 m exhibited reduced oxygen concentrations and reduced cell counts for all microorganisms. PMID:16535096

  14. The History of Uranium Mining and the Navajo People

    PubMed Central

    Brugge, Doug; Goble, Rob

    2002-01-01

    From World War II until 1971, the government was the sole purchaser of uranium ore in the United States. Uranium mining occurred mostly in the southwestern United States and drew many Native Americans and others into work in the mines and mills. Despite a long and well-developed understanding, based on the European experience earlier in the century, that uranium mining led to high rates of lung cancer, few protections were provided for US miners before 1962 and their adoption after that time was slow and incomplete. The resulting high rates of illness among miners led in 1990 to passage of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act. PMID:12197966

  15. TECHNICAL SUPPORT TO NAVAJO NATION ON URANIUM MINING TENORM WASTES.

    EPA Science Inventory

    Assistance is being provided to the Navajo Nation to establish its own radiation protection standards, radiation action levels, identification of safe drinking water sources, safe disposal of radioactive TENORM wastes from abandoned uranium mines, and to locate and decontaminate ...

  16. India's Worsening Uranium Shortage

    SciTech Connect

    Curtis, Michael M.

    2007-01-15

    As a result of NSG restrictions, India cannot import the natural uranium required to fuel its Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs); consequently, it is forced to rely on the expediency of domestic uranium production. However, domestic production from mines and byproduct sources has not kept pace with demand from commercial reactors. This shortage has been officially confirmed by the Indian Planning Commission’s Mid-Term Appraisal of the country’s current Five Year Plan. The report stresses that as a result of the uranium shortage, Indian PHWR load factors have been continually decreasing. The Uranium Corporation of India Ltd (UCIL) operates a number of underground mines in the Singhbhum Shear Zone of Jharkhand, and it is all processed at a single mill in Jaduguda. UCIL is attempting to aggrandize operations by establishing new mines and mills in other states, but the requisite permit-gathering and development time will defer production until at least 2009. A significant portion of India’s uranium comes from byproduct sources, but a number of these are derived from accumulated stores that are nearing exhaustion. A current maximum estimate of indigenous uranium production is 430t/yr (230t from mines and 200t from byproduct sources); whereas, the current uranium requirement for Indian PHWRs is 455t/yr (depending on plant capacity factor). This deficit is exacerbated by the additional requirements of the Indian weapons program. Present power generation capacity of Indian nuclear plants is 4350 MWe. The power generation target set by the Indian Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) is 20,000 MWe by the year 2020. It is expected that around half of this total will be provided by PHWRs using indigenously supplied uranium with the bulk of the remainder provided by breeder reactors or pressurized water reactors using imported low-enriched uranium.

  17. Uranium mining and lung cancer in Navajo men

    SciTech Connect

    Samet, J.M.; Kutvirt, D.M.; Waxweiler, R.J.; Key, C.R.

    1984-06-07

    We performed a population-based case-control study to examine the association between uranium mining and lung cancer in Navajo men, a predominantly nonsmoking population. The 32 cases included all those occurring among Navajo men between 1969 and 1982, as ascertained by the New Mexico Tumor Registry. For each case in a Navajo man, two controls with nonrespiratory cancer were selected. Of the 32 Navajo patients, 72 per cent had been employed as uranium miners, whereas no controls had documented experience in this industry. The lower 95 per cent confidence limit for the relative risk of lung cancer associated with uranium mining was 14.4. Information on cigarette smoking was available for 21 of the 23 affected uranium miners; eight were nonsmokers and median consumption by the remainder was one to three cigarettes daily. These results demonstrate that in a rural nonsmoking population most of the lung cancer may be attributable to one hazardous occupation.

  18. US uranium mining industry: background information on economics and emissions

    SciTech Connect

    Bruno, G.A.; Dirks, J.A.; Jackson, P.O.; Young, J.K.

    1984-03-01

    A review of the US uranium mining industry has revealed a generally depressed industry situation. The 1982 U/sub 3/O/sub 8/ production from both open-pit and underground mines declined to 3800 and 6300 tons respectively with the underground portion representing 46% of total production. US exploration and development has continued downward in 1982. Employment in the mining and milling sectors has dropped 31% and 17% respectively in 1982. Representative forecasts were developed for reactor fuel demand and U/sub 3/O/sub 8/ production for the years 1983 and 1990. Reactor fuel demand is estimated to increase from 15,900 tons to 21,300 tons U/sub 3/O/sub 8/ respectively. U/sub 3/O/sub 8/ production, however, is estimated to decrease from 10,600 tons to 9600 tons respectively. A field examination was conducted of 29 selected underground uranium mines that represent 84% of the 1982 underground production. Data was gathered regarding population, land ownership and private property valuation. An analysis of the increased cost to production resulting from the installation of 20-meter high exhaust borehole vent stacks was conducted. An assessment was made of the current and future /sup 222/Rn emission levels for a group of 27 uranium mines. It is shown that /sup 222/Rn emission rates are increasing from 10 individual operating mines through 1990 by 1.2 to 3.8 times. But for the group of 27 mines as a whole, a reduction of total /sup 222/Rn emissions is predicted due to 17 of the mines being shutdown and sealed. The estimated total /sup 222/Rn emission rate for this group of mines will be 105 Ci/yr by year end 1983 or 70% of the 1978-79 measured rate and 124 Ci/yr by year end 1990 or 83% of the 1978-79 measured rate.

  19. Effects of uranium mining, Puerco River, New Mexico

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lopes, Thomas J.

    1991-01-01

    Effluent from uranium-mine dewatering and acidic water released by a tailings-pond dike failure increased radionuclide activities in streamflow in the Puerco River in New Mexico and Arizona. Median dissolved gross-alpha activity in the streamflow was 1,130 picocuries per liter from 1975 to 1986 when mine discharges ceased and 6.2 picocuries per liter from 1986 to 1989. From 1975 to July 1979, major ions in streamflow at the Puerco River at Gallup streamflow-gaging station were sodium, bicarbonate, and sulfate. On July 16, 1979, the day of the tailing spill, major ions in streamflow were magnesium, calcium, and sulfate. From 1979 to 1984, major ions in streamflow had a greater proportion of calcium and sulfate than prior to the spill, indicating flushing of residual tailings solution. Geochemical modeling of mine effluent indicates that uranium was unlikely to precipitate from effluent between the mines and Gallup or when mixed with wastewater downstream from Gallup. Geochemical modeling of acidic-tailings solution indicates that uranium was in solution as far downstream as Gallup. When the acidic-tailings solution mixed with 10- to 40-percent wastewater, uranium may have precipitated from solution as carnotite [K2(UO2)2(VO4)2] and tyuyamunite [Ca(UO2)2(VO4)2].

  20. ASSESSMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS OF URANIUM MINING AND MILLING

    EPA Science Inventory

    This research program was initiated with the basic objective of making a preliminary assessment of the potential environmental impacts associated with the mining and milling of domestic uranium ores. All forms of pollution except radiation were considered. The program included a ...

  1. Some implications of in situ uranium mining technology development

    SciTech Connect

    Cowan, C.E.; Parkhurst, M.A.; Cole, R.J.; Keller, D.; Mellinger, P.J.; Wallace, R.W.

    1980-09-01

    A technology assessment was initiated in March 1979 of the in-situ uranium mining technology. This report explores the impediments to development and deployment of this technology and evaluates the environmental impacts of a generic in-situ facility. The report is divided into the following sections: introduction, technology description, physical environment, institutional and socioeconomic environment, impact assessment, impediments, and conclusions. (DLC)

  2. Radon and aerosol release from open-pit uranium mining

    SciTech Connect

    Thomas, V.W.; Nielson, K.K.; Mauch, M.L.

    1982-08-01

    The quantity of /sup 222/Rn (hereafter called radon) released per unit of uranium produced from open pit mining has been determined. A secondary objective was to determine the nature and quantity of airborne particles resulting from mine operations. To accomplish these objectives, a comprehensive study of the release rates of radon and aerosol material to the atmosphere was made over a one-year period from April 1979 to May 1980 at the Morton Ranch Mine which was operated by United Nuclear Corporation (UNC) in partnership with Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The mine is now operated for TVA by Silver King Mines. Morton Ranch Mine was one of five open pit uranium mines studied in central Wyoming. Corroborative measurements were made of radon flux and /sup 226/Ra (hereafter called radium) concentrations of various surfaces at three of the other mines in October 1980 and again at these three mines plus a fourth in April of 1981. Three of these mines are located in the Powder River Basin, about 80 kilometers east by northeast of Casper. One is located in the Shirley Basin, about 60 km south of Casper, and the remaining one is located in the Gas Hills, approximately 100 km west of Casper. The one-year intensive study included simultaneous measurement of several parameters: continuous measurement of atmospheric radon concentration near the ground at three locations, monthly 24-hour radon flux measurements from various surfaces, radium analyses of soil samples collected under each of the flux monitoring devices, monthly integrations of aerosols on dichotomous aerosol samplers, analysis of aerosol samplers for total dust loading, aerosol elemental and radiochemical composition, aerosol elemental composition by particle size, wind speed, wind direction, temperature, barometric pressure, and rainfall.

  3. Field Testing of Downgradient Uranium Mobility at an In-Situ Recovery Uranium Mine

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Reimus, P. W.; Clay, J. T.; Rearick, M.; Perkins, G.; Brown, S. T.; Basu, A.; Chamberlain, K.

    2015-12-01

    In-situ recovery (ISR) mining of uranium involves the injection of O2 and CO2 (or NaHCO3) into saturated roll-front deposits to oxidize and solubilize the uranium, which is then removed by ion exchange at the surface and processed into U3O8. While ISR is economical and environmentally-friendly relative to conventional mining, one of the challenges of extracting uranium by this process is that it leaves behind a geochemically-altered aquifer that is exceedingly difficult to restore to pre-mining geochemical conditions, a regulatory objective. In this research, we evaluated the ability of the aquifer downgradient of an ISR mining area to attenuate the transport of uranium and other problem constituents that are mobilized by the mining process. Such an evaluation can help inform both regulators and the mining industry as to how much restoration of the mined ore zone is necessary to achieve regulatory compliance at various distances downgradient of the mining zone even if complete restoration of the ore zone proves to be difficult or impossible. Three single-well push-pull tests and one cross-well test were conducted in which water from an unrestored, previously-mined ore zone was injected into an unmined ore zone that served as a geochemical proxy for the downgradient aquifer. In all tests, non-reactive tracers were injected with the previously-mined ore zone water to allow the transport of uranium and other constituents to be compared to that of the nonreactive species. In the single-well tests, it was shown that the recovery of uranium relative to the nonreactive tracers ranged from 12-25%, suggesting significant attenuation capacity of the aquifer. In the cross-well test, selenate, molybdate and metavanadate were injected with the unrestored water to provide information on the transport of these potentially-problematic anionic constituents. In addition to the species-specific transport information, this test provided valuable constraints on redox conditions within

  4. Effect of uranium (VI) on two sulphate-reducing bacteria cultures from a uranium mine site.

    PubMed

    Martins, Mónica; Faleiro, Maria Leonor; Chaves, Sandra; Tenreiro, Rogério; Costa, Maria Clara

    2010-05-15

    This work was conducted to assess the impact of uranium (VI) on sulphate-reducing bacteria (SRB) communities obtained from environmental samples collected on the Portuguese uranium mining area of Urgeiriça. Culture U was obtained from a sediment, while culture W was obtained from sludge from the wetland of that mine. Temperature gradient gel electrophoresis (TGGE) was used to monitor community changes under uranium stress conditions. TGGE profiles of dsrB gene fragment demonstrated that the initial cultures were composed of SRB species affiliated with Desulfovibrio desulfuricans, Desulfovibrio vulgaris and Desulfomicrobium spp. (sample U), and by species related to D. desulfuricans (sample W). A drastic change in SRB communities was observed as a result of uranium (VI) exposure. Surprisingly, SRB were not detected in the uranium removal communities. Such findings emphasize the need of monitoring the dominant populations during bio-removal studies. TGGE and phylogenetic analysis of the 16S rRNA gene fragment revealed that the uranium removal consortia are composed by strains affiliated to Clostridium genus, Caulobacteraceae and Rhodocyclaceae families. Therefore, these communities can be attractive candidates for environmental biotechnological applications associated to uranium removal. PMID:20334901

  5. Agriculture in an area impacted by past uranium mining activities

    SciTech Connect

    Carvalho, F. P.; Oliveira, J. M.; Neves, O.; Vicente, E. M.; Abreu, M. M.

    2007-07-01

    The shallow aquifer near the old Cunha Baixa uranium mine (Viseu, Portugal) was contaminated by acid mine drainage. Concentration of radionuclides in water from irrigation wells and in the topsoil layer of the agriculture fields nearby display enhanced concentrations of uranium, radium and polonium. Two types of agriculture land in this area were selected, one with enhanced and another with low uranium concentrations, for controlled growth of lettuce and potatoes. Plants were grown in replicate portions of land (two plots) in each soil type and were periodically irrigated with water from wells. In each soil, one plot was irrigated with water containing low concentration of dissolved uranium and the other plot with water containing enhanced concentration of dissolved uranium. At the end of the growth season, plants were harvested and analysed, along with soil and irrigation water samples. Results show the accumulation of radionuclides in edible parts of plants, specially in the field plots with higher radionuclide concentrations in soil. Radionuclides in irrigation water contributed less to the radioactivity accumulated in plants than radionuclides from soils. (authors)

  6. Eukaryotic life in biofilms formed in a uranium mine

    PubMed Central

    Zirnstein, Isabel; Arnold, Thuro; Krawczyk-Bärsch, Evelyn; Jenk, Ulf; Bernhard, Gert; Röske, Isolde

    2012-01-01

    The underground uranium mine Königstein (Saxony, Germany), currently in the process of remediation, represents an underground acid mine drainage (AMD) environment, that is, low pH conditions and high concentrations of heavy metals including uranium, in which eye-catching biofilm formations were observed. During active uranium mining from 1984 to 1990, technical leaching with sulphuric acid was applied underground on-site resulting in a change of the underground mine environment and initiated the formation of AMD and also the growth of AMD-related copious biofilms. Biofilms grow underground in the mine galleries in a depth of 250 m (50 m above sea level) either as stalactite-like slime communities or as acid streamers in the drainage channels. The eukaryotic diversity of these biofilms was analyzed by microscopic investigations and by molecular methods, that is, 18S rDNA PCR, cloning, and sequencing. The biofilm communities of the Königstein environment showed a low eukaryotic biodiversity and consisted of a variety of groups belonging to nine major taxa: ciliates, flagellates, amoebae, heterolobosea, fungi, apicomplexa, stramenopiles, rotifers and arthropoda, and a large number of uncultured eukaryotes, denoted as acidotolerant eukaryotic cluster (AEC). In Königstein, the flagellates Bodo saltans, the stramenopiles Diplophrys archeri, and the phylum of rotifers, class Bdelloidea, were detected for the first time in an AMD environment characterized by high concentrations of uranium. This study shows that not only bacteria and archaea may live in radioactive contaminated environments, but also species of eukaryotes, clearly indicating their potential influence on carbon cycling and metal immobilization within AMD-affected environment. PMID:22950016

  7. Uranium mining wastes, garden exhibition and health risks

    SciTech Connect

    Schmidt, Gerhard; Schmidt, Peter; Hinz, Wilko

    2007-07-01

    Available in abstract form only. Full text of publication follows: For more than 40 years the Soviet-German stockholding company SDAG WISMUT mined and milled Uranium in the East of Germany and became up to 1990 the world's third largest Uranium producer. After reunification of Germany, the new found state own company Wismut GmbH was faced with the task of decommissioning and rehabilitation of the mining and milling sites. One of the largest mining areas in the world, that had to be cleaned up, was located close to the municipality of Ronneburg near the City of Gera in Thuringia. After closing the operations of the Ronneburg underground mine and at the 160 m deep open pit mine with a free volume of 84 Mio.m{sup 3}, the open pit and 7 large piles of mine waste, together 112 Mio.m{sup 3} of material, had to be cleaned up. As a result of an optimisation procedure it was chosen to relocate the waste rock piles back into the open pit. After taking this decision and approval of the plan the disposal operation was started. Even though the transport task was done by large trucks, this took 16 years. The work will be finished in 2007, a cover consisting of 40 cm of uncontaminated material will be placed on top of the material, and the re-vegetation of the former open pit area will be established. When in 2002 the City of Gera applied to host the largest garden exhibition in Germany, Bundesgartenschau (BUGA), in 2007, Wismut GmbH supported this plan by offering parts of the territory of the former mining site as an exhibition ground. Finally, it was decided by the BUGA organizers to arrange its 2007 exhibition on grounds in Gera and in the valley adjacent to the former open pit mine, with parts of the remediated area within the fence of the exhibition. (authors)

  8. Trace element patterns in lichens following uranium mine closures

    SciTech Connect

    Fahselt, D.; Wu, T.W.; Mott, B.

    1995-09-01

    Instrumental neutron activation analysis was used to determine trace elements in Cladina mitis (Sandst). Hale & Culb. along transects extending from uranium mines at Elliot Lake and Agnew Lake in central Ontario, Canada. Levels of 11 elements were reported and the presence of uranium (U) was confirmed, although U concentrations were much less than in Cladina rangiferina 10 years earlier. Among the elements identified in lichen thalli was Th, which occurred in higher concentrations than U. All trace elements, including the two radionuclides, were found in deteriorating thallus parts as well as living podetia, and five of these seem to have originated as airborne particulates from minesites. In spite of mine closures, levels of Th and U remained higher near sources of ore dust and there was little relationship between radionuclide concentrations in thallus and substrate. 24 refs., 4 figs., 3 tabs.

  9. Uranium decay daughters from isolated mines: Accumulation and sources.

    PubMed

    Cuvier, A; Panza, F; Pourcelot, L; Foissard, B; Cagnat, X; Prunier, J; van Beek, P; Souhaut, M; Le Roux, G

    2015-11-01

    This study combines in situ gamma spectrometry performed at different scales, in order to accurately locate the contamination pools, to identify the concerned radionuclides and to determine the distribution of the contaminants from soil to bearing phase scale. The potential mobility of several radionuclides is also evaluated using sequential extraction. Using this procedure, an accumulation area located downstream of a former French uranium mine and concentrating a significant fraction of radioactivity is highlighted. We report disequilibria in the U-decay chains, which are likely related to the processes implemented on the mining area. Coupling of mineralogical analyzes with sequential extraction allow us to highlight the presence of barium sulfate, which may be the carrier of the Ra-226 activities found in the residual phase (Ba(Ra)SO4). In contrast, uranium is essentially in the reducible fraction and potentially trapped in clay-iron coatings located on the surface of minerals. PMID:26232768

  10. Effect of Microorganisms on In Situ Uranium Mining

    PubMed Central

    Yates, Marylynn V.; Brierley, James A.; Brierley, Corale L.; Follin, Steven

    1983-01-01

    The extraction of some metal values, e.g., uranium or copper, may be accomplished by using solutions to remove metals from ore bodies without practicing conventional mining. This process is referred to as in situ leaching and has been used industrially to recover uranium. The growth of microbial populations during in situ leaching is believed to be one of the causes of flow path plugging in the ore body, which results in decreased uranium production. Leach solution and solid samples from well casings and submersible pumps were collected from an in situ mining operation experiencing plugging problems. Bacillus sp., Micrococcus sp., pseudomonads, and xanthomonads were isolated from these samples in concentrations of 105 CFU ml−1. A mixed culture of these organisms was inoculated into a uranium core specimen in the laboratory to assess the role of microbes in the plugging problem. A one-third decrease in permeability was effected in 16 days. Hydrogen peroxide (0.2 g liter−1) killed the microorganisms in the core and alleviated the plugging problem. Periodically injecting hydrogen peroxide into the ore body through the production wells may reduce microbial plugging problems. PMID:16346395

  11. Effect of microorganisms on in situ uranium mining

    SciTech Connect

    Yates, M.V.; Brierley, J.A.; Brierley, C.L.; Follin, S.

    1983-10-01

    The extraction of some metal values, e.g., uranium or copper, may be accomplished by using solutions to remove metals from ore bodies without practicing conventional mining. This process is referred to as in situ leaching and has been used industrially to recover uranium. The growth of microbial populations during in situ leaching is believed to be one of the causes of flow path plugging in the ore body, which results in decreased uranium production. Leach solution and solid samples from well casings and submersible pumps were collected from an in situ mining operation experiencing plugging problems. Bacillus sp., Micrococcus sp., pseudomonads, and xanthomonads were isolated from these samples on concentrations of 10/sup 5/ colony-forming units per milliliter. A mixed culture of these organisms was inoculated into a uranium core specimen in the laboratory to assess the role of microbes in the plugging problem. A one-third decrease in permeability was effected in 16 days. Hydrogen peroxide killed the microorganisms in the core and alleviated the plugging problems. Periodically injecting hydrogen peroxide into the ore body through the production wells may reduce microbial plugging problems.

  12. Uranium mine and mill tailings - Liabilities in the European Union

    SciTech Connect

    Hilden, Wolfgang; Murphy, Simon; Vrijen, Jan

    2007-07-01

    Available in abstract form only. Full text of publication follows: Uranium mining and milling has taken place on large scale in the Member States of the European Union (EU) for some 60 years. Although, compared to mining, milling activities are normally concentrated in fewer locations, this can still result in a relatively large number of disposal sites for the tailings, compared to other radioactive wastes. In addition these sites are also quite large, in terms of both volume and surface area. Coupled with the residual uranium in the tailings together with other radionuclides, heavy metals, chemicals etc this results in an environmental legacy continuing far into the future. Often during production no or little provision has been made for the closure, remediation and future supervision of such sites. In 1996 the European Commission funded an inventory of uranium mining and milling liabilities in nine Central and Eastern European Countries. Additionally, pilot projects were funded to carry out remediation activities at several sites. Almost ten years later the Commission has identified the need to address the situation of these large liabilities in all EU Member States and to assess the progress made in remediation of the sites, especially in view of the closure of almost all mining activities in Europe. The Commission study has identified the current tailings liabilities in Europe, their status, the future plans for these sites and the hazards that continue to be associated with them. It is clear that although considerable progress has been made in recent years, much work remains to be carried out in the areas of remediation, and ensuring the long-term safety of many of the identified objects. The paper presents the main findings of the study, as well as the challenges identified to ensure long-term safety of these wastes. (authors)

  13. Navajo birth outcomes in the Shiprock uranium mining area

    SciTech Connect

    Shields, L.M.; Wiese, W.H.; Skipper, B.J.; Charley, B.; Benally, L. )

    1992-11-01

    The role of environmental radiation in the etiology of birth defects, stillbirths, and other adverse outcomes of pregnancy was evaluated for 13,329 Navajos born at the Public Health Service/Indian Health Service Hospital in the Shiprock, NM, uranium mining area (1964-1981). More than 320 kinds of defective congenital conditions were abstracted from hospital records. Using a nested case-control design, families of 266 pairs of index and control births were interviewed. The only statistically significant association between uranium operations and unfavorable birth outcome was identified with the mother living near tailings or mine dumps. Among the fathers who worked in the mines, those of the index cases had histories of more years of work exposure but not necessarily greater gonadal dosage of radiation. Also, birth defects increased significantly when either parent worked in the Shiprock electronics assembly plant. Overall, the associations between adverse pregnancy outcome and exposure to radiation were weak and must be interpreted with caution with respect to implying a biogenetic basis.

  14. Biomarker monitoring of a population residing near uranium mining activities.

    PubMed Central

    Au, W W; Lane, R G; Legator, M S; Whorton, E B; Wilkinson, G S; Gabehart, G J

    1995-01-01

    We investigated whether residents residing near uranium mining operations (target population), who are potentially exposed to toxicants from mining waste, have increased genotoxic effects compared with people residing elsewhere (reference population). Population surveys were conducted, and 24 target and 24 reference residents were selected. The selected subjects and controls were matched on age and gender and they were nonsmokers. Blood samples were collected for laboratory studies. The standard cytogenetic assay was used to determine chromosome aberration frequencies, and the challenge assay was used to investigate DNA repair responses. We found that individuals who resided near uranium mining operations had a higher mean frequency of cells with chromosome aberrations and higher deletion frequency but lower dicentric frequency than the reference group, although the difference was not statistically significant. After cells were challenged by exposure to gamma-rays, the target population had a significantly higher frequency of cells with chromosome aberrations and deletion frequency than the reference group. The latter observation is indicative of abnormal DNA repair response in the target population. PMID:7656876

  15. Metals other than uranium affected microbial community composition in a historical uranium-mining site.

    PubMed

    Sitte, Jana; Löffler, Sylvia; Burkhardt, Eva-Maria; Goldfarb, Katherine C; Büchel, Georg; Hazen, Terry C; Küsel, Kirsten

    2015-12-01

    To understand the links between the long-term impact of uranium and other metals on microbial community composition, ground- and surface water-influenced soils varying greatly in uranium and metal concentrations were investigated at the former uranium-mining district in Ronneburg, Germany. A soil-based 16S PhyloChip approach revealed 2358 bacterial and 35 archaeal operational taxonomic units (OTU) within diverse phylogenetic groups with higher OTU numbers than at other uranium-contaminated sites, e.g., at Oak Ridge. Iron- and sulfate-reducing bacteria (FeRB and SRB), which have the potential to attenuate uranium and other metals by the enzymatic and/or abiotic reduction of metal ions, were found at all sites. Although soil concentrations of solid-phase uranium were high, ranging from 5 to 1569 μg·g (dry weight) soil(-1), redundancy analysis (RDA) and forward selection indicated that neither total nor bio-available uranium concentrations contributed significantly to the observed OTU distribution. Instead, microbial community composition appeared to be influenced more by redox potential. Bacterial communities were also influenced by bio-available manganese and total cobalt and cadmium concentrations. Bio-available cadmium impacted FeRB distribution while bio-available manganese and copper as well as solid-phase zinc concentrations in the soil affected SRB composition. Archaeal communities were influenced by the bio-available lead as well as total zinc and cobalt concentrations. These results suggest that (i) microbial richness was not impacted by heavy metals and radionuclides and that (ii) redox potential and secondary metal contaminants had the strongest effect on microbial community composition, as opposed to uranium, the primary source of contamination. PMID:26122566

  16. Risk evaluation of uranium mining: A geochemical inverse modelling approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rillard, J.; Zuddas, P.; Scislewski, A.

    2011-12-01

    It is well known that uranium extraction operations can increase risks linked to radiation exposure. The toxicity of uranium and associated heavy metals is the main environmental concern regarding exploitation and processing of U-ore. In areas where U mining is planned, a careful assessment of toxic and radioactive element concentrations is recommended before the start of mining activities. A background evaluation of harmful elements is important in order to prevent and/or quantify future water contamination resulting from possible migration of toxic metals coming from ore and waste water interaction. Controlled leaching experiments were carried out to investigate processes of ore and waste (leached ore) degradation, using samples from the uranium exploitation site located in Caetité-Bahia, Brazil. In experiments in which the reaction of waste with water was tested, we found that the water had low pH and high levels of sulphates and aluminium. On the other hand, in experiments in which ore was tested, the water had a chemical composition comparable to natural water found in the region of Caetité. On the basis of our experiments, we suggest that waste resulting from sulphuric acid treatment can induce acidification and salinization of surface and ground water. For this reason proper storage of waste is imperative. As a tool to evaluate the risks, a geochemical inverse modelling approach was developed to estimate the water-mineral interaction involving the presence of toxic elements. We used a method earlier described by Scislewski and Zuddas 2010 (Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 74, 6996-7007) in which the reactive surface area of mineral dissolution can be estimated. We found that the reactive surface area of rock parent minerals is not constant during time but varies according to several orders of magnitude in only two months of interaction. We propose that parent mineral heterogeneity and particularly, neogenic phase formation may explain the observed variation of the

  17. Microbial populations stimulated for hexavalent uranium reduction in uranium mine sediment.

    SciTech Connect

    Suzuki, Y.; Kelly, S. D.; Kemner, K. M.; Banfield, J. F.; Environmental Research; Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison; Univ. of California-Berkeley

    2003-03-01

    Uranium-contaminated sediment and water collected from an inactive uranium mine were incubated anaerobically with organic substrates. Stimulated microbial populations removed U almost entirely from solution within 1 month. X-ray absorption near-edge structure analysis showed that U(VI) was reduced to U(IV) during the incubation. Observations by transmission electron microscopy, selected area diffraction pattern analysis, and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopic analysis showed two distinct types of prokaryotic cells that precipitated only a U(IV) mineral uraninite (UO{sub 2}) or both uraninite and metal sulfides. Prokaryotic cells associated with uraninite and metal sulfides were inferred to be sulfate-reducing bacteria. Phylogenetic analysis of 16S ribosomal DNA obtained from the original and incubated sediments revealed that microbial populations were changed from microaerophilic Proteobacteria to anaerobic low-G+C gram-positive sporeforming bacteria by the incubation. Forty-two out of 94 clones from the incubated sediment were related to sulfate-reducing Desulfosporosinus spp., and 23 were related to fermentative Clostridium spp. The results suggest that, if in situ bioremediation were attempted in the uranium mine ponds, Desulfosporosinus spp. would be a major contributor to U(VI) and sulfate reduction and Clostridium spp. to U(VI) reduction.

  18. Microbial Populations Stimulated for Hexavalent Uranium Reduction in Uranium Mine Sediment

    PubMed Central

    Suzuki, Yohey; Kelly, Shelly D.; Kemner, Kenneth M.; Banfield, Jillian F.

    2003-01-01

    Uranium-contaminated sediment and water collected from an inactive uranium mine were incubated anaerobically with organic substrates. Stimulated microbial populations removed U almost entirely from solution within 1 month. X-ray absorption near-edge structure analysis showed that U(VI) was reduced to U(IV) during the incubation. Observations by transmission electron microscopy, selected area diffraction pattern analysis, and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopic analysis showed two distinct types of prokaryotic cells that precipitated only a U(IV) mineral uraninite (UO2) or both uraninite and metal sulfides. Prokaryotic cells associated with uraninite and metal sulfides were inferred to be sulfate-reducing bacteria. Phylogenetic analysis of 16S ribosomal DNA obtained from the original and incubated sediments revealed that microbial populations were changed from microaerophilic Proteobacteria to anaerobic low-G+C gram-positive sporeforming bacteria by the incubation. Forty-two out of 94 clones from the incubated sediment were related to sulfate-reducing Desulfosporosinus spp., and 23 were related to fermentative Clostridium spp. The results suggest that, if in situ bioremediation were attempted in the uranium mine ponds, Desulfosporosinus spp. would be a major contributor to U(VI) and sulfate reduction and Clostridium spp. to U(VI) reduction. PMID:12620814

  19. Biogeochemical behaviour and bioremediation of uranium in waters of abandoned mines.

    PubMed

    Mkandawire, Martin

    2013-11-01

    The discharges of uranium and associated radionuclides as well as heavy metals and metalloids from waste and tailing dumps in abandoned uranium mining and processing sites pose contamination risks to surface and groundwater. Although many more are being planned for nuclear energy purposes, most of the abandoned uranium mines are a legacy of uranium production that fuelled arms race during the cold war of the last century. Since the end of cold war, there have been efforts to rehabilitate the mining sites, initially, using classical remediation techniques based on high chemical and civil engineering. Recently, bioremediation technology has been sought as alternatives to the classical approach due to reasons, which include: (a) high demand of sites requiring remediation; (b) the economic implication of running and maintaining the facilities due to high energy and work force demand; and (c) the pattern and characteristics of contaminant discharges in most of the former uranium mining and processing sites prevents the use of classical methods. This review discusses risks of uranium contamination from abandoned uranium mines from the biogeochemical point of view and the potential and limitation of uranium bioremediation technique as alternative to classical approach in abandoned uranium mining and processing sites. PMID:23354614

  20. Systematic evaluation of satellite remote sensing for identifying uranium mines and mills.

    SciTech Connect

    Blair, Dianna Sue; Stork, Christopher Lyle; Smartt, Heidi Anne; Smith, Jody Lynn

    2006-01-01

    In this report, we systematically evaluate the ability of current-generation, satellite-based spectroscopic sensors to distinguish uranium mines and mills from other mineral mining and milling operations. We perform this systematic evaluation by (1) outlining the remote, spectroscopic signal generation process, (2) documenting the capabilities of current commercial satellite systems, (3) systematically comparing the uranium mining and milling process to other mineral mining and milling operations, and (4) identifying the most promising observables associated with uranium mining and milling that can be identified using satellite remote sensing. The Ranger uranium mine and mill in Australia serves as a case study where we apply and test the techniques developed in this systematic analysis. Based on literature research of mineral mining and milling practices, we develop a decision tree which utilizes the information contained in one or more observables to determine whether uranium is possibly being mined and/or milled at a given site. Promising observables associated with uranium mining and milling at the Ranger site included in the decision tree are uranium ore, sulfur, the uranium pregnant leach liquor, ammonia, and uranyl compounds and sulfate ion disposed of in the tailings pond. Based on the size, concentration, and spectral characteristics of these promising observables, we then determine whether these observables can be identified using current commercial satellite systems, namely Hyperion, ASTER, and Quickbird. We conclude that the only promising observables at Ranger that can be uniquely identified using a current commercial satellite system (notably Hyperion) are magnesium chlorite in the open pit mine and the sulfur stockpile. Based on the identified magnesium chlorite and sulfur observables, the decision tree narrows the possible mineral candidates at Ranger to uranium, copper, zinc, manganese, vanadium, the rare earths, and phosphorus, all of which are

  1. Uranium mining in relation to toxicological impacts on inland waters.

    PubMed

    Holdway, D A

    1992-12-01

    Protection of tropical rivers from metal pollution requires that mining wastewaters be biologically tested for aquatic toxicity before release from the site into natural ecosystems occurs, and that a 'safe' dilution which incorporates a minimum 10-fold safety factor applied to the lowest NOEC threshold value be utilized. Application of these test methods to wastewaters from an operating uranium mine has shown that pre-release toxicity testing provides accurate information on the toxicity of metal-containing wastewaters with a high degree of confidence. Field validation of the laboratory results was obtained when wastewaters which were field diluted through a release into a billabong gave similar results to laboratory-diluted wastewaters. No one species is always the most sensitive to exposure to complex wastewaters. Changes with time in wastewater chemistry, toxicity, and in the physiological capacity of specific organisms to survive in a contaminated environment (tolerance), can result in different species having varying sensitivities over time to exposure to complex wastewaters collected from the same location. As a result of the remote likelihood of finding the 'most sensitive species', it is necessary to test the toxicity of complex wastewaters to a battery of organisms, representing different trophic levels of the ecosystem, under physical conditions representative of the specific environment needing protection. Use of a natural billabong as a 'biological filter' for releasing mine wastewaters did not result in toxicity mitigation and prevented controlled dilution from occurring during periods of high creek flow. PMID:24202975

  2. Brazilian uranium mine decommissioning-chemical and radiological study of waste rock piles

    SciTech Connect

    Wiikmann, L. O.

    1996-12-31

    The Pocos de Caldas plateau is a high-natural-radioactivity area in the state of Minas Gerais, southeast Brazil. Uranium occurrence in the plateau was first observed in 1948. Mining started in 1977 with mine scouring, and the first ore pile was constructed in 1981. Waste rocks are derived from the mine material. The analysis of core samples is discussed.

  3. Reconnaissance examination for uranium at six mines and properties in Idaho and Montana

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Vhay, John Stewart

    1951-01-01

    Six mining properties in Idaho and Montana at which radioactivity had been reported or suspected were briefly examine by J.S. Vhay and W.A. Roberts of the U.S. Geological Survey in October and November 1949. The properties in Idaho are the Grunter mine, from which radio-active mill concentrates have been reported; the Kentuck mine; the Ulysses-kittie Burton Mill; and the Garm-Lemoreaux mine. The properties in Montana are the Armeson-McKenny property in Beaverhead County and the Oro property in Lincoln County. Moderate to high radioactivity was noted at the Garm-Lemoreaux mine and the Armeson-McKenney property. That most of this radioactivity is not caused by uranium is suggested by the low uranium content of the majority of the samples. One sample from a dump of the Garm-Lemoreaux mine assayed 0.11 percent uranium.

  4. Alteration and vein mineralization, Ladwig uranium mine, Jefferson County, Colorado

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wallace, Alan R.

    1979-01-01

    Uranium ore at the Ladwig mine, Jefferson County, Colo., occurs in steeply dipping, northwest-striking faults and related fractures with a carbonate-adularia assemblage that forms in altered wallrocks and fills veins. The faults occur between large intrusive pegmatites and garnetiferous gneisses of Precambrian age, and were reactivated as the result of the early Paleocene uplift of the Front Range foothills. Mineralization in the deposit includes both wallrock alteration and vein filling. Alteration was intense but local, and chiefly involved the carbonatization of mafic minerals in the wallrocks. Felsic minerals in the wallrocks are relatively unaltered. The veins are filled with an adularia-pitchblende-carbonate assemblage with minor related sulfides and coffinite. Many of the iron-bearing carbonates in both the alteration and vein assemblages have been altered to hematite. The mineralization and alteration are believed to have formed in response to initially high amounts of CO2 and the subsequent release of dissolved CO2 by boiling or effervescence. Uranium, carried in a dicarbonate complex, was precipitated directly as pitchblende when the CO2 was released. The expulsion of H+ during boiling created a net oxidizing environment which oxidized the iron-bearing carbonates. Late stage calcite and sulfides were deposited in existing voids in the veins.

  5. Modelling of contaminant release from a uranium mine tailings site

    SciTech Connect

    Kahnt, Rene; Metschies, Thomas

    2007-07-01

    Available in abstract form only. Full text of publication follows: Uranium mining and milling continuing from the early 1960's until 1990 close to the town of Seelingstaedt in Eastern Germany resulted in 4 tailings impoundments with a total tailings volume of about 105 Mio. m{sup 3}. Leakage from these tailings impoundments enters the underlying aquifers and is discharged into surface water streams. High concentration of salts, uranium and several heavy metals are released from the tailings. At present the tailings impoundments are reshaped and covered. For the identification of suitable remediation options predictions of the contaminant release for different remediation scenarios have to be made. A compartment model representing the tailings impoundments and the surrounding aquifers for the calculation of contaminant release and transport was set up using the software GOLDSIM. This compartment model describes the time dependent hydraulic conditions within the tailings and the surrounding aquifers taking into account hydraulic and geotechnical processes influencing the hydraulic properties of the tailings material. A simple geochemical approach taking into account sorption processes as well as retardation by applying a k{sub d}-approach was implemented to describe the contaminant release and transport within the hydraulic system. For uranium as the relevant contaminant the simple approach takes into account additional geochemical conditions influencing the mobility. Alternatively the model approach allows to include the results of detailed geochemical modelling of the individual tailings zones which is than used as source term for the modelling of the contaminant transport in the aquifer and to the receiving streams. (authors)

  6. Contaminant dispersion at the rehabilitated Mary Kathleen uranium mine, Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lottermoser, B. G.; Ashley, P. M.; Costelloe, M. T.

    2005-09-01

    This study reports on the transfer of contaminants from waste rock dumps and mineralised ground into soils, sediments, waters and plants at the rehabilitated Mary Kathleen uranium mine in semi-arid northwest Queensland. Numerous waste rock dumps were partly covered with benign soil and the open pit mine was allowed to flood. The mineralised and waste calc-silicate rock in the open pit and dumps has major (>1 wt%) Ca, Fe and Mg, minor (>1,000 ppm) Ce, La, Mn, P and S, subminor (>100 ppm) Ba, Cu, Th and U, and trace (<100 ppm) As, Ni, Pb, Y and Zn values. Consequently, chemical and physical weathering processes have acted on waste rock and on rock faces within the open pit, mobilising many elements and leading to their dispersion into soils, stream sediments, pit water and several plant species. Chemical dispersion is initiated by sulfide mineral breakdown, generation of sulfuric acid and formation of several soluble, transient sulfate minerals as evaporative efflorescent precipitates. Radiation doses associated with the open pit average 5.65 mSv year-1; waste dumps commonly have lower values, especially where soil-covered. Surface pit water is slightly acid, with high sulfate values accompanied by levels of U, Cu and Ni close to or above Australian water guideline values for livestock. Dispersion of U and related elements into soils and stream sediments occurs by physical (erosional) processes and from chemical precipitation. Plants growing in the mine void, on waste dumps and contaminated soil display evidence of biological uptake of U, LREE, Cu and Th and to a lesser degree of As, Ni, Pb, Y and Zn, with values being up to 1-2 orders of magnitude above background sites for the same species. Although rehabilitation procedures have been partly successful in reducing dispersion of U and related elements into the surrounding environment, it is apparent that 20 years after rehabilitation, there is significant physical and chemical mobility, including transfer into

  7. Safeguards on uranium ore concentrate? the impact of modern mining and milling process

    SciTech Connect

    Francis, Stephen

    2013-07-01

    Increased purity in uranium ore concentrate not only raises the question as to whether Safeguards should be applied to the entirety of uranium conversion facilities, but also as to whether some degree of coverage should be moved back to uranium ore concentrate production at uranium mining and milling facilities. This paper looks at uranium ore concentrate production across the globe and explores the extent to which increased purity is evident and the underlying reasons. Potential issues this increase in purity raises for IAEA's strategy on the Starting Point of Safeguards are also discussed.

  8. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Evaluation of Uranium Mining TENORM Wastes-Characteristics, Occurrence, and Risks

    SciTech Connect

    Setlow, L.W.; Peake, R.T.

    2007-07-01

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is completing a multi year effort to issue technical reports and obtain stakeholder views on future programs to mitigate potential hazards associated with uranium mining Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (TENORM). The technical reports are the most comprehensive issued by the Agency on this topic, and should have utility for reclamation of abandoned uranium mines, as well as providing information for new mines proposed by the uranium mining industry. This presentation will provide principal results of the three technical reports issued, and elements of the proposed EPA program for uranium mining TENORM. (authors)

  9. Uranium mine waste water: potential source of ground water in northwestern New Mexico

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hiss, W.L.

    1977-01-01

    Substantial quantities of water are being pumped from the Morrison Formation of Late Jurassic age in uranium mines in the Grants mineral belt in northwestern New Mexico. The water often contains unacceptable amounts of dissolved uranium, radium, iron, and selenium and suspended solids, but with treatment it can be made suitable for municipal and industrial purposes. Water salvaged from current and projected mining operations constitutes the most readily available water in this otherwise water-deficient area.

  10. Environmental radioactivity assessment around old uranium mining sites near Mangualde (Viseu), Portugal

    SciTech Connect

    Carvalho, Fernando P.; Torres, Lubelia M.; Oliveira, Joao M.

    2007-07-01

    Uranium ore was extracted in the surroundings of Mangualde city, North of Portugal, in the mines of Cunha Baixa, Quinta do Bispo and Espinho until a few years ago. Mining waste, milling tailings and acid mine waters are the on site remains of this extractive activity. Environmental radioactivity measurements were performed in and around these sites in order to assess the dispersal of radionuclides from uranium mining waste and the spread of acidic waters resulting from the in situ uranium leaching with sulphuric acid. Results show migration of acid waters into groundwater around the Cunha Baixa mine. This groundwater is tapped by irrigation wells in the agriculture area near the Cunha Baixa village. Water from wells displayed uranium ({sup 238}U) concentrations up to 19x10{sup 3} mBq L{sup -1} and sulphate ion concentrations up to 1070 mg L{sup -1}. These enhanced concentrations are positively correlated with low water pH, pointing to a common origin for radioactivity, dissolved sulphate, and acidity in underground mining works. Radionuclide concentrations were determined in horticulture and farm products from this area also and results suggest low soil to plant transfer of radionuclides and low food chain transfer of radionuclides to man. Analysis of aerosols in surface air showed re suspension of dust from mining and milling waste heaps. Therefore, it is recommended to maintain mine water treatment and to plan remediation of these mine sites in order to prevent waste dispersal in the environment. (authors)

  11. Uranium mining and milling work force characteristics in the western US

    SciTech Connect

    Rapp, D.A.

    1980-12-01

    This report presents the results of a survey of the socioeconomic characteristics associated with 11 uranium mine and mill operations in 5 Western States. Comparisons are made with the socioeconomic characteristics of construction and operating crews for coal mines and utility plants in eight Western States. Worker productivity also is compared with that in similar types of coal and uranium mining operations. We found that there existed no significant differences between the socioeconomic characteristics of construction and operating crews and the secondary employment impacts associated with uranium mines and mills when compared with those associated with coal mines and utility plants requiring similar skills at comparable locations. In addition, our survey includes a comparison of several characteristics associated with the households of basic and nonbasic work forces and concludes that significant changes have occurred in the last 5 yr. Accordingly, we recommend additional monitoring and updating of data used in several economic forecasting models to avoid unwarranted delays in achieving national energy goals.

  12. Molybdenum and copper levels in white-tailed deer near uranium mines in Texas

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    King, K.A.; LeLeux, J.; Mulhern, B.M.

    1984-01-01

    Molybdenum toxicity, molybdenosis, in ruminant animals has been identified in at least 15 states and in Canada, England, Australia, and New Zealand. In most western states, molybdenosis has been associated with strip-mine spoil deposits. Molybdenum toxicity has been diagnosed in cattle pastured near uranium strip-mine spoils in several Texas counties. Recent reports from hunters and the authors' observations indicated that white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus ) that fed near uranium-mine spoil deposits may also have been exposed to high levels of molybdenum. The objectives of this study were to determine if white-tailed deer from a South Texas uranium mining district were accumulating harmful levels of molybdenum and to compare molybdenum and copper levels with antler development in deer from the mined area vs. an unmined control area.

  13. Uranium mining and lung cancer among Navajo men in New Mexico and Arizona, 1969 to 1993.

    PubMed

    Gilliland, F D; Hunt, W C; Pardilla, M; Key, C R

    2000-03-01

    Navajo men who were underground miners have excess risk of lung cancer. To further characterize the long-term consequences of uranium mining in this high-risk population, we examined lung cancer incidence among Navajo men residing in New Mexico and Arizona from 1969 to 1993 and conducted a population-based case-control study to estimate the risk of lung cancer for Navajo uranium miners. Uranium mining contributed substantially to lung cancer among Navajo men over the 25-year period following the end of mining for the Navajo Nation. Sixty-three (67%) of the 94-incident lung cancers among Navajo men occurred in former uranium miners. The relative risk for a history of mining was 28.6 (95% confidence interval, 13.2-61.7). Smoking did not account for the strong relationship between lung cancer and uranium mining. The Navajo experience with uranium mining is a unique example of exposure in a single occupation accounting for the majority of lung cancers in an entire population. PMID:10738707

  14. Soil and plant selenium at a reclaimed uranium mine.

    PubMed

    Sharmasarkar, Shankar; Vance, George F

    2002-01-01

    Selenium (Se) associated with reclaimed uranium (U) mine lands may result in increased food chain transfer and water contamination. To assess post-reclamation bioavailability of Se at a U mine site in southeastern Wyoming, we studied soil Se distribution, dissolution, speciation, and sorption characteristics and plant Se accumulation. Phosphate-extractable soil Se exceeded the critical limit of 0.5 mg/kg in all the samples, whereas total soil Se ranged from a low (0.6 mg/kg) to an extremely high (26 mg/kg) value. Selenite was the dominant species in phosphate and ammonium bicarbonate-diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid (AB-DTPA) extracts, whereas selenate was the major Se species in hot water extracts. Extractable soil Se concentrations were in the order of KH2PO4 > AB-DTPA > hot water > saturated paste. The soils were undersaturated with respect to various Se solid phases, albeit with high levels of extractable Se surpassing the critical limit. Calcium and Mg minerals were the potential primary solids controlling Se dissolution, with dissolved organic carbon in the equilibrium solutions resulting in enhanced Se availability. Adsorption was a significant (r2 = 0.76-0.99 at P < 0.05) mechanism governing Se availability and was best described by the initial mass isotherm model, which predicted a maximum reserve Se pool corresponding to 87% of the phosphate-extractable Se concentrations. Grasses, forbs, and shrubs accumulated 11 to 1800 mg Se/kg dry weight. While elevated levels of bioavailable Se may be potentially toxic, the plants accumulating high Se may be used for phytoremediation, or the palatable forage species may be used as animal feed supplements in Se-deficient areas. PMID:12371169

  15. Biogeochemical prospecting for uranium with conifers: results from the Midnite Mine area, Washington

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nash, J. Thomas; Ward, Frederick Norville

    1977-01-01

    The ash of needles, cones, and duff from Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa Laws) growing near uranium deposits of the Midnite mine, Stevens County, Wash., contain as much as 200 parts per million (ppm) uranium. Needle samples containing more than 10 ppm uranium define zones that correlate well with known uranium deposits or dumps. Dispersion is as much as 300 m but generally is less. Background is about 1 ppm. Tree roots are judged to be sampling ore, low-grade uranium halo, or ground water to a depth of about 15 m. Uptake of uranium by Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) needles appears to be about the same as by Ponderosa pine needles. Cones and duff are generally enriched in uranium relate to needles. Needles, cones, and duff are recommended as easily collected, uncomplicated sample media for geochemical surveys. Samples can be analyzed by standard methods and total cost per sample kept to about $6.

  16. Final covering of the Ronneburg uranium mining site

    SciTech Connect

    Hoepfner, Uwe

    2007-07-01

    The rehabilitation of WISMUT's former Ronneburg uranium mining site involves backfilling of waste rock to the Lichtenberg open pit. The relocation project comprises about 110 million m{sup 3} of sulphide-bearing and AMD-generating waste rock which makes it the most important and most cost-intensive single surface restoration project conducted by WISMUT at the Ronneburg site. The backfilled waste rock has to be covered on an area of about 220 ha to control water infiltration and gas diffusion. Design planning for the final cover placement which began in 2004 had to be based on a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis as well on field tests of alternative cover options which are in compliance with legal requirements. An intensive testing program concerning the vadose zone of soil covers has therefore been started in 2000. The paper presents an overview of the monitoring program and the results of the vadose zone measurements. The water of soil covers have to be predicted for extended evaluation periods. Therefore water balance simulations of single layer covers (storage and evaporation concept) taking current and future soil and climate conditions into account are performed with the HYDRUS 2D code. (author)

  17. Radiological impact of surface water and sediment near uranium mining sites.

    PubMed

    Ivanova, K; Stojanovska, Z; Badulin, V; Kunovska, B; Yovcheva, M

    2015-12-01

    The aim of this study is to assess the radiological impact of surface water and sediment around uranium mining sites 20 years after their closing. The areas under observations are 31 former classical underground uranium mining and exploratory sites in Bulgaria, named as objects. The extraction and processing of uranium ores in the Republic of Bulgaria were ended in 1992. To assess the radiological impact of radionuclides field expeditions were performed to sample water and bottom sediment. The migration of uranium through surface water was examined as one of the major pathways for contamination spread. The range of uranium concentration in water flowing from the mining sites was from 0.012 to 6.8 mgU l(-1) with a geometric mean of 0.192 mgU l(-1). The uranium concentrations in water downstream the mining sites were approximately 3 times higher than the background value (upstream). The concentrations of Unat, (226)Ra, (210)Pb, and (232)Th in the sediment of downstream river were higher than those upstream by 3.4, 2.6, 2, and 1.7 times, respectively. The distribution coefficient of uranium reflects its high mobility in most of the sites. In order to evaluate the impact on people as well as site prioritization for more detailed assessment and water management, screening dose assessments were done. PMID:26505204

  18. Sustainability of uranium mining and milling: toward quantifying resources and eco-efficiency.

    PubMed

    Mudd, Gavin M; Diesendorf, Mark

    2008-04-01

    The mining of uranium has long been a controversial public issue, and a renewed debate has emerged on the potential for nuclear power to help mitigate against climate change. The central thesis of pro-nuclear advocates is the lower carbon intensity of nuclear energy compared to fossil fuels, although there remains very little detailed analysis of the true carbon costs of nuclear energy. In this paper, we compile and analyze a range of data on uranium mining and milling, including uranium resources as well as sustainability metrics such as energy and water consumption and carbon emissions with respect to uranium production-arguably the first time for modern projects. The extent of economically recoverable uranium resources is clearly linked to exploration, technology, and economics but also inextricably to environmental costs such as energy/water/chemicals consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and social issues. Overall, the data clearly show the sensitivity of sustainability assessments to the ore grade of the uranium deposit being mined and that significant gaps remain in complete sustainability reporting and accounting. This paper is a case study of the energy, water, and carbon costs of uranium mining and milling within the context of the nuclear energy chain. PMID:18505007

  19. From rum jungle to Wismut-reducing the environmental impact of uranium mining and milling

    SciTech Connect

    Zuk, W.M.; Jeffree, R.A.; Levins, D.M.

    1994-12-31

    Australia has a long history of uranium mining. In the early days, little attention was given to environmental matters and considerable pollution occurred. Ansto has been involved in rehabilitation of a number of the early uranium mining sites, from Rum Jungle in Australia`s Northern Territory to Wismut in Germany, and is working with current producers to minimise the environmental impact of their operations. Ansto`s expertise is extensive and includes, inter alia, amelioration of acid mine drainage, radon measurement and control, treatment of mill wastes, management of tailings, monitoring of seepage plumes, mathematical modelling of pollutant transport and biological impacts in a tropical environment.

  20. TECHNICAL REPORT ON TECHNOLOGICALLY ENHANCED NATURALLY OCCURRING RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS FROM URANIUM MINING, VOLUME II: INVESTIGATION OF POTENTIAL HEALTH, GEOGRAPHIC, AND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES OF ABANDONED URANIUM MINES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Volume II investigates the potential radiogenic risks from abandoned uranium mines and evaluates which may pose the greatest hazards to members of the public and to the environment. The intent of this report is to identify who may be most likely to be exposed to wastes at small a...

  1. Uranium in vegetable foodstuffs: should residents near the Cunha Baixa uranium mine site (Central Northern Portugal) be concerned?

    PubMed

    Neves, M O; Abreu, M M; Figueiredo, V

    2012-04-01

    Large uranium accumulations in vegetable foodstuffs may present risks of human health if they are consumed. The objective of this study was to evaluate the uranium concentrations in different vegetable foodstuffs and grown in agricultural soils, which are then consumed by the residents of the village of Cunha Baixa (Portugal),--located in an former uranium mining area. This study was conducted to address concerns expressed by the local farmers as well as to provide data for uranium-related health risk assessments for the area. Soils, irrigation water and edible tissues of lettuce, potato, green bean, carrot, cabbage, apple and maize (Latuca sativa L., Solanum tuberosum L., Phaseolus vulgaris L., Daucus carota L., Brassica oleracea L., Malus domestica Borkh, Zea mays L., respectively) were sampled and uranium determined. High uranium concentrations were found in some soils (U(total) > 50 mg/kg), in irrigation waters (218 to 1,035 μg/l) and in some vegetable foodstuffs (up to 234, 110, 30, 26, 22, 16 and 1.6 μg/kg fresh weight for lettuce, potato with peel, green bean pods, cabbage, corn, carrot and apple, respectively). However, the results of the toxicity hazard analysis were reassuring the estimated level of uranium exposure through the ingestion of these vegetable foodstuffs was low, suggesting no chemical health risk (hazard quotient <1) to this uranium exposure pathway for a local residents during their lifetime, even for the most sensitive part of the population (child). PMID:21964853

  2. Impact of former uranium mining activities on the floodplains of the Mulde River, Saxony, Germany.

    PubMed

    Bister, S; Birkhan, J; Lüllau, T; Bunka, M; Solle, A; Stieghorst, C; Riebe, B; Michel, R; Walther, C

    2015-06-01

    The Mulde River drains the former uranium mining areas in Saxony (Germany), which has led to a large-scale contamination of the river and the adjacent floodplain soils with radionuclides of the uranium decay series. The objective of the investigation is to quantify the long-term effect of former uranium mining activities on a river system. All of the investigated environmental compartments (water, sediment, soil) still reveal an impact from the former uranium mining and milling activities. The contamination of water has decreased considerably during the last 20 years due to the operation of water treatment facilities. The uranium content of the sediments decreased as well (on average by a factor of 5.6), most likely caused by displacement of contaminated material during flood events. Currently, the impact of the mining activities is most obvious in soils. For some of the plots activity concentrations of >200 Bq/kg of soil were detected for uranium-238. Alluvial soils used as grassland were found to be contaminated to a higher degree than those used as cropland. PMID:25791900

  3. Multisource geological data mining and its utilization of uranium resources exploration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Jie-lin

    2009-10-01

    Nuclear energy as one of clear energy sources takes important role in economic development in CHINA, and according to the national long term development strategy, many more nuclear powers will be built in next few years, so it is a great challenge for uranium resources exploration. Research and practice on mineral exploration demonstrates that utilizing the modern Earth Observe System (EOS) technology and developing new multi-source geological data mining methods are effective approaches to uranium deposits prospecting. Based on data mining and knowledge discovery technology, this paper uses multi-source geological data to character electromagnetic spectral, geophysical and spatial information of uranium mineralization factors, and provides the technical support for uranium prospecting integrating with field remote sensing geological survey. Multi-source geological data used in this paper include satellite hyperspectral image (Hyperion), high spatial resolution remote sensing data, uranium geological information, airborne radiometric data, aeromagnetic and gravity data, and related data mining methods have been developed, such as data fusion of optical data and Radarsat image, information integration of remote sensing and geophysical data, and so on. Based on above approaches, the multi-geoscience information of uranium mineralization factors including complex polystage rock mass, mineralization controlling faults and hydrothermal alterations have been identified, the metallogenic potential of uranium has been evaluated, and some predicting areas have been located.

  4. Cola soft drinks for evaluating the bioaccessibility of uranium in contaminated mine soils.

    PubMed

    Lottermoser, Bernd G; Schnug, Ewald; Haneklaus, Silvia

    2011-08-15

    There is a rising need for scientifically sound and quantitative as well as simple, rapid, cheap and readily available soil testing procedures. The purpose of this study was to explore selected soft drinks (Coca-Cola Classic®, Diet Coke®, Coke Zero®) as indicators of bioaccessible uranium and other trace elements (As, Ce, Cu, La, Mn, Ni, Pb, Th, Y, Zn) in contaminated soils of the Mary Kathleen uranium mine site, Australia. Data of single extraction tests using Coca-Cola Classic®, Diet Coke® and Coke Zero® demonstrate that extractable arsenic, copper, lanthanum, manganese, nickel, yttrium and zinc concentrations correlate significantly with DTPA- and CaCl₂-extractable metals. Moreover, the correlation between DTPA-extractable uranium and that extracted using Coca-Cola Classic® is close to unity (+0.98), with reduced correlations for Diet Coke® (+0.66) and Coke Zero® (+0.55). Also, Coca-Cola Classic® extracts uranium concentrations near identical to DTPA, whereas distinctly higher uranium fractions were extracted using Diet Coke® and Coke Zero®. Results of this study demonstrate that the use of Coca-Cola Classic® in single extraction tests provided an excellent indication of bioaccessible uranium in the analysed soils and of uranium uptake into leaves and stems of the Sodom apple (Calotropis procera). Moreover, the unconventional reagent is superior in terms of availability, costs, preparation and disposal compared to traditional chemicals. Contaminated site assessments and rehabilitation of uranium mine sites require a solid understanding of the chemical speciation of environmentally significant elements for estimating their translocation in soils and plant uptake. Therefore, Cola soft drinks have potential applications in single extraction tests of uranium contaminated soils and may be used for environmental impact assessments of uranium mine sites, nuclear fuel processing plants and waste storage and disposal facilities. PMID:21696804

  5. 13 CFR 121.510 - What is the size standard for leasing of Government land for uranium mining?

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-01-01

    ... 13 Business Credit and Assistance 1 2011-01-01 2011-01-01 false What is the size standard for leasing of Government land for uranium mining? 121.510 Section 121.510 Business Credit and Assistance... standard for leasing of Government land for uranium mining? A concern is small for this purpose if...

  6. 13 CFR 121.510 - What is the size standard for leasing of Government land for uranium mining?

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-01-01

    ... 13 Business Credit and Assistance 1 2014-01-01 2014-01-01 false What is the size standard for leasing of Government land for uranium mining? 121.510 Section 121.510 Business Credit and Assistance... standard for leasing of Government land for uranium mining? A concern is small for this purpose if...

  7. 13 CFR 121.510 - What is the size standard for leasing of Government land for uranium mining?

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-01-01

    ... 13 Business Credit and Assistance 1 2012-01-01 2012-01-01 false What is the size standard for leasing of Government land for uranium mining? 121.510 Section 121.510 Business Credit and Assistance... standard for leasing of Government land for uranium mining? A concern is small for this purpose if...

  8. 13 CFR 121.510 - What is the size standard for leasing of Government land for uranium mining?

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-01-01

    ... 13 Business Credit and Assistance 1 2010-01-01 2010-01-01 false What is the size standard for leasing of Government land for uranium mining? 121.510 Section 121.510 Business Credit and Assistance... standard for leasing of Government land for uranium mining? A concern is small for this purpose if...

  9. 13 CFR 121.510 - What is the size standard for leasing of Government land for uranium mining?

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-01-01

    ... 13 Business Credit and Assistance 1 2013-01-01 2013-01-01 false What is the size standard for leasing of Government land for uranium mining? 121.510 Section 121.510 Business Credit and Assistance... standard for leasing of Government land for uranium mining? A concern is small for this purpose if...

  10. Investigation of radon-222 emissions from underground uranium mines. Progress report No. 2

    SciTech Connect

    Jackson, P.O.; Glissmeyer, J.A.; Enderlin, W.I.; Schwendiman, L.C.; Wogman, N.A.; Perkins, R.W.

    1980-02-01

    A reliable estimate of radon emissions to the environment from underground uranium mines was obtained through measurements of radon in ventilation exhaust air at 24 uranium mines and estimates of radon release from ore piles and waste piles at mines and in water pumped from mines. Three additional mines sampled in 1978 but not in 1979 were included in the overall results. Total production of U/sub 3/O/sub 8/ from the mines thus far sampled represent about 63% of total 1978 US production from underground mines. Wide variation in radon emission per unit of production was shown from mine to mine; hence, it became necessary to sum all radon from all mines measured and divide by the sum of all U/sub 3/O/sub 8/ production in 1978 from these mines to arrive at a valid estimate of Ci per ton of U/sub 3/O/sub 8/. This value was found to be 26.7 per ton or 5400 Ci/RRY (182 metric tons). The radon emitted in mine ventilation air was by far the dominant source, with other than ventilation exhaust sources accounting for less than three percent of radon in ventilation exhaust. Other observations of interest in this study were the diurnal fluctuations of radon with barometric pressure and the statistically significant relationship between radon released per year from a mine and the cumulative ore production at the time of radon measurement. The linear relationship between Ci/yr of radon and cumulative ore accounted for about half the variability.Several sources of random errors and possible biases were evaluated using some simple descriptive statistics insofar as the current data permitted. Errors in air flow rate in the vents sampled, fluctuations in radon emission with time of day, counting instrument calibration and production rate were estimated and combined to give an uncertainty of about +- 24 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

  11. Predictive analysis of shaft station radon concentrations in underground uranium mine: A case study.

    PubMed

    Zhao, Guoyan; Hong, Changshou; Li, Xiangyang; Lin, Chunping; Hu, Penghua

    2016-07-01

    This paper presented a method for predicting shaft station radon concentrations in a uranium mine of China through theoretical analysis, mathematical derivation and Monte-Carlo simulation. Based upon the queuing model for tramcars, the average waiting time of tramcars and average number of waiting tramcars were determined, which were further used in developing the predictive model for calculating shaft station radon concentrations. The results exhibit that the extent of variation of shaft station radon concentration in the case study mine is not significantly affected by the queuing process of tramcars, and is always within the allowable limit of 200 Bq m(-3). Thus, the empirical limit of 100,000 T annual ore-hoisting yields has no value in ensuring radiation safety for this mine. Moreover, the developed model has been validated and proved useful in assessing shaft station radon levels for any uranium mine with similar situations. PMID:27100335

  12. Groundwater Restoration at Uranium In-Situ Recovery Mines, South Texas Coastal Plain

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hall, Susan

    2009-01-01

    This talk was presented by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) geologist Susan Hall on May 11, 2009, at the Uranium 2009 conference in Keystone, Colorado, and on May 12, 2009, as part of an underground injection control track presentation at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Environmental Trade Fair and Conference in Austin, Texas. Texas has been the location of the greatest number of uranium in-situ recovery (ISR) mines in the United States and was the incubator for the development of alkaline leach technology in this country. For that reason, the author chose to focus on the effectiveness of restoration at ISR mines by examining legacy mines developed in Texas. The best source for accurate information about restoration at Texas ISR mines is housed at the TCEQ offices in Austin. The bulk of this research is an analysis of those records.

  13. Modelling the closure-related geochemical evolution of groundwater at a former uranium mine

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bain, J. G.; Mayer, K. U.; Blowes, D. W.; Frind, E. O.; Molson, J. W. H.; Kahnt, R.; Jenk, U.

    2001-11-01

    A newly developed reactive transport model was used to evaluate the potential effects of mine closure on the geochemical evolution in the aquifer downgradient from a mine site. The simulations were conducted for the Königstein uranium mine located in Saxony, Germany. During decades of operation, uranium at the former mine site had been extracted by in situ acid leaching of the ore underground, while the mine was maintained in a dewatered condition. One option for decommissioning is to allow the groundwater level to rise to its natural level, flooding the mine workings. As a result, pore water containing high concentrations of dissolved metals, radionuclides, and sulfate may be released. Additional contamination may arise due to the dissolution of minerals contained in the aquifer downgradient of the mine. On the other hand, dissolved metals may be attenuated by reactions within the aquifer. The geochemical processes and interactions involved are highly non-linear and their impact on the quality of the groundwater and surface water downstream of the mine is not always intuitive. The multicomponent reactive transport model MIN3P, which can describe mineral dissolution-precipitation reactions, aqueous complexation, and oxidation-reduction reactions, is shown to be a powerful tool for investigating these processes. The predictive capabilities of the model are, however, limited by the availability of key geochemical parameters such as the presence and quantities of primary and secondary mineral phases. Under these conditions, the model can provide valuable insight by means of sensitivity analyses.

  14. Modelling the closure-related geochemical evolution of groundwater at a former uranium mine.

    PubMed

    Bain, J G; Mayer, K U; Blowes, D W; Frind, E O; Molson, J W; Kahnt, R; Jenk, U

    2001-11-01

    A newly developed reactive transport model was used to evaluate the potential effects of mine closure on the geochemical evolution in the aquifer downgradient from a mine site. The simulations were conducted for the Königstein uranium mine located in Saxony, Germany. During decades of operation, uranium at the former mine site had been extracted by in situ acid leaching of the ore underground, while the mine was maintained in a dewatered condition. One option for decommissioning is to allow the groundwater level to rise to its natural level, flooding the mine workings. As a result, pore water containing high concentrations of dissolved metals, radionuclides, and sulfate may be released. Additional contamination may arise due to the dissolution of minerals contained in the aquifer downgradient of the mine. On the other hand, dissolved metals may be attenuated by reactions within the aquifer. The geochemical processes and interactions involved are highly non-linear and their impact on the quality of the groundwater and surface water downstream of the mine is not always intuitive. The multicomponent reactive transport model MIN3P, which can describe mineral dissolution-precipitation reactions, aqueous complexation, and oxidation-reduction reactions, is shown to be a powerful tool for investigating these processes. The predictive capabilities of the model are, however, limited by the availability of key geochemical parameters such as the presence and quantities of primary and secondary mineral phases. Under these conditions, the model can provide valuable insight by means of sensitivity analyses. PMID:11695738

  15. Port Radium Canada's Original Radium/Uranium Mine, The Complete Story of Canada's Historic Radium/Uranium Mine, 1932 to 2012 - 13159

    SciTech Connect

    Chambers, Doug; Wiatzka, Gerd; Brown, Steve

    2013-07-01

    This paper provides the life story of Canada's original radium/uranium mine. In addition to the history of operations, it discusses the unique and successful approach used to identify the key issues and concerns associated with the former radium, uranium and silver mining property and the activities undertaken to define the remedial actions and subsequent remedial plan. The Port Radium Mine site, situated approximately 275 km north of Yellowknife on the east shore of Great Bear Lake, Northwest Territories, was discovered in 1930 and underground mining began in 1932. The mine operated almost continuously from 1932 to 1982, initially for recovery of radium, then uranium and finally, for recovery of silver. Tailings production totaled an estimated 900,000 tons and 800,000 tons from uranium and silver processing operations respectively. In the early days of mining, Port Radium miners were exposed to radon and associated decay product levels (in Working Level Months of exposure - WLM) hundreds of times greater than modern standards. The experience of the Port Radium miners provides important contribution to understanding the risks from radon. While the uranium mine was originally decommissioned in the early 1960's, to the standards of the day, the community of Deline (formerly Fort Franklin) had concerns about residual contamination at the mine site and the potential effects arising from use of traditional lands. The Deline people were also concerned about the possible risks to Deline Dene arising from their work as ore carriers. In the late 1990's, the community of Deline brought these concerns to national attention and consequently, the Government of Canada and the community of Deline agreed to move forward in a collaborative manner to address these concerns. The approach agreed to was to establish the Canada-Deline Uranium Table (CDUT) to provide a joint process by which the people of Deline could have their concerns expressed and addressed. A great deal of work was

  16. Quantifying uranium transport rates and storage of fluvially eroded mine tailings from a historic mine site in the Grand Canyon Region

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Skalak, K.; Benthem, A. J.; Walton-Day, K. E.; Jolly, G.

    2015-12-01

    The Grand Canyon region contains a large number of breccia pipes with economically viable uranium, copper, and silver concentrations. Mining in this region has occurred since the late 19th century and has produced ore and waste rock having elevated levels of uranium and other contaminants. Fluvial transport of these contaminants from mine sites is a possibility, as this arid region is susceptible to violent storms and flash flooding which might erode and mobilize ore or waste rock. In order to assess and manage the risks associated with uranium mining, it is important to understand the transport and storage rates of sediment and uranium within the ephemeral streams of this region. We are developing a 1-dimensional sediment transportation model to examine uranium transport and storage through a typical canyon system in this region. Our study site is Hack Canyon Mine, a uranium and copper mine site, which operated in the 1980's and is currently experiencing fluvial erosion of its waste rock repository. The mine is located approximately 40km upstream from the Colorado River and is in a deep, narrow canyon with a small watershed. The stream is ephemeral for the upper half of its length and sediment is primarily mobilized during flash flood events. We collected sediment samples at 110 locations longitudinally through the river system to examine the distribution of uranium in the stream. Samples were sieved to the sand size and below fraction (<2mm) and uranium was measured by gamma-ray spectroscopy. Sediment storage zones were also examined in the upper 8km of the system to determine where uranium is preferentially stored in canyon systems. This information will quantify the downstream transport of constituents associated with the Hack Canyon waste rock and contribute to understanding the risks associated with fluvial mobilization of uranium mine waste.

  17. Observational studies as human experimentation: the uranium mining experience in the Navajo Nation (1947-66).

    PubMed

    Moure-Eraso, R

    1999-01-01

    This article evaluates how an observational epidemiologic study of federal agencies in uranium miners became an experiment of opportunity for radiation effects. Navajo miners and communities suffered environmental exposures caused by the practices of uranium mining and milling in the Navajo reservation during the 1947 to 1966 period. A historical review of the state-of-the-art knowledge of the health effects of uranium mining and milling during the years prior to 1947 was conducted. Contemporary prevention and remediation practices also were assessed. An appraisal of the summary of findings of a comprehensive evaluation of radiation human experimentation conducted by the U.S. federal government in 1995-96 (ACHRE) demonstrates that uranium miners, including Navajo miners, were the single group that was put more seriously at risk of harm from radiation exposures, with inadequate disclosure and often with fatal consequences. Uranium miners were unwilling and unaware victims of human experimentation to evaluate the health effects of radiation. The failure of the State and U.S. Governments to issue regulations or demand installation of known mine-dust exposure control measures caused widespread environmental damage in the Navajo Nation. PMID:17208792

  18. Uranium deposits at the Jomac mine, White Canyon area, San Juan County, Utah

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Trites, A.F.; Hadd, G.A.

    1955-01-01

    azurite, and chalcanthite occur locally with the uranium minerals. Principal ore guides at the Jomac mine are channels, and scours at the bottom of these channels coal-bearing sandstone or conglomerate at the base of the Shinarump conglomerate, coal, and jarosite.

  19. Breccia-pipe uranium mining in northern Arizona; estimate of resources and assessment of historical effects

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bills, Donald J.; Brown, Kristin M.; Alpine, Andrea E.; Otton, James K.; Van Gosen, Bradley S.; Hinck, Jo Ellen; Tillman, Fred D

    2011-01-01

    About 1 million acres of Federal land in the Grand Canyon region of Arizona were temporarily withdrawn from new mining claims in July 2009 by the Secretary of the Interior because of concern that increased uranium mining could have negative impacts on the land, water, people, and wildlife. During a 2-year interval, a Federal team led by the Bureau of Land Management is evaluating the effects of withdrawing these lands for extended periods. As part of this team, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) conducted a series of short-term studies to examine the historical effects of breccia-pipe uranium mining in the region. The USGS studies provide estimates of uranium resources affected by the possible land withdrawal, examine the effects of previous breccia-pipe mining, summarize water-chemistry data for streams and springs, and investigate potential biological pathways of exposure to uranium and associated contaminants. This fact sheet summarizes results through December 2009 and outlines further research needs.

  20. Environmental control technology for mining and milling low-grade uranium resources

    SciTech Connect

    Weakley, S.A.; Blahnik, D.E.; Long, L.W.; Bloomster, C.H.

    1981-04-01

    This study examined the type and level of wastes that would be generated in the mining and milling of U/sub 3/O/sub 8/ from four potential domestic sources of uranium. The estimated costs of the technology to control these wastes to different degrees of stringency are presented.

  1. Aquifer restoration at in-situ leach uranium mines: evidence for natural restoration processes

    SciTech Connect

    Deutsch, W.J.; Serne, R.J.; Bell, N.E.; Martin, W.J.

    1983-04-01

    Pacific Northwest Laboratory conducted experiments with aquifer sediments and leaching solution (lixiviant) from an in-situ leach uranium mine. The data from these laboratory experiments and information on the normal distribution of elements associated with roll-front uranium deposits provide evidence that natural processes can enhance restoration of aquifers affected by leach mining. Our experiments show that the concentration of uranium (U) in solution can decrease at least an order of magnitude (from 50 to less than 5 ppM U) due to reactions between the lixiviant and sediment, and that a uranium solid, possibly amorphous uranium dioxide, (UO/sub 2/), can limit the concentration of uranium in a solution in contact with reduced sediment. The concentrations of As, Se, and Mo in an oxidizing lixiviant should also decrease as a result of redox and precipitation reactions between the solution and sediment. The lixiviant concentrations of major anions (chloride and sulfate) other than carbonate were not affected by short-term (less than one week) contact with the aquifer sediments. This is also true of the total dissolved solids level of the solution. Consequently, we recommend that these solution parameters be used as indicators of an excursion of leaching solution from the leach field. Our experiments have shown that natural aquifer processes can affect the solution concentration of certain constituents. This effect should be considered when guidelines for aquifer restoration are established.

  2. Trace elements and Pb isotopes in soils and sediments impacted by uranium mining.

    PubMed

    Cuvier, A; Pourcelot, L; Probst, A; Prunier, J; Le Roux, G

    2016-10-01

    The purpose of this study is to evaluate the contamination in As, Ba, Co, Cu, Mn, Ni, Sr, V, Zn and REE, in a high uranium activity (up to 21,000Bq∙kg(-1)) area, downstream of a former uranium mine. Different geochemical proxies like enrichment factor and fractions from a sequential extraction procedure are used to evaluate the level of contamination, the mobility and the availability of the potential contaminants. Pb isotope ratios are determined in the total samples and in the sequential leachates to identify the sources of the contaminants and to determine the mobility of radiogenic Pb in the context of uranium mining. In spite of the large uranium contamination measured in the soils and the sediments (EF≫40), trace element contamination is low to moderate (2mining activities. Most of the trace elements are associated with the most mobile fractions of the sediments/soils, implying an enhanced potential availability. Even if no Pb enrichment is highlighted, the Pb isotopic signature of the contaminated soils is strongly radiogenic. Measurements performed on the sequential leachates reveal inputs of radiogenic Pb in the most mobile fractions of the contaminated soil. Inputs of low-mobile radiogenic Pb from mining activities may also contribute to the Pb signature recorded in the residual phase of the contaminated samples. We demonstrate that Pb isotopes are efficient tools to trace the origin and the mobility of the contaminants in environments affected by uranium mining. PMID:27220101

  3. Uranium in the Copper King Mine, Black Hawk No. 1 Claim, Larimer County, Colorado

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Granger, Harry Clifford; King, Robert Ugstad

    1951-01-01

    Radioactive rock was discovered on the dump of the Copper King mine, sec. 8, T. 10 N., R. 72 W., Larirrier County, Colo., in the summer of 1949. The mine had been prospected intermittently for copper and zinc since 1,916, but there is no record that ore was produced. The country rock is pre-Cambrian granite containing many schist inclusions and narrow pegmatite dikes. Pitchblende disseminated in chlorite and sulfides was deposited in an obscure vein system during an intermediate stage of mineralization. This stage was preceded by biotitic alteration of amphiboles and sulfide deposition. The latest stage of mineralization is represented-by the limonitic dense quartz vein followed during mining. The uranium-bearing vein is about 2-3 feet wide and the dense quartz vein is less than 6 inches wide. Both veins are bordered by 1-3 feet of biotite- and sulfide-bearing granite and arriphibole schist. The uranium content of 26 samples taken in the mine and on the dump ranges from 0.002 to 1.40 percent. These samples contained as much as 2.97 percent copper and 5.96 percent zinc. The general outlook for further prospecting near the Copper King shaft is not favorable, because much of the 'immediately surrounding area has been thoroughly investigated without finding abnormal radioactivity. The most favorable environment for concentration of uranium minerals appears to have been in or near schist inclusions in granite, and further exploration in nearby prospects may result in the discovery of other uranium-bearing deposits. In the Copper King mine, additional exploration would aid in determining the extent of the uranium-bearing material.

  4. Characterization of cores from an in-situ recovery mined uranium deposit in Wyoming: Implications for post-mining restoration

    DOE PAGESBeta

    WoldeGabriel, G.; Boukhalfa, H.; Ware, S. D.; Cheshire, M.; Reimus, P.; Heikoop, J.; Conradson, S. D.; Batuk, O.; Havrilla, G.; House, B.; et al

    2014-10-08

    In-situ recovery (ISR) of uranium (U) from sandstone-type roll-front deposits is a technology that involves the injection of solutions that consist of ground water fortified with oxygen and carbonate to promote the oxidative dissolution of U, which is pumped to recovery facilities located at the surface that capture the dissolved U and recycle the treated water. The ISR process alters the geochemical conditions in the subsurface creating conditions that are more favorable to the migration of uranium and other metals associated with the uranium deposit. There is a lack of clear understanding of the impact of ISR mining on themore » aquifer and host rocks of the post-mined site and the fate of residual U and other metals within the mined ore zone. We performed detailed petrographic, mineralogical, and geochemical analyses of several samples taken from about 7 m of core of the formerly the ISR-mined Smith Ranch–Highland uranium deposit in Wyoming. We show that previously mined cores contain significant residual uranium (U) present as coatings on pyrite and carbonaceous fragments. Coffinite was identified in three samples. Core samples with higher organic (> 1 wt.%) and clay (> 6–17 wt.%) contents yielded higher 234U/238U activity ratios (1.0–1.48) than those with lower organic and clay fractions. The ISR mining was inefficient in mobilizing U from the carbonaceous materials, which retained considerable U concentrations (374–11,534 ppm). This is in contrast with the deeper part of the ore zone, which was highly depleted in U and had very low 234U/238U activity ratios. This probably is due to greater contact with the lixiviant (leaching solution) during ISR mining. EXAFS analyses performed on grains with the highest U and Fe concentrations reveal that Fe is present in a reduced form as pyrite and U occurs mostly as U(IV) complexed by organic matter or as U(IV) phases of carbonate complexes. Moreover, U–O distances of ~ 2.05 Å were noted, indicating the

  5. Effects of uranium mining discharges on water quality in the Puerco River basin, Arizona and New Mexico

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Van Metre, P.C.; Gray, J.R.

    1992-01-01

    From 1967 until 1986, uranium mine dewatering increased dissolved gross alpha, gross beta, uranium and radium activities and dissolved selenium and molybdenum concentrations in the Puerco River as indicated by time trends, areal patterns involving distance from the mines and stream discharge. Additionally, increased dissolved uranium concentrations were identified in groundwater under the Puerco River from where mine discharges entered the river to approximately the Arizona-New Mexico State line about 65 km downstream. Total mass of uranium and gross alpha activity released to the Puerco River by mine dewatering were estimated as 560 Mg (560 × 106 g) and 260 Ci, respectively. In comparison, a uranium mill tailings pond spill on 16 July 1979, released an estimated 1.5 Mg of uranium and 46 Ci of gross alpha activity. Mass balance calculations for alluvial ground water indicate that most of the uranium released did not remain in solution. Sorption of uranium on sediments and uptake of uranium by plants probably removed the uranium from solution.

  6. Geology of the Midnite uranium mine area, Washington: maps, description, and interpretation

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nash, J. Thomas

    1977-01-01

    Bedrock geology of about 12 km2 near the Midnite mine has been mapped at the surface, in mine exposures, and from drilling, at scales from 1:600 to 1:12,000 and is presented here at 1:12,000 to provide description of the setting of uranium deposits. Oldest rocks in the area are metapelitic and metacarbonate rocks of the Precambrian (Y) Togo Formation. The chief host for uranium deposits is graphitic and pyritic mica phyllite and muscovite schist. Ore also occurs in calc-silicate hornfels and marble at the western edge of a calcareous section about 1,150 m thick. Calcareous rocks of the Togo are probably older than the pelitic as they are interpreted to be near the axis of a broad anticline. The composition and structural position of the calcareous unit suggests correlation with less metamorphosed carbonate-bearing rocks of the Lower Wallace Formation, Belt Supergroup, about 200 km to the east. Basic sills intrusive into the Togo have been metamorphosed to amphibolite. Unmetamorphosed rocks in the mine area are Cretaceous(?) and Eocene igneous rocks. Porphyritic quartz monzonite of Cretaceous age, part of the Loon Lake batholith, is exposed over one third of the mine area. It underlies the roof pendant of Precambrian rocks in which the Midnite mine occurs at depths of generally less than 300 m. The pluton is a two-mica granite and exhibits pegmatitic and aplitic textural features indicative of water saturation and pressure quenching. Eocene intrusive and extrusive rocks in the area provide evidence that the Eocene surface was only a short distance above the present uranium deposits. Speculative hypotheses are presented for penesyngenetic, hydrothermal, and supergene modes of uranium emplacement. The Precambrian Stratigraphy, similar in age and pre-metamorphic lithology to that of rocks hosting large uranium deposits in Saskatchewan and Northern Territory, Australia, suggests the possibility of uranium accumulation along with diagenetic pyrite in carbonaceous muds in

  7. Geographic variability in radon exhalation at a rehabilitated uranium mine in the Northern Territory, Australia.

    PubMed

    Bollhöfer, Andreas; Storm, John; Martin, Paul; Tims, Stephen

    2006-03-01

    In this study, dry season radon flux densities and radon fluxes have been determined at the rehabilitated Nabarlek uranium mine in northern Australia using conventional charcoal canisters. Environmental background levels amounted to 31+/- 15 milli Becquerel per m(2) per second (mBq m(-2) s(-1)). Radon flux densities within the fenced rehabilitated mine area showed large variations with a maximum of 6500 mBq m(-2) s(-1) at an area south of the former pit characterised by a disequilibrium between (226)Ra and (238)U. Radon flux densities were also high above the areas of the former pit (mean 971 mBq m(-2) s(-1)) and waste rock dump (mean 335 mBq m(-2) s(-1)). The lower limit for the total pre-mining radon flux from the fenced area (140 ha) was estimated to 214 kBq s(-1), post-mining radon flux amounted to 174 kBq s(-1). Our study highlights that the results of radon flux studies are vitally dependant on the selection of individual survey points. We suggest the use of a randomised system for both the selection of survey points and the placement of charcoal canisters at each survey point, to avoid over estimation of radon flux densities. It is also important to emphasize the significance of having reliable pre-mining radiological data available to assess the success of rehabilitation of a uranium mine site. PMID:16502032

  8. Uranium in the metal-mining districts of Colorado

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    King, Robert Ugstad; Leonard, B.F.; Moore, F.B.; Pierson, C.T.

    1953-01-01

    Many varieties of abnormally radioactive rocks and ores have been found in Colorado as a result of more than eight years of geologic studies by the U. S. Geological Survey, but only a small proportion of these contain uranium in sufficient quantities to be of possible commercial interest.

  9. Environmental impact of uranium mining and milling: an American view

    SciTech Connect

    Momeni, M.H.

    1981-08-18

    The radiation dose rates to man from uranium milling activities are discussed. The sources of radiation, the radioisotopes involved, and the environmental exposure pathways are described. Risks of cancer to exposed individuals are presented and recommendations made for mitigation of contamination. (ACR)

  10. Study of uranium and thorium isotopes in ground waters and solids of two uranium mines, south Texas

    SciTech Connect

    San Juan, F.C. Jr.

    1982-01-01

    Isotopic analysis was carried out on water and solid samples taken from both the ore zones and the general vicinity of two uranium mines in south Texas. The uranium deposits were of the roll-front type. The ore-bearing formations were the Catahoula Formation of Miocene age in Duval County and the Upper Jackson formation of Eocene age in Karnes County. Solid samples were analyzed for /sup 234/U, /sup 238/U and /sup 230/Th, water for /sup 234/U and /sup 239/U. In order to test several models which have been proposed to explain the fractionation of various nuclides in the vicinity of a reduction-oxidation front, plots incorporating uranium concentration and /sup 234/U//sup 238/U activity ratio (AR) of the water and /sup 234/U//sup 238/U and /sup 230/Th//sup 238/U - /sup 234/U//sup 238/U of the solid were used. The integration of data from each of these models, including contour maps of various isotopic parameters and statistical plots helped in predicting the presence, the stage of deposition (dispersing, stable or accumulating) and the degree of radioactive disequilibrium of the deposits under study. The isotopic data were also useful in determining the position of the redox boundary and the environment of a sample. These methods may be useful in prospecting studies of other possible uranium deposits, both in the oxidized and/or the reduced environment.

  11. Factoring Uncertainty into Restoration Modeling of In-Situ Leach Uranium Mines

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Johnson, Raymond H.; Friedel, Michael J.

    2009-01-01

    Postmining restoration is one of the greatest concerns for uranium in-situ leach (ISL) mining operations. The ISL-affected aquifer needs to be returned to conditions specified in the mining permit (either premining or other specified conditions). When uranium ISL operations are completed, postmining restoration is usually achieved by injecting reducing agents into the mined zone. The objective of this process is to restore the aquifer to premining conditions by reducing the solubility of uranium and other metals in the ground water. Reactive transport modeling is a potentially useful method for simulating the effectiveness of proposed restoration techniques. While reactive transport models can be useful, they are a simplification of reality that introduces uncertainty through the model conceptualization, parameterization, and calibration processes. For this reason, quantifying the uncertainty in simulated temporal and spatial hydrogeochemistry is important for postremedial risk evaluation of metal concentrations and mobility. Quantifying the range of uncertainty in key predictions (such as uranium concentrations at a specific location) can be achieved using forward Monte Carlo or other inverse modeling techniques (trial-and-error parameter sensitivity, calibration constrained Monte Carlo). These techniques provide simulated values of metal concentrations at specified locations that can be presented as nonlinear uncertainty limits or probability density functions. Decisionmakers can use these results to better evaluate environmental risk as future metal concentrations with a limited range of possibilities, based on a scientific evaluation of uncertainty.

  12. Potential Impacts of Legacy and Current Uranium Mining in the Grand Canyon Region of Northern Arizona

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bills, D. J.

    2012-12-01

    The Grand Canyon region in Northern Arizona contains high grade uranium resources hosted in geologic features called breccia pipes that represent an important component of the Nation's energy resource base. The exploration and extraction of uranium ore from these deposits poses potential risks to humans and biota of the Grand Canyon watershed. These issues led the Secretary of the Interior to a Record of Decision in January 2012 to withdraw over a million acres of federal lands in the region from mineral entry for the next 20 years. Dissolved uranium and other major ions and trace elements occur naturally in surface water and in groundwater as a result of precipitation infiltrating from the surface to perched water-bearing zones in contact with mineralized breccia pipes or in contact with sandstones with high trace element content, and to underlying regional aquifers. Discharge from these water-bearing zones and aquifers occur as seeps and springs throughout the region and provide valuable habitat and water sources for plants and animals. Runoff and groundwater flow in the Grand Canyon region is also a component of the water supply for over 25 million people in the Southwestern United States. Soil and sediment in the region can naturally contain as much a 5.6 micrograms per gram of uranium and naturally occurring dissolved uranium in groundwater is about 5.0 μg/L or less, except in proximity to uranium ore bodies where it tends to be greater. The current discharge of dissolved uranium from the Grand Canyon region to Lake Mead have concentrations of 4.0 μg/L or less resulting in a total annual load of uranium delivered to Lake Mead of about 60 tons per year. Increased amounts of radioactive materials and trace metals on the surface and in groundwater are related to uranium mining activity in the watershed in the 1970s and 1980s. Monitoring and data collection from 2010 to 2012 confirm this legacy impact in some parts of the Grand Canyon watershed, but have yet to

  13. The uptake of uranium by Eleocharis dulcis (Chinese water chestnut) in the Ranger Uranium Mine constructed wetland filter.

    PubMed

    Overall, Robyn A; Parry, David L

    2004-11-01

    Eleocharis dulcis has proliferated in a constructed wetland used to treat uranium mine runoff water, where it rapidly accumulates significant quantities of uranium (U) in its roots and relatively little in its stems. We investigated the mechanism of U uptake and accumulation by E. dulcis using field-sampling techniques and microcosm test work. Results from the microcosm trials and outcomes from statistical tests of field sampled macrophyte, water and sediment indicate that the primary source of U for E. dulcis is the water column. Basipetal translocation of U to the plant's roots was indicated by significant correlations between the U content of stems, taproots and rhizomes and XPS detection of U inside root segments. U sequestering from sediment interstitial water by Fe hydroxides on root surfaces was also evident. No basipetal translocation was evident following the 28-day duration of the microcosm experiments, indicating that it is a longer-term process. PMID:15312943

  14. Uranium occurrences at the Moonlight Mine and Granite Point claims, Humboldt County, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Taylor, Allen O.; Powers, James Farl

    1955-01-01

    The Moonlight mine and Granite Foint claims are on the western flank of the Double H Mountains between the Kings River and Quinn, River valleys in northern Humboldt County, Nev. Uranium minerals at the Moonlight mine occur in a vein in intensely altered Tertiary volcanic rocks. The knovm uranium mineralization is spotty and erratic, but ore-grade material is present in the vein. Samples of the vein taken along its outcrop and in the mine shaft contain from less than 0.02 percent to 0.40 percent U308. The uranium minerals change from autunite at the surface to torbernite, 'gummite(?)' and pitchblende below the 90-foot level of the shaft. The Granite Point claims are two miles north of the Moonlight mine at the base of a rhyolite cliff. Radioactivity traverses made along the base and slope of the rhyolite cliff indicate that a large part of the rhyolite is abnormally radioactive. Radioactivity ranges from 0.013 to 0.3 mr/hr and averaged 0.10 mr/hr. in the vicinity of the claims. A sample taken at the base of the rhyolite cliff, at the point of highest radioactivity c6ntains 0.02 percent U3O8.

  15. Some implications of in situ uranium mining technology development

    SciTech Connect

    Cowan, C.E.; Parkhurst, M.A.; Cole, R.J.; Keller, D.; Mellinger, P.J.; Wallace, R.W.

    1980-09-01

    The assessment indicates that there do not appear to be any significant demonstrated negative environmental impacts. Moreover, the impacts of in situ mining compare favorably with those impacts expected from conventional mining techniques. Exposure to radioactive elements is less, atmospheric emissions of radioactive and nonradioactive materials are generally less and socioeconomic impacts are decreased. In fact, because of the generally small and unskilled labor forces associated with in-situ mining, development has provided much needed economic stimulus to economically depressed areas of Texas. There are still, however, several areas of unknowns and several areas of inadequate information that will need to be addressed before a complete quantification evaluation of impacts can be made. These areas include levels of radon emissions and groundwater restoration methods and impacts. Several issues mostly relating to the interaction of industry with state and Federal regulators need to be addressed.

  16. Mining death: Cancer among America`s uranium miners

    SciTech Connect

    Ball, H.

    1995-10-01

    The approach the author takes in this book is that American uranium miners suffered unnecessary severe, often fatal, health problems because of their exposure to radiation. More than half the book reprints a 1986 report from the Committee on Energy and Commerce titled `America`s Nuclear Guinea Pigs: three Decades of Radiation Experiments on U.S. Citizens.` The book continues well documented history of the nuclear era.

  17. Uranium in Surface Waters and Sediments Affected by Historical Mining in the Denver West 1:100,000 Quadrangle, Colorado

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Zielinski, Robert A.; Otton, James K.; Schumann, R. Randall; Wirt, Laurie

    2008-01-01

    Geochemical sampling of 82 stream waters and 87 stream sediments within mountainous areas immediately west of Denver, Colorado, was conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey in October 1994. The primary purpose was to evaluate regionally the effects of geology and past mining on the concentration and distribution of uranium. The study area contains uranium- and thorium-rich bedrock, numerous noneconomic occurrences of uranium minerals, and several uranium deposits of variable size and production history. During the sampling period, local streams had low discharge and were more susceptible to uranium-bearing acid drainage originating from historical mines of base- and precious-metal sulfides. Results indicated that the spatial distribution of Precambrian granites and metamorphic rocks strongly influences the concentration of uranium in stream sediments. Within-stream transport increases the dispersion of uranium- and thorium rich mineral grains derived primarily from granitic source rocks. Dissolved uranium occurs predominantly as uranyl carbonate complexes, and concentrations ranged from less than 1 to 65 micrograms per liter. Most values were less than 5 micrograms per liter, which is less than the current drinking water standard of 30 micrograms per liter and much less than locally applied aquatic-life toxicity standards of several hundred micrograms per liter. In local streams that are affected by uranium-bearing acid mine drainage, dissolved uranium is moderated by dilution and sorptive uptake by stream sediments. Sorbents include mineral alteration products and chemical precipitates of iron- and aluminum-oxyhydroxides, which form where acid drainage enters streams and is neutralized. Suspended uranium is relatively abundant in some stream segments affected by nearby acid drainage, which likely represents mobilization of these chemical precipitates. The 234U/238U activity ratio of acid drainage (0.95-1.0) is distinct from that of local surface waters (more than 1

  18. An improved mathematical model for prediction of air quantity to minimise radiation levels in underground uranium mines.

    PubMed

    Panigrahi, Durga Charan; Sahu, Patitapaban; Mishra, Devi Prasad

    2015-02-01

    Ventilation is the primary means of controlling radon and its daughter concentrations in an underground uranium mine environment. Therefore, prediction of air quantity is the vital component for planning and designing of ventilation systems to minimise the radiation exposure of miners in underground uranium mines. This paper comprehensively describes the derivation and verification of an improved mathematical model for prediction of air quantity, based on the growth of radon daughters in terms of potential alpha energy concentration (PAEC), to reduce the radiation levels in uranium mines. The model also explains the prediction of air quantity depending upon the quality of intake air to the stopes. This model can be used to evaluate the contribution of different sources to radon concentration in mine atmosphere based on the measurements of radon emanation and exhalation. Moreover, a mathematical relationship has been established for quick prediction of air quantity to achieve the desired radon daughter concentration in the mines. PMID:25461521

  19. Radon exposure, cigarette smoking, and other mining experience in the beaverlodge uranium miners cohort

    SciTech Connect

    L'Abbe, K.A.; Howe, G.R.; Burch, J.D.; Miller, A.B.; Abbatt, J.; Band, P.; Choi, W.; Du, J.; Feather, J.; Gallagher, R. )

    1991-04-01

    A nested case-control study within the Beaverlodge Uranium Miners Cohort was undertaken to assess any possible contribution of confounding by smoking and other mining experience to the risk estimate derived from the original cohort study. Next of kin have been interviewed for 46 lung cancer cases and 95 controls enrolled in the Beaverlodge Uranium Miners Cohort Study who died between 1950 and 1980. Confounding by cigarette smoking and other mining experience appears unlikely to have contributed to the relative risk coefficient for exposure to Rn decay products derived in the parent study. Data for smoking and exposure to Rn decay products are consistent with a multiplicative model, although considerable caution must be applied to this interpretation.

  20. Capacity of Lemna gibba L. (duckweed) for uranium and arsenic phytoremediation in mine tailing waters.

    PubMed

    Mkandawire, Martin; Taubert, Barbara; Dudel, E Gert

    2004-01-01

    The potential of Lemna gibba L. to clean uranium and arsenic contamination from mine surface waters was investigated in wetlands of two former uranium mines in eastern Germany and in laboratory hydroponic culture. Water and plants were sampled and L gibba growth and yield were monitored in tailing ponds from the field study sites. Contaminant accumulation, growth and yield experiments were conducted in the laboratory using synthetic tailing water. Mean background concentrations of the surface waters were 186.0+/-81.2 microg l(-1) uranium and 47.0+/-21.3 microg l(-1) arsenic in Site one and 293.7+/-121.3 microg l(-1) uranium and 41.37+/-24.7 microg l(-1) arsenic in Site two. The initial concentration of both uranium and arsenic in the culture solutions was 100 microg l(-1). The plant samples were either not leached, leached with deionized H2O or ethylenediaminetetracetic (EDTA). The results revealed high bioaccumulation coefficients for both uranium and arsenic. Uranium and arsenic content of L gibba dry biomass of the field samples were as follows: nonleached samples > deionized H2O leached (insignificant ANOVA p = 0.05) > EDTA leached. The difference in both arsenic and uranium enrichment were significantly high between the nonleached and the other two lead samples tested at ANOVA p > 0.001. Estimated mean L gibba density in surface water was 85,344.8+/-1843.4 fronds m(-2) (approximately 1319.7 g m(-2)). The maximum specific growth rate was 0.47+/-0.2 d(-1), which exceeded reported specific growth rates for L gibba in the literature. Average yield was estimated at 20.2+/-6.7 g m(-2) d(-1), giving approximately 73.6+/-21.4 t ha(-1) y(-1) as the annual yield. The highest accumulations observed were 896.9+/-203.8 mg kg(-1) uranium and 1021.7+/-250.8 mg kg(-1) arsenic dry biomass for a 21-d test period in the laboratory steady-state experiments. The potential extractions from surface waters with L gibba L. were estimated to be 662.7 kg uranium ha(-1) yr(-1) and 751

  1. Effects of uranium-mining releases on ground-water quality in the Puerco River Basin, Arizona and New Mexico

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Van Metre, Peter C.; Wirt, Laurie; Lopes, T.J.; Ferguson, S.A.

    1997-01-01

    Shallow ground water beneath the Puerco River of Arizona and New Mexico was studied to determine the effects of uranium-mining releases on water quality. Ground-water samples collected from 1989 to 1991 indicate that concentrations of dissolved uranium have decreased. Most samples from the alluvial aquifer downstream from Gallup, New Mexico, met with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's maximum contaminant levels for gross alpha, gross beta, and radium and the proposed maximum contaminant level for uranium.

  2. Exposure pathways and biological receptors: baseline data for the canyon uranium mine, Coconino County, Arizona

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hinck, Jo E.; Linder, Greg L.; Darrah, Abigail J.; Drost, Charles A.; Duniway, Michael C.; Johnson, Matthew J.; Méndez-Harclerode, Francisca M.; Nowak, Erika M.; Valdez, Ernest W.; Van Riper, Charles, III; Wolff, S.W.

    2014-01-01

    Recent restrictions on uranium mining within the Grand Canyon watershed have drawn attention to scientific data gaps in evaluating the possible effects of ore extraction to human populations as well as wildlife communities in the area. Tissue contaminant concentrations, one of the most basic data requirements to determine exposure, are not available for biota from any historical or active uranium mines in the region. The Canyon Uranium Mine is under development, providing a unique opportunity to characterize concentrations of uranium and other trace elements, as well as radiation levels in biota, found in the vicinity of the mine before ore extraction begins. Our study objectives were to identify contaminants of potential concern and critical contaminant exposure pathways for ecological receptors; conduct biological surveys to understand the local food web and refine the list of target species (ecological receptors) for contaminant analysis; and collect target species for contaminant analysis prior to the initiation of active mining. Contaminants of potential concern were identified as arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, selenium, thallium, uranium, and zinc for chemical toxicity and uranium and associated radionuclides for radiation. The conceptual exposure model identified ingestion, inhalation, absorption, and dietary transfer (bioaccumulation or bioconcentration) as critical contaminant exposure pathways. The biological survey of plants, invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and small mammals is the first to document and provide ecological information on .200 species in and around the mine site; this study also provides critical baseline information about the local food web. Most of the species documented at the mine are common to ponderosa pine Pinus ponderosa and pinyon–juniper Pinus–Juniperus spp. forests in northern Arizona and are not considered to have special conservation status by state or federal agencies; exceptions

  3. Uranium(VI) reduction and removal by high performing purified anaerobic cultures from mine soil.

    PubMed

    Chabalala, Simphiwe; Chirwa, Evans M N

    2010-01-01

    Biological uranium reduction was investigated using bacteria isolated from a uranium mine in Limpopo, South Africa. Background uranium concentration in soil from the mine was determined to be 168 mgkg(-1) much higher than the typical background uranium concentration in natural soils (0.30-11.7 mgkg(-1)). Therefore it was expected that the bacteria isolated from the site were resistant to U(VI) toxicity. Preliminary studies using a non-purified consortium from the mine soil showed that U(VI) [uranyl(VI) dioxide, UO(2)(2+)] was reduced and re-oxidized intermittently due to the coexistence of U(VI) reducers and U(VI) oxidisers in the soil. Results from U(VI) reduction by individual species showed that the purified cultures of Pantoea sp., Pseudomonas sp. and Enterobacter sp. reduced U(VI) to U(IV) [U(OH)(4)(aq)] under pH 5-6. Klebsiella sp. had to be eliminated from the cultures since these contributed to the remobilisation of uranium to the hexavelant form. The initial reduction rate determined at 50% point in 30 mgL(-1) batches was highest in Pseudomonas sp. at 30 mgL(-1), followed by Pantoea sp. Rapid reduction was observed in all cultures during the first 6h of incubation with equilibrium conditions obtained only after incubation for 24h. Complete U(VI) reduction was observed at concentrations as high as 200mgL(-1) and up to 88% removal after 24h in batches with an initial added U(VI) concentration of 400 mgL(-1). PMID:19883933

  4. Recovery of uranium from mine waste by leaching with carbonate-based reagents.

    PubMed

    Santos, Elizângela A; Ladeira, Ana C Q

    2011-04-15

    Waste materials, stored in inappropriate places, are one of the most significant environmental issues concerning mining activities. In Brazil, one closed uranium mine has faced such a problem. The waste, produced during the neutralization of acid drainage and containing several metals including uranium, has been disposed into the mine opening as a temporary alternative for over 20 years. The present work aimed at the recovery of the uranium present in the aforementioned waste. The effect of the following parameters on the leaching procedure was investigated: solid/liquid ratio, time, temperature, extracting agents, concentration of reagents, and the use of oxidants. The chemical characterization showed that the main constituents of the sample are Ca, S, Mn, and Al. Uranium is around 0.25%. The crystallized phases are ettringite (Ca(6)Al(2)(SO(4))(3)·(OH)(12)·26H(2)O) as the major phase followed by gypsum (CaSO(4)·2H(2)O), calcite (CaCO(3)), and bassanite (CaSO(4)·0.5H(2)O). Carbonate and bicarbonate were observed to be effective extractants for the uranium. However, a combination of both reagents proved to be a better option than their individual use, and extractions around 100% were achieved. The optimum experimental condition for attaining the maximum dissolution is 0.11 solid/liquid ratio, 0.50 mol L(-1) Na(2)CO(3), 1.00 mol L(-1) NaHCO(3), 20 h, and room temperature. PMID:21434650

  5. Geology of dolomite-hosted uranium deposits at the Pitch Mine, Saguache County, Colorado

    SciTech Connect

    Nash, J.T.

    1981-01-01

    Newly documented uranium ore in the Pitch mine occurs chiefly in brecciated Mississippian Leadville Dolomite along the Chester upthrust zone, and to a lesser extent in sandstone, siltstone, and carbonaceous shale of the Pennsylvanian Belden Formation and in Precambrian granitic rocks and schist. Uranium-mineralized zones are generally thicker, more consistent, and of higher grade in dolomite than in other hosts, and roughly 50 percent of the new reserves are in dolomite. Strong physical control by dolomite is evident, as this is the only rock type that is pervasively brecciated within the fault slices that make up the footwall of the reverse-fault zone. Other rocks tended to either remain unbroken or undergo ductile deformation. Chemical controls on uranium deposition are subtle and appear chiefly to involve coprecipitation of FeS/sub 2/ as pyrite and marcasite, suggesting that sulfide ion may be the reductant. (JMT)

  6. Former uranium mine-induced effects in caged roach: a multiparametric approach for the evaluation of in situ metal toxicity.

    PubMed

    Gagnaire, Béatrice; Bado-Nilles, Anne; Betoulle, Stéphane; Amara, Rachid; Camilleri, Virginie; Cavalié, Isabelle; Chadili, Edith; Delahaut, Laurence; Kerambrun, Elodie; Orjollet, Daniel; Palluel, Olivier; Sanchez, Wilfried

    2015-01-01

    To characterize environmental risks linked to former uranium mines in the Limousin region of France, a study was conducted on fish health effects from uranium releases. Two private ponds were compared in this study, one with uranium contamination and one background site, upstream of the mining zone. Roach, Rutilus rutilus, were caged for 28 days in both ponds. Physico-chemical parameters of water and sediments and bioaccumulation of metals in several organs were determined. After 14 and 28 days of caging, immune, oxidative stress, biotransformation, neurotoxicity and physiological parameters were measured. Iron and aluminium were quantified in the water of both sites; however, barium and manganese were only present in the water of the uranium contaminated site. Uranium was present in both sites but at very different concentrations. The sediments from the uranium contaminated site contained high levels of radioactive elements coming from the disintegration chain of uranium. Results of biological parameters indicated stimulation of immune parameters and of oxidative stress and a decrease of AChE in fish caged in the uranium contaminated pond compared to the uranium-free pond. Overall, the results determined roach health status in the context of pollution from poly-metallic mining. The data strengthen our knowledge of the environmental risk assessment associated with radioactive substances in the environment. PMID:25348601

  7. Pollution of the stream waters and sediments associated with the Crucea uranium mine (East Carpathians, Romania)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Petrescu, L.; Bilal, E.; Iatan, E. L.

    2009-04-01

    Uranium and thorium are omnipresent in our environment. Various anthropogenic activities involving the processing or use of materials rich in uranium may modify the natural abundance of uranium in water. The study is related to uranium mineralization located within Crucea ore deposit, in the East Carpathians, Romania. The Crucea uranium ore deposit is located in the eastern part of the Bistrita Mountains (40 Km southeast of the town of Vatra Dornei) in the headwaters of Crucea, Lesu and Livezi valleys. At present, this is the largest uranium mine in the country. In the past, the mining area covered 18 km2, but was gradually overtaken by logging activities. The exploration and mining facilities include thirty-two galleries, situated between 780 and 1040 m above sea level. Radioactive waste resulted from mining are disposed next to the mining facilities. The waste rock was disposed in piles of variable size that are spread over an area of 364,000 m2. Older dumps (18) have been already naturally reclaimed by forest vegetation. The vegetation cover played an important role in stabilizing the waste dump cover and in slowing down the uranium migration processes. A number of 46 water samples were taken in order to evaluate the impact of ore deposit (including its exploitation process) on the chemical composition of waters down to the exploitation galleries. The sediment samples were collected at 16 sampling points from the bottom of the studied stream waters. ICP-OES, XRF and IC methods was used to evaluate the impact of uranium mine dumps on the surface waters from Crucea region. According to the analytical data the stream waters showed a Ca - carbonate character. In relation to salinity, the pH and the anion NO3-, CO32-and SO42- contents display generally non-linear relationships with chloride. Uranium is the most significant trace element in the river waters nearby the waste rock dumps, sometimes reaching levels up to 1-mgṡL-1, well in excess of the Romanian

  8. Geology of the Shinarump No. 1 uranium mine, Seven Mile Canyon area, Grand County, Utah

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Finch, Warren Irvin

    1954-01-01

    The geology of the Shinarump No. 1 uranium mine, located about 12 miles northwest of Moab, Utah, in the Seven Mile Canyon area, Grand County, Utah, was studied to determine the habits, ore controls, and possible origin of the deposit. Rocks of Permian, Triassic, and Jurassic age crop out in the area mapped, and uranium deposits are found in three zones in the lower 25 feet of the Chinle formation of Late Triassic age. The Shinarump No. 1 mine, which is in the lowermost zone, is located on the west flank of the Moab anticline near the Moab fault. The Shinarump No. 1 uranium deposit consists of discontinuous lenticular layers of mineralized rock, irregular in outline, that, in general, follow the bedding. Ore minerals, mainly uraninite, impregnate the rock. High-grade ore seams of uraninite and chalcocite occur along bedding planes. Uraninite formed later than, or simultaneous with, most sulfides, and the chalcocite may be of two ages, with some being later than uraninite. Uraninite and chalcocite are concentrated in the more poorly sorted parts of siltstones. In the Seven Mile Canyon area guides to ore inferred from the study of the Shinarump No. 1 deposit are the presence of bleached siltstone, carbonaceous matter, and copper sulfides. Results of spectrographic analysis indicate that the mineralizing solutions contained important amounts of barium, vanadium, uranium, and copper, as well as lesser amounts of strontium, chromium, boron, yttrium, lead, and zinc. The origin of the Shinarump No. 1 deposit is thought to be hydrothermal.

  9. An estimation of radiation doses to benthic invertebrates from sediments collected near a Canadian uranium mine.

    PubMed

    Thomas, P; Liber, K

    2001-10-01

    A new method is described for calculating radiation doses to benthic invertebrates from radionuclide concentrations in freshwater sediment. Both internal and external radiation doses were estimated for all 14 principal radionuclides of the uranium-238 decay series. Sediments were collected from three sites downstream of a uranium mining operation in northern Saskatchewan, Canada. Sediments from two sites, located approximately 1.6 and 4.4 km downstream from mining operations, yielded absorbed doses to both larval midges, Chironomus tentans, and adult amphipods, Hyalella azteca, of 59-60 and 19 mGy/year, respectively, compared to 3.2 mGy/year for a nearby control site. External beta radiation from protactinium-234 (234Pa) and alpha radiation from uranium (U) contributed most of the dose at the impacted sites, whereas polonium-210 (210Po) was most important at the control site. If a weighting factor of 20 was employed for the greater biological effect of alpha vs. beta and gamma radiation, then total equivalent doses rose to 540-560 mGy/year at the site closest to uranium operations. Such equivalent doses are above the 360-mGy/year no-observed-effect level for reproductive effects in vertebrates from gamma radiation exposure. Data are not available to determine the effect of such doses on benthic organisms, but they are high enough to warrant concern. Detrimental effects have been observed in H. azteca at similar uranium concentration in laboratory toxicity tests, but it remains unclear whether the radiotoxicity or the chemotoxicity of uranium is responsible for these effects. PMID:11686646

  10. Community level physiological profiles of bacterial communities inhabiting uranium mining impacted sites.

    PubMed

    Kenarova, Anelia; Radeva, Galina; Traykov, Ivan; Boteva, Silvena

    2014-02-01

    Bacterial activity and physiological diversity were characterized in mining and milling impacted soils collected from three abandoned uranium mine sites, Senokos, Buhovo and Sliven, using bacterial dehydrogenase activity and Biolog (EcoPlate) tests. The elemental composition of soils revealed high levels of uranium and heavy metals (sum of technogenic coefficients of contamination; TCC(sum) pollution as follows: Sliven (uranium - 374 mg/kg; TCC(sum) - 23.40) >Buhovo (uranium - 139.20mg/kg; TCC(sum) - 3.93) >Senokos (uranium - 23.01 mg/kg; TCC(sum) - 0.86). The physiological profiles of the bacterial community level were site specific, and indicated intensive utilization of polyols, carbohydrates and carboxylic acids in low and medium polluted environments, and i-erithrytol and 2-hydroxy-benzoic acid in the highly polluted environment of Sliven waste pile. Enzymes which take part in the biodegradation of recalcitrant substances were more resistant to pollution than these from the pathways of the easily degradable carbon sources. The Shannon index indicated that the physiological diversity of bacteria was site specific but not in line with the levels of pollution. A general tendency of increasing the importance of the number of utilizable substrates to bacterial physiological diversity was observed at less polluted sites, whereas in highly polluted sites the evenness of substrate utilization rate was more significant. Dehydrogenase activity was highest in Senokos upper soil layer and positively correlated (p<0.01) with the soil organic matter content. The bacterial activity (EcoPlate) and physiological diversity (Shannon index) correlated significantly and negatively with As, Cu, Zn, Pb and U, and Co, Cr, Ni and Mn, respectively. We concluded that the observed site specific shifts in bacterial communities were complex due to both the environmental peculiarities and the bacterial tolerance to the relevant level of pollution, rather than a strong indication of uranium

  11. Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Uranium Mining and Milling in Canada.

    PubMed

    Parker, David J; McNaughton, Cameron S; Sparks, Gordon A

    2016-09-01

    Life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the production of nuclear power (in g CO2e/kWh) are uncertain due partly to a paucity of data on emissions from individual phases of the nuclear fuel cycle. Here, we present the first comprehensive life cycle assessment of GHG emissions produced from the mining and milling of uranium in Canada. The study includes data from 2006-2013 for two uranium mine-mill operations in northern Saskatchewan (SK) and data from 1995-2010 for a third SK mine-mill operation. The mine-mill operations were determined to have GHG emissions intensities of 81, 64, and 34 kg CO2e/kg U3O8 at average ore grades of 0.74%, 1.54%, and 4.53% U3O8, respectively. The production-weighted average GHG emission intensity is 42 kg CO2e/kg U3O8 at an average ore grade of 3.81% U3O8. The production-weighted average GHG emission intensity drops to 24 kg CO2e/kg U3O8 when the local hydroelectric GHG emission factor (7.2 g CO2e/kWh) is substituted for the SK grid-average electricity GHG emission factor (768 g CO2e/kWh). This results in Canadian uranium mining-milling contributing only 1.1 g CO2e/kWh to total life cycle GHG emissions from the nuclear fuel cycle (0.7 g CO2e/kWh using the local hydroelectric emission factor). PMID:27471915

  12. Field Evaluation of the Restorative Capacity of the Aquifer Downgradient of a Uranium In-Situ Recovery Mining Site

    SciTech Connect

    Reimus, Paul William

    2015-05-22

    A two-part field study was conducted in Smith Ranch-Highland in-situ recovery (ISR) near Douglas, Wyoming, to evaluate the restorative capacity of the aquifer downgradient (i.e., hydrologically downstream) of a Uranium ISR mining site with respect to the transport of uranium and other potential contaminants in groundwater after mining has ceased. The study was partially conducted by checking the Uranium content and the alkalinity of separate wells, some wells had been restored and others had not. A map and in-depth procedures of the study are included.

  13. The use of unmanned aerial systems for the mapping of legacy uranium mines.

    PubMed

    Martin, P G; Payton, O D; Fardoulis, J S; Richards, D A; Scott, T B

    2015-05-01

    Historical mining of uranium mineral veins within Cornwall, England, has resulted in a significant amount of legacy radiological contamination spread across numerous long disused mining sites. Factors including the poorly documented and aged condition of these sites as well as the highly localised nature of radioactivity limit the success of traditional survey methods. A newly developed terrain-independent unmanned aerial system [UAS] carrying an integrated gamma radiation mapping unit was used for the radiological characterisation of a single legacy mining site. Using this instrument to produce high-spatial-resolution maps, it was possible to determine the radiologically contaminated land areas and to rapidly identify and quantify the degree of contamination and its isotopic nature. The instrument was demonstrated to be a viable tool for the characterisation of similar sites worldwide. PMID:25771221

  14. Mobile uranium(IV)-bearing colloids in a mining-impacted wetland.

    PubMed

    Wang, Yuheng; Frutschi, Manon; Suvorova, Elena; Phrommavanh, Vannapha; Descostes, Michael; Osman, Alfatih A A; Geipel, Gerhard; Bernier-Latmani, Rizlan

    2013-01-01

    Tetravalent uranium is commonly assumed to form insoluble species, resulting in the immobilization of uranium under reducing conditions. Here we present the first report of mobile U(IV)-bearing colloids in the environment, bringing into question this common assumption. We investigate the mobility of uranium in a mining-impacted wetland in France harbouring uranium concentrations of up to 14,000 p.p.m. As an apparent release of uranium into the stream passing through the wetland was observable, we examine soil and porewater composition as a function of depth to assess the geochemical conditions leading to this release. The analyses show the presence of U(IV) in soil as a non-crystalline species bound to amorphous Al-P-Fe-Si aggregates, and in porewater, as a distinct species associated with Fe and organic matter colloids. These results demonstrate the lability of U(IV) in these soils and its association with mobile porewater colloids that are ultimately released into surface water. PMID:24346245

  15. Detection of uranium in industrial and mines samples by microwave plasma torch mass spectrometry.

    PubMed

    Li, Yi; Yang, Meiling; Sun, Rong; Zhong, Tao; Chen, Huanwen

    2016-02-01

    Microwave plasma torch (MPT), traditionally used as the light source for atomic emission spectrophotometry, has been employed as the ambient ionization source for sensitive detection of uranium in various ground water samples with widely available ion trap mass spectrometer. In the full-scan mass spectra obtained in the negative ion detection mode, uranium signal was featured by the uranyl nitrate complexes (e.g. [UO2 (NO3 )3 ](-) ), which yielded characteristic fragments in the tandem mass spectrometry experiments, allowing confident detection of trace uranium in water samples without sample pretreatment. Under the optimal experimental conditions, the calibration curves were linearly responded within the concentration levels ranged in 10-1000 µg·l(-1) , with the limit of detection (LOD) of 31.03 ng·l(-1) . The relative standard deviations (RSD) values were 2.1-5.8% for the given samples at 100 µg·l(-1) . The newly established method has been applied to direct detection of uranium in practical mine water samples, providing reasonable recoveries 90.94-112.36% for all the samples tested. The analysis of a single sample was completed within 30 s, showing a promising potential of the method for sensitive detection of trace uranium with improved throughput. PMID:26889932

  16. The effect of remediation on water from a former Portuguese uranium mine area

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Neiva, Ana; Carvalho, Paula; Antunes, Isabel; Santos, António; Cabral-Pinto, Marina

    2016-04-01

    The old Senhora das Fontes uranium mine consists of quartz veins containing autunite down to a depth of 40 m. But below, uraninite, Fe-saleeite and black uranium oxides occur in small veinlets or forming elongated nodules. The mine was exploited underground and was closed down in 1971. However, the ores from this mine and two others were treated by the heap-leach process in this area until 1982. Seven dumps containing 33,800 m3 of material were left in the area. The remediation process was carried out from May 2010 to January 2011. During this process, the relocation of the material deposited in dumps took place and was covered with erosion resisting covers. Groundwater and surface water were collected just before the remediation at November of 2009 and February 2010, in the wet season, at the beginning of the remediation, at May and June of 2010, and also after the remediation, at May and June of 2011, in the dry season. Ten wells, four springs and seven streams were chosen to collect water samples. However, some points were occasionally dry and a total of 113 water samples were obtained. The pH of groundwater and surface water was acid-to-alkaline, before, at the beginning and after the remediation, but decreased with the remediation, whereas Eh increased. In general, the uranium concentration was up to 116 μg/L in groundwater and up to 83 μg/L in surface water, before the remediation, in the wet season. The uranium water concentration increased up to 272 μg/L and 183 μg/L in the former and the latter, respectively, at the beginning of the remediation, in the dry season of 2010, due to remobilization of mine dumps and pyrite and chalcopyrite exposures, which caused the pH decrease. However, the uranium concentration decreased in groundwater and surface water at the north part of the mine area, after the remediation, in the dry season of 2011, but increased in both, particularly in groundwater up to 774 μg/L in the south and southwest parts of the area, due

  17. An evaluation of health risk to the public as a consequence of in situ uranium mining in Wyoming, USA.

    PubMed

    Ruedig, Elizabeth; Johnson, Thomas E

    2015-12-01

    In the United States there is considerable public concern regarding the health effects of in situ recovery uranium mining. These concerns focus principally on exposure to contaminants mobilized in groundwater by the mining process. However, the risk arising as a result of mining must be viewed in light of the presence of naturally occurring uranium ore and other constituents which comprise a latent hazard. The United States Environmental Protection Agency recently proposed new guidelines for successful restoration of an in situ uranium mine by limiting concentrations of thirteen groundwater constituents: arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, selenium, silver, nitrate (as nitrogen), molybdenum, radium, total uranium, and gross α activity. We investigated the changes occurring to these constituents at an ISR uranium mine in Wyoming, USA by comparing groundwater quality at baseline measurement to that at stability (post-restoration) testing. Of the groundwater constituents considered, only uranium and radium-226 showed significant (p < 0.05) deviation from site-wide baseline conditions in matched-wells. Uranium concentrations increased by a factor of 5.6 (95% CI 3.6-8.9 times greater) while radium-226 decreased by a factor of about one half (95% CI 0.42-0.75 times less). Change in risk was calculated using the RESRAD (onsite) code for an individual exposed as a resident-farmer; total radiation dose to a resident farmer decreased from pre-to post-mining by about 5.2 mSv y(-1). Higher concentrations of uranium correspond to increased biomarkers of nephrotoxicity, however the clinical significance of this increase is unclear. PMID:26327367

  18. An evaluation of health risk to the public as a consequence of in situ uranium mining in Wyoming, USA

    DOE PAGESBeta

    Ruedig, Elizabeth; Johnson, Thomas E.

    2015-08-30

    In the United States there is considerable public concern regarding the health effects of in situ recovery uranium mining. These concerns focus principally on exposure to contaminants mobilized in groundwater by the mining process. However, the risk arising as a result of mining must be viewed in light of the presence of naturally occurring uranium ore and other constituents which comprise a latent hazard. The United States Environmental Protection Agency recently proposed new guidelines for successful restoration of an in situ uranium mine by limiting concentrations of thirteen groundwater constituents: arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, selenium, silver, nitrate (asmore » nitrogen), molybdenum, radium, total uranium, and gross α activity. We investigated the changes occurring to these constituents at an ISR uranium mine in Wyoming, USA by comparing groundwater quality at baseline measurement to that at stability (post-restoration) testing. Of the groundwater constituents considered, only uranium and radium-226 showed significant (p < 0.05) deviation from site-wide baseline conditions in matched-wells. Uranium concentrations increased by a factor of 5.6 (95% CI 3.6–8.9 times greater) while radium-226 decreased by a factor of about one half (95% CI 0.42–0.75 times less). Change in risk was calculated using the RESRAD (onsite) code for an individual exposed as a resident-farmer; total radiation dose to a resident farmer decreased from pre-to post-mining by about 5.2 mSv y–1. As a result, higher concentrations of uranium correspond to increased biomarkers of nephrotoxicity, however the clinical significance of this increase is unclear.« less

  19. Modeling and experimental validation of the dispersion of 222Rn released from a uranium mine ventilation shaft

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xie, Dong; Wang, Hanqing; Kearfott, Kimberlee J.

    2012-12-01

    Radon (222Rn) found in uranium mine shaft ventilation exhaust gases could pose hazards to the surrounding environment and the public by virtue of its progeny. Radon migration under complex terrain is complicated by pollution source characteristics, geographical features of the dispersion region, meteorological conditions and precipitation. Fluid dynamics computations of 222Rn dispersion are performed for uranium mine shaft exhausts for complex models of the actual physical terrain corresponding to a mine in the Jiangxi Province of China. The eight cases studied included a ventilation shaft source, four downwind velocities (0.5, 1.0, 2.0, 4.0 m s-1) and two underlying surface roughness characteristics (0.1 m, 1.0 m). 222Rn distributions in the vicinity of uranium mine ventilation shaft are computed and compared with field measurements.

  20. Geology of the Shinarump No. 1 uranium mine, Seven Mile Canyon area, Grand County, Utah

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Finch, Warren Irvin

    1953-01-01

    The Shinarump No. 1 uranium mine is located about 12 miles northwest of Moab, Utah, in the Seven Mile Canyon area, Grand County, Utah. A study was made of the geology of the Shinarump No. 1 mine in order to determine the habits, ore controls, and possible origin of the deposit. Rocks of Permain, Triassic, and Jurassic age crop out in the area mapped. Uranium deposits are found in three zones in the lower 25 feet of the Upper Triassic Chinle formation. The Shinarump No. 1 mine, which is in the lowermost zone, is located on the west flank of the Moab anticline near the Moab fault. The Shinarump No. 1 uranium deposit consists of discontinuous lenticular layers of mineralized rock, irregular in outline, that, in general, follow the bedding. Ore minerals, mainly uranite, impregnate the rock. High-grade seams of uranite and chalcocite occur along bedding planes. Formation of unraninite is later than or simultaneous with most sulfides. Chalcocite may be of two ages, with some being later than uraninite. Uraninite and chalcocite are concentrated in the poorer sorted parts of siltstones. Guides to ore in the Seven Mile Canyon area inferred from the study of the Shinarump No. 1 deposit are the presence of bleached siltstone, copper sulfides, and carbonaceous matter. Results of spectrographic analysis indicated that the mineralizing solutions contained important amounts of barium, vanadium, uranium, and copper as well as lesser amounts of strontium, chromium, boron, yttrium, lead, and zinc. The origin of the Shinarump No. 1 deposit is thought to be hydrothermal, dated as later or early.

  1. Evaluation of surface water quality in aquatic bodies under the influence of uranium mining (MG, Brazil).

    PubMed

    Rodgher, Suzelei; de Azevedo, Heliana; Ferrari, Carla Rolim; Roque, Cláudio Vítor; Ronqui, Leilane Barbosa; de Campos, Michelle Burato; Nascimento, Marcos Roberto Lopes

    2013-03-01

    The quality of the water in a uranium-ore-mining area located in Caldas (Minas Gerais State, Brazil) and in a reservoir (Antas reservoir) that receives the neutralized acid solution leaching from the waste heaps generated by uranium mining was investigated. The samples were collected during four periods (October 2008, January, April and July 2009) from six sampling stations. Physical and chemical analyses were performed on the water samples, and the data obtained were compared with those of the Brazilian Environmental Standards and WHO standard. The water samples obtained from waste rock piles showed high uranium concentrations (5.62 mg L(-1)), high manganese values (75 mg L(-1)) and low average pH values (3.4). The evaluation of the water quality at the point considered the limit between the Ore Treatment Unit of the Brazilian Nuclear Industries and the environment (Consulta Creek) indicated contamination by fluoride, manganese, uranium and zinc. The Antas reservoir showed seasonal variations in water quality, with mean concentrations for fluoride (0.50 mg L(-1)), sulfate (16 mg L(-1)) and hardness (20 mg L(-1)) which were low in January, evidencing the effect of rainwater flowing into the system. The concentrations for fluoride, sulfate and manganese were close or above to the limits established by current legislation at the point where the treated mining effluent was discharged and downstream from this point. This study demonstrated that the effluent discharged by the UTM affected the quality of the water in the Antas reservoir, and thus the treatments currently used for effluent need to be reviewed. PMID:22717708

  2. Alteration and arenization processes of granitic waste rock piles from former uranium Mines in Limousin, France.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kanzari, Aisha; Boekhout, Flora; Gérard, Martine; Galoisy, Laurence; Phrommavanh, Vannapha; Descostes, Michael

    2014-05-01

    France counts approximately 200 former uranium mines, 50 of which are located in the Limousin region. Mining activities between 1945 and 2001 have generated close to 200 000 tons of waste rocks in the Limousin, with uranium levels corresponding essentially to the geological background. Waste rock piles from three former mining sites in this region, were selected according to their age, uranium content and petrological signature. These sites are part of the two-mica granitic complex of St Sylvestre massif, formed 324 million years ago. Granitic blocks that build up the waste rock piles have experienced different processes and intensities of alteration before their emplacement at the surface. These processes are responsible for the petrological heterogeneity throughout the waste rock pile at the time of construction. It is important to make a distinction within waste rocks between natural-cut-off waste rocks and economic-cut-off waste rocks. The latter represents a minority and is linked to stock prices. Natural-cut-off waste rocks contain about 20 ppm of uranium; economic-cut-off waste rocks contain about 100 to 300 ppm of uranium. The aims of this study are to 1) assess the neo-formation of U-bearing minerals hosted by these rocks, and 2) to characterize the weathering processes since the construction of the rock piles, including both mechanical and chemical processes. The structure of the waste rocks piles, from metric blocks to boulders of tens centimeters, induces an enhanced weathering rate, compared to a granitic massif. Mechanical fracturing and chemical leaching by rainwater (arenization) of the waste rocks produce a sandy-silty alteration phase. Silty-clay weathering aureoles of submetric-granitic blocks evolving into technic soil are mainly located below growing birch trees. Sampling on the rock piles was restricted to surface rocks. Samples collected consist mainly of granites, and rare lamprophyres with a high radiometric signal, thereby especially

  3. Land application of mine water causes minimal uranium loss offsite in the wet-dry tropics: Ranger Uranium Mine, Northern Territory, Australia.

    PubMed

    Mumtaz, Saqib; Streten, Claire; Parry, David L; McGuinness, Keith A; Lu, Ping; Gibb, Karen S

    2015-11-01

    Ranger Uranium Mine (RUM) is situated in the wet-dry tropics of Northern Australia. Land application (irrigation) of stockpile (ore and waste) runoff water to natural woodland on the mine lease is a key part of water management at the mine. Consequently, the soil in these Land Application Areas (LAAs) presents a range of uranium (U) and other metals concentrations. Knowledge of seasonal and temporal changes in soil U and physicochemical parameters at RUM LAAs is important to develop suitable management and rehabilitation strategies. Therefore, soil samples were collected from low, medium, high and very high U sites at RUM LAAs for two consecutive years and the effect of time and season on soil physicochemical parameters particularly U and other major solutes applied in irrigation water was measured. Concentrations of some of the solutes applied in the irrigation water such as sulphur (S), iron (Fe) and calcium (Ca) showed significant seasonal and temporal changes. Soil S, Fe and Ca concentration decreased from year 1 to year 2 and from dry to wet seasons during both years. Soil U followed the same pattern except that we recorded an increase in soil U concentrations at most of the RUM LAAs after year 2 wet season compared to year 2 dry season. Thus, these sites did not show a considerable decrease in soil U concentration from year 1 to year 2. Sites which contained elevated U after wet season 2 also had higher moisture content which suggests that pooling of U containing rainwater at these sites may be responsible for elevated U. Thus, U may be redistributed within RUM LAAs due to surface water movement. The study also suggested that a decrease in U concentrations in LAA soils at very high U (>900 mg kg(-1)) sites is most likely due to transport of particulate matter bound U by surface runoff and U may not be lost from the surface soil due to vertical movement through the soil profile. Uranium attached to particulate matter may reduce its potential for environmental

  4. Schneeberg lung disease and uranium mining in the Saxon Ore Mountains (Erzgebirge).

    PubMed

    Schüttmann, W

    1993-02-01

    The so-called Schneeberg lung disease is a form of bronchial or alveolar carcinoma caused by the effects of the radioactive gas radon and of its radioactive short half-life daughter products. This type of radiation-induced occupational cancer is the most common and the most important radiation injury among workers occupationally exposed to ionizing radiation. There have been many deaths from lung cancer, especially in the Soviet uranium mines in the Erzgebirge of Saxony in the former German Democratic Republic. The history of disease in these miners extends over five centuries; the first observations of their health hazard start in the Middle Ages. The discovery of the lung cancer component was made toward the end of the nineteenth century, and the suspicion that a connection might exist between this cancer type and exposure to ionizing radiation was voiced at the beginning of the twentieth century. In the first half of this century, further research was carried out on this disease in the Schneeberg area of the Erzgebirge. Before the end of World War II, guidelines were set up to define the acceptable limits of radon exposure in the ore mines of Saxony. After World War II, the American uranium mines in the Colorado Plateau used the German research results as a basis for working out their own radiation protection standard. The uranium mines under Soviet occupation in the former GDR, on the contrary, paid no attention to these research findings. For many years, no precautions were taken for the miners' working conditions. The consequence of this serious omission was an estimated 9,000 fatal cases of lung cancer among these underground miners. High concentrations of radon are to be found in indoor air of homes in some districts of the Erzgebirge, suggesting an increasing lung cancer risk for the local inhabitants. The significance of this finding is evaluated. PMID:8427263

  5. Spatial distribution of environmental risk associated to a uranium abandoned mine (Central Portugal)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Antunes, I. M.; Ribeiro, A. F.

    2012-04-01

    The abandoned uranium mine of Canto do Lagar is located at Arcozelo da Serra, central Portugal. The mine was exploited in an open pit and produced about 12430Kg of uranium oxide (U3O8), between 1987 and 1988. The dominant geological unit is the porphyritic coarse-grained two-mica granite, with biotite>muscovite. The uranium deposit consists of two gaps crushing, parallel to the coarse-grained porphyritic granite, with average direction N30°E, silicified, sericitized and reddish jasperized, with a width of approximately 10 meters. These gaps are accompanied by two thin veins of white quartz, 70°-80° WNW, ferruginous and jasperized with chalcedony, red jasper and opal. These veins are about 6 meters away from each other. They contain secondary U-phosphates phases such as autunite and torbernite. Rejected materials (1000000ton) were deposited on two dumps and a lake was formed in the open pit. To assess the environmental risk of the abandoned uranium mine of Canto do Lagar, were collected and analysed 70 samples on stream sediments, soils and mine tailings materials. The relation between samples composition were tested using the Principal Components Analysis (PCA) (multivariate analysis) and spatial distribution using Kriging Indicator. The spatial distribution of stream sediments shows that the probability of expression for principal component 1 (explaining Y, Zr, Nb, La, Ce, Pr, Nd, Sm, Eu, Gd, Tb, Dy, Ho, Er, Tm, Yb, Hf, Th and U contents), decreases along SE-NW direction. This component is explained by the samples located inside mine influence. The probability of expression for principal component 2 (explaining Be, Na, Al, Si, P, K, Ca, Ti, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, As, Rb, Sr, Mo, Cs, Ba, Tl and Bi contents), increases to middle stream line. This component is explained by the samples located outside mine influence. The spatial distribution of soils, shows that the probability of expression for principal component 1 (explaining Mg, P, Ca, Ge, Sr, Y, Zr, La, Ce, Pr

  6. U.S. Department of Energy Office of Legacy Management Legacy Uranium Mine Site Reclamation - Lessons Learned - 12384

    SciTech Connect

    Kilpatrick, Laura E.; Cotter, Ed

    2012-07-01

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Legacy Management is responsible for administering the DOE Uranium Leasing Program (ULP) and its 31 uranium lease tracts located in the Uravan Mineral Belt of southwestern Colorado (see Figure 1). In addition to administering the ULP for the last six decades, DOE has also undertaken the significant task of reclaiming a large number of abandoned uranium (legacy) mine sites and associated features located throughout the Uravan Mineral Belt. In 1995, DOE initiated a 3-year reconnaissance program to locate and delineate (through extensive on-the-ground mapping) the legacy mine sites and associated features contained within the historically defined boundaries of its uranium lease tracts. During that same time frame, DOE recognized the lack of regulations pertaining to the reclamation of legacy mine sites and contacted the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) concerning the reclamation of legacy mine sites. In November 1995, The BLM Colorado State Office formally issued the United States Department of the Interior, Colorado Bureau of Land Management, Closure/Reclamation Guidelines, Abandoned Uranium Mine Sites as a supplement to its Solid Minerals Reclamation Handbook (H-3042-1). Over the next five-and-one-half years, DOE reclaimed the 161 legacy mine sites that had been identified on DOE withdrawn lands. By the late 1990's, the various BLM field offices in southwestern Colorado began to recognize DOE's experience and expertise in reclaiming legacy mine sites. During the ensuing 8 years, BLM funded DOE (through a series of task orders) to perform reclamation activities at 182 BLM mine sites. To date, DOE has reclaimed 372 separate and distinct legacy mine sites. During this process, DOE has learned many lessons and is willing to share those lessons with others in the reclamation industry because there are still many legacy mine sites not yet reclaimed. DOE currently administers 31 lease tracts (11,017 ha) that collectively

  7. Radon and remediation measures near Băiţa-Ştei old uranium mine (Romania)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cosma, Constantin; Cucoş, Alexandra; Papp, Botond; Begy, Robert; Dicu, Tiberiu; Moldovan, Mircea; Truţă, Lucia; Niţă, Dan; Burghele, Bety-Denissa; Suciu, Liviu; Sainz, Carlos

    2013-08-01

    Băiţa-Ştei mine is an open pit mine in NW Romania (West Carpathian Mountains). It was the largest surface uranium deposit in the world. Two means of uranium transport and dissemination were used over time. The first was the natural way, represented by transportation of geological sediments by Crişul-Băiţa River that crosses the Băiţa surface deposit. These sediments were used as building materials (stone, gravel, sand). The second way was related to the people living in this valley, who used also the uranium waste as building material. The preliminary indoor radon concentrations measured in the buildings ranged from 40 to 4000 Bq m-3 with a mean value of 241 Bq m-3. A focused radon survey facilitated the selection of 20 houses with the highest indoor radon that were therefore proposed for remediation. To find the radon sources of these houses, systematic investigations on radon were performed. The remedial measures for these 20 houses were tested on a chosen pilot house.

  8. The future of Yellowcake: a global assessment of uranium resources and mining.

    PubMed

    Mudd, Gavin M

    2014-02-15

    Uranium (U) mining remains controversial in many parts of the world, especially in a post-Fukushima context, and often in areas with significant U resources. Although nuclear proponents point to the relatively low carbon intensity of nuclear power compared to fossil fuels, opponents argue that this will be eroded in the future as ore grades decline and energy and greenhouse gas emissions (GGEs) intensity increases as a result. Invariably both sides fail to make use of the increasingly available data reported by some U mines through sustainability reporting - allowing a comprehensive assessment of recent trends in the energy and GGE intensity of U production, as well as combining this with reported mineral resources to allow more comprehensive modelling of future energy and GGEs intensity. In this study, detailed data sets are compiled on reported U resources by deposit type, as well as mine production, energy and GGE intensity. Some important aspects included are the relationship between ore grade, deposit type and recovery, which are crucial in future projections of U mining. Overall, the paper demonstrates that there are extensive U resources known to meet potential short to medium term demand, although the future of U mining remains uncertain due to the doubt about the future of nuclear power as well as a range of complex social, environmental, economic and some site-specific technical issues. PMID:24317167

  9. Selenium in a Wyoming grassland community receiving wastewater from an in situ uranium mine.

    PubMed

    Ramirez, P; Rogers, B P

    2002-05-01

    Water, soil, vegetation, grasshoppers, bird eggs, and bird livers collected at a 23.5-ha (58 acres) grassland irrigated with wastewater from an in situ uranium mine (study area) and a reference site in 1998 were analyzed for selenium and other trace elements. Selenium concentrations in the uranium mine wastewater applied onto the grassland ranged from 340 to 450 microg/L. Selenium in the upper 15 cm (6 in) of soil from the irrigated grassland at the mine ranged from 2.6 to 4.2 microg/g dry weight (DW). Mean selenium concentrations in soil and water were 5 and 15 times higher at the study area than at the reference site. Selenium concentrations in grasses and grasshoppers ranged from 6.8 to 24 microg/g and 11 to 20 microg/g DW, respectively. Selenium in red-winged blackbird eggs and livers collected from the study area ranged from 13.2 to 22 microg/g and 33 to 53 microg/g DW, respectively, and concentrations were well in excess of toxic thresholds. Mean selenium concentrations in grasses, grasshoppers, and bird eggs and livers were 5.8 to 30 times higher at the study area than at the reference site. Elevated selenium concentrations in water, soil, grasshoppers, and red-winged blackbird eggs and livers collected from the study area demonstrate that selenium is being mobilized and is bioaccumulating in the food chain. PMID:11994784

  10. Geology of the Midnite uranium mine, Stevens County, Washington; a preliminary report

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nash, J. Thomas; Lehrman, Norman J.

    1975-01-01

    The Midnite mine is one of only two mines in the United States currently producing uranium from discordant deposits in crystalline host rocks. Ore bodies are in metamorphosed steeply dipping Precambrian pelitic and calcareous rocks of a roof pendant adjacent to a Cretaceous(?) porphyritic quartz monzonite pluton. Production during 14 years, of operation has been about 8 million pounds of U3O8 from oxidized and reduced ores averaging 0.23 percent U3O8. Uranium deposits are generally tabular in form and dimensions range up to 380 m long, 210 m wide, and 50 m thick. Deposits are bounded on at least one side by unmineralized intrusive ribs of granitic rock, and thickest mineralized zones invariably occur at depressions in the intrusive contact. Upper limits of some deposits are nearly horizontal, and upper elevations of adjacent mineralized zones separated by ribs of granite are similar. Near surface ore is predominantly autunite, but ore at depth consists of pitchblende and coffinite with abundant pyrite and marcasite. Uranium minerals occur as .disseminations along foliation, replacements, and stockwork fracture-fillings. No stratigraphic controls on ore deposition are recognized. Rather, mineralized zones cut across lithologic boundaries if permeability is adequate. Most ore is in muscovite schist and mica phyllite, but important deposits occur in calc-silicate hornfels. Amphibolite sills and mid-Tertiary dacite dikes locally, carry ore where intensely fractured. High content of iron and sulfur, contained chiefly in FeS2, appear to be an important feature of favorable host rocks. Geometry of deposits, structural, and geochemical features suggest that uranium minerals were deposited over a span of time from late Cretaceous to late Tertiary. Ore occurs in but is not offset by a shear zone that displaces mid-Tertiary rocks.. Economic zones of uranium are interpreted to have been secondarily enriched in late Tertiary time by downward and lateral migration of uranium

  11. Evolution of uranium distribution and speciation in mill tailings, COMINAK Mine, Niger.

    PubMed

    Déjeant, Adrien; Galoisy, Laurence; Roy, Régis; Calas, Georges; Boekhout, Flora; Phrommavanh, Vannapha; Descostes, Michael

    2016-03-01

    This study investigated the evolution of uranium distribution and speciation in mill tailings from the COMINAK mine (Niger), in production since 1978. A multi-scale approach was used, which combined high resolution remote sensing imagery, ICP-MS bulk rock analyses, powder X-ray diffraction, Scanning Electron Microscopy, Focused Ion Beam--Transmission Electron Microscopy and X-ray Absorption Near Edge Spectroscopy. Mineralogical analyses showed that some ore minerals, including residual uraninite and coffinite, undergo alteration and dissolution during tailings storage. The migration of uranium and other contaminants depends on (i) the chemical stability of secondary phases and sorbed species (dissolution and desorption processes), and (ii) the mechanical transport of fine particles bearing these elements. Uranium is stabilized after formation of secondary uranyl sulfates and phosphates, and adsorbed complexes on mineral surfaces (e.g. clay minerals). In particular, the stock of insoluble uranyl phosphates increases with time, thus contributing to the long-term stabilization of uranium. At the surface, a sulfate-cemented duricrust is formed after evaporation of pore water. This duricrust limits water infiltration and dust aerial dispersion, though it is enriched in uranium and many other elements, because of pore water rising from underlying levels by capillary action. Satellite images provided a detailed description of the tailings pile over time and allow monitoring of the chronology of successive tailings deposits. Satellite images suggest that uranium anomalies that occur at deep levels in the pile are most likely former surface duricrusts that have been buried under more recent tailings. PMID:26747998

  12. Assessment of contamination of the Issyk-Kul' valley natural waters with uranium mine wastes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Palesski, S. V.; Nikolaeva, I. V.; Saprykin, A. I.; Gavshin, V. M.

    2003-05-01

    The Lake Issyk-Kul' of the central Tyan-Shan is characterized by increased natural uranium content. Uranium-carbon deposit situated on the southern bank of the Lake can be the reason of chemical and radioactive contamination of this unique basin by exploitation wastes. ln order to estimate possible danger, a project “Assessment and prognosis of environmental changes in Lake Issyk-Kul' (Kyrghyzstan)” was developed and supported by the Program ofthe European Commission “Copernicus-2” (2001-2003). According to this project the water assays were sampled from different depths near the banks of the Lake and from low-debit sources draining the dumping grounds of the uranium-carbon deposit. Elemental and isotopic examinations of these water samples were performed using an ELEMENT HR-ICP-MS (Finnigan Mat). The results obtained are the evidence that the ecological status of the Lake Issyk-Kul'is not damaged at present. Wastewaters from the uranium-carbon mine do not make decisive contribution into the natural radioactive background.

  13. Geology and geochemistry of the pitch uranium mine area, Saguache County, Colorado

    SciTech Connect

    Nash, J.T.

    1988-01-01

    This book discusses uranium ore in the Pitch Mine which occurs chiefly in brecciated Mississippian Leadville Dolomite along the Chester Fault and to a lesser extent in the Pennsylvania Belden Formation and in Precambrian granitic rocks and schist. Strong physical control by dolomite is evident, as this is the only rock type that is prevasively brecciated within the fault slices. Other rocks tended either to remain unbroken or to undergo ductile deformation. Chemical analyses of 116 rock and ore samples demonstrate that ore-bearing dolomites are significantly enriched in iron, potassium, sulfur, molybdenum, copper, and nickel. Chemical controls on uranium deposition are subtle and appear chiefly to involve coprecipitation of iron sulfide (pyrite and marcasite) with pitchblende and coffinite, suggesting that sulfide ion may be the reductant.

  14. Radio-Ecological Conditions of Groundwater in the Area of Uranium Mining and Milling Facility - 13525

    SciTech Connect

    Titov, A.V.; Semenova, M.P.; Seregin, V.A.; Isaev, D.V.; Metlyaev, E.G.; Glagolev, A.V.; Klimova, T.I.; Sevtinova, E.B.; Zolotukhina, S.B.; Zhuravleva, L.A.

    2013-07-01

    Manmade chemical and radioactive contamination of groundwater is one of damaging effects of the uranium mining and milling facilities. Groundwater contamination is of special importance for the area of Priargun Production Mining and Chemical Association, JSC 'PPMCA', because groundwater is the only source of drinking water. The paper describes natural conditions of the site, provides information on changes of near-surface area since the beginning of the company, illustrates the main trends of contaminators migration and assesses manmade impact on the quality and mode of near-surface and ground waters. The paper also provides the results of chemical and radioactive measurements in groundwater at various distances from the sources of manmade contamination to the drinking water supply areas. We show that development of deposits, mine water discharge, leakages from tailing dams and cinder storage facility changed general hydro-chemical balance of the area, contributed to new (overlaid) aureoles and flows of scattering paragenetic uranium elements, which are much smaller in comparison with natural ones. However, increasing flow of groundwater stream at the mouth of Sukhoi Urulyungui due to technological water infiltration, mixing of natural water with filtration streams from industrial reservoirs and sites, containing elevated (relative to natural background) levels of sulfate-, hydro-carbonate and carbonate- ions, led to the development and moving of the uranium contamination aureole from the undeveloped field 'Polevoye' to the water inlet area. The aureole front crossed the southern border of water inlet of drinking purpose. The qualitative composition of groundwater, especially in the southern part of water inlet, steadily changes for the worse. The current Russian intervention levels of gross alpha activity and of some natural radionuclides including {sup 222}Rn are in excess in drinking water; regulations for fluorine and manganese concentrations are also in excess

  15. Radon emanation from low-grade uranium ore.

    PubMed

    Sahu, Patitapaban; Mishra, Devi Prasad; Panigrahi, Durga Charan; Jha, Vivekanand; Patnaik, R Lokeswara

    2013-12-01

    Estimation of radon emanation in uranium mines is given top priority to minimize the risk of inhalation exposure due to short-lived radon progeny. This paper describes the radon emanation studies conducted in the laboratory as well as inside an operating underground uranium mine at Jaduguda, India. Some of the important parameters, such as grade/(226)Ra activity, moisture content, bulk density, porosity and emanation fraction of ore, governing the migration of radon through the ore were determined. Emanation from the ore samples in terms of emanation rate and emanation fraction was measured in the laboratory under airtight condition in glass jar. The in situ radon emanation rate inside the mine was measured from drill holes made in the ore body. The in situ(222)Rn emanation rate from the mine walls varied in the range of 0.22-51.84 × 10(-3) Bq m(-2) s(-1) with the geometric mean of 8.68 × 10(-3) Bq m(-2) s(-1). A significant positive linear correlation (r = 0.99, p < 0.001) between in situ(222)Rn emanation rate and the ore grade was observed. The emanation fraction of the ore samples, which varied in the range of 0.004-0.089 with mean value of 0.025 ± 0.02, showed poor correlation with ore grade and porosity. Empirical relationships between radon emanation rate and the ore grade/(226)Ra were also established for quick prediction of radon emanation rate from the ore body. PMID:23974076

  16. A soil radiological quality guideline value for wildlife-based protection in uranium mine rehabilitation.

    PubMed

    Doering, Che; Bollhöfer, Andreas

    2016-01-01

    A soil guideline value for radiological protection of the environment was determined for the impending rehabilitation of Ranger uranium mine in the wet-dry tropics of northern Australia. The guideline value was 1000 Bq kg(-1) of (226)Ra in the proposed waste rock substrate of the rehabilitated landform and corresponded to an above-baseline dose rate of 100 μGy h(-1) to the most highly exposed individuals of the limiting organism. The limiting organism was reptile based on an assessment using site-specific concentration ratio data. PMID:26350640

  17. Impact of uranium mining activity on cave deposit (stalagmite) and pine trees (S-Hungary)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Siklosy, Z.; Kern, Z.; Demeny, A.; Pilet, S.; Leel-Ossy, Sz.; Lin, K.; Shen, C.-C.; Szeles, E.

    2009-04-01

    Speleothems are well known paleoclimate archives but their potential for monitoring environmental pollution has not been fully explored. This study deals with an actively growing stalagmite whose trace-element concentration suggests anthropogenic contamination, rather then natural forcing. Paralell, as a potential independent chemo-enviromental archive, living pine (Pinus sylvestis) trees were also involved into investigation. U production in S-Hungary started in 1957 and was expanded closer to the cave site in 1965, covering a mining plot area of ca. 65 km2. The deep-level ore production ended in 1997 and remediation of the mine site has since been completed. Our objective was to determine the possible effect of the four-decade-long uranium (U) ore mining activity on the environment, as recorded by a cave deposit and the pine trees. The Trio Cave is located in the Mecsek Mts (S-Hungary), ca. 1.5-3 km east from the nearest air-shaft and entrance of the uranium mine. A stalagmite located about 150 m away from the cave entrance was drilled and the core investigated for stable isotope and trace element compositions. Pine trees were sampled by increment borer. Continuous flow mass spectrometry was applied on carbonate samples and laser ablation ICP-MS was applied for trace element analysis of both stalagmite (Siklosy et al., 2009) and pine samples. The youngest 1 cm of the drill core was selected for this study that may represent the last cca. 100 years (based on MC-ICP-MS age dating of older parts of the core) that covers the uranium mining period. The pre-mining period is characterized by systematic co-variations of trace elements (U, P, Si, Al, Ba, Mg, etc.) that can be related to soil activity and precipitation amount. The youngest 1.3 mm, however, records a sudden change in U content uncorrelated with any other variables. Starting from a background value of 0.2-0.3 ppm, the concentration gradually increases to about 2 ppm (within about 1 mm), remains constant for

  18. Phylogenetic Diversity of Archaea and the Archaeal Ammonia Monooxygenase Gene in Uranium Mining-Impacted Locations in Bulgaria

    PubMed Central

    Radeva, Galina; Kenarova, Anelia; Bachvarova, Velina; Popov, Ivan; Selenska-Pobell, Sonja

    2014-01-01

    Uranium mining and milling activities adversely affect the microbial populations of impacted sites. The negative effects of uranium on soil bacteria and fungi are well studied, but little is known about the effects of radionuclides and heavy metals on archaea. The composition and diversity of archaeal communities inhabiting the waste pile of the Sliven uranium mine and the soil of the Buhovo uranium mine were investigated using 16S rRNA gene retrieval. A total of 355 archaeal clones were selected, and their 16S rDNA inserts were analysed by restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) discriminating 14 different RFLP types. All evaluated archaeal 16S rRNA gene sequences belong to the 1.1b/Nitrososphaera cluster of Crenarchaeota. The composition of the archaeal community is distinct for each site of interest and dependent on environmental characteristics, including pollution levels. Since the members of 1.1b/Nitrososphaera cluster have been implicated in the nitrogen cycle, the archaeal communities from these sites were probed for the presence of the ammonia monooxygenase gene (amoA). Our data indicate that amoA gene sequences are distributed in a similar manner as in Crenarchaeota, suggesting that archaeal nitrification processes in uranium mining-impacted locations are under the control of the same key factors controlling archaeal diversity. PMID:24711725

  19. A top-down assessment of energy, water and land use in uranium mining, milling, and refining

    SciTech Connect

    E. Schneider; B. Carlsen; E. Tavrides; C. van der Hoeven; U. Phathanapirom

    2013-11-01

    Land, water and energy use are key measures of the sustainability of uranium production into the future. As the most attractive, accessible deposits are mined out, future discoveries may prove to be significantly, perhaps unsustainably, more intensive consumers of environmental resources. A number of previous attempts have been made to provide empirical relationships connecting these environmental impact metrics to process variables such as stripping ratio and ore grade. These earlier attempts were often constrained by a lack of real world data and perform poorly when compared against data from modern operations. This paper conditions new empirical models of energy, water and land use in uranium mining, milling, and refining on contemporary data reported by operating mines. It shows that, at present, direct energy use from uranium production represents less than 1% of the electrical energy produced by the once-through fuel cycle. Projections of future energy intensity from uranium production are also possible by coupling the empirical models with estimates of uranium crustal abundance, characteristics of new discoveries, and demand. The projections show that even for the most pessimistic of scenarios considered, by 2100, the direct energy use from uranium production represents less than 3% of the electrical energy produced by the contemporary once-through fuel cycle.

  20. Hydrology and water-quality monitoring considerations, Jackpile uranium mine, northwestern New Mexico

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Zehner, H.H.

    1985-01-01

    The Jackpile Uranium Mine, which is on the Pueblo of Laguna in northwestern New Mexico, was operated from 1953 to 1980. The mine and facilities have affected 3,141 acres of land, and about 2,656 acres were yet to be reclaimed by late 1980. The intended use of the restored land is stock grazing. Fractured Dakota Sandstone and Mancos Shale of Cretaceous age overlie the Jackpile sandstone and a 200-ft-thick tight mudstone unit of the Brushy Basin Member underlies the Jackpile. The hydraulic conductivity of the Jackpile sandstone probably is about 0.3 ft/day. The small storage coefficients determined from three aquifer tests indicate that the Jackpile sandstone is a confined hydrologic system throughout much of the mine area. Sediment from the Rio Paguate has nearly filled the Paguate Reservoir near Laguna since its construction in 1940. The mean concentrations of uranium, Ra-226, and other trace elements generally were less than permissible limits established in national drinking water regulations or New Mexico State groundwater regulations. No individual surface water samples collected upstream from the mine contained concentrations of Ra-226 in excess of the permissible limits. Ra-226 concentrations in many individual samples collected from the Rio Paguate from near the mouth of the Rio Moquino to the sampling sites along the downstream reach of the Rio Paguate, however, exceeded the recommended permissible concentration of Ra-226 for public drinking water supplies. Concentrations in surface water apparently are changed by groundwater inflow near the confluence of the two streams. The altitude of the water tables in the backfill of the pits will be controlled partly by the water level in the Rio Paguate. Other factors controlling the altitudes of the water tables are the recharge rate to the backfill and the hydraulic conductivities of the backfill, alluvium, Jackpile sandstone, and mudstone unit of the Brushy Basin Member. After reclamation, most of the shallow

  1. Regulatory Oversight of the Legacy Gunner Uranium Mine and Mill Site in Northern Saskatchewan, Canada - 13434

    SciTech Connect

    Stenson, Ron; Howard, Don

    2013-07-01

    As Canada's nuclear regulator, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) is responsible for licensing all aspects of uranium mining, including remediation activities at legacy sites. Since these sites already existed when the current legislation came into force in 2000, and the previous legislation did not apply, they present a special case. The Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA), was written with cradle-to- grave oversight in mind. Applying the NSCA at the end of a 'facilities' life-cycle poses some challenges to both the regulator and the proponent. When the proponent is the public sector, even more challenges can present themselves. Although the licensing process for legacy sites is no different than for any other CNSC license, assuring regulatory compliance can be more complicated. To demonstrate how the CNSC has approached the oversight of legacy sites the history of the Commission's involvement with the Gunnar uranium mine and mill site provides a good case study. The lessons learned from the CNSC's experience regulating the Gunnar site will benefit those in the future who will need to regulate legacy sites under existing or new legislation. (authors)

  2. Radioecological characterization of a uranium mining site located in a semi-arid region in Brazil.

    PubMed

    Fernandes, Horst M; Lamego Simoes Filho, F Fernando; Perez, Valeska; Franklin, Mariza Ramalho; Gomiero, Luiz Alberto

    2006-01-01

    The work presents the radioecological characterization of the new Brazilian uranium mining and milling site located in a semi-arid region of the country. The process characterization demonstrated that in heap leach plants most of the 226Ra remains in the leached ore. Despite the potential higher availability of radium isotopes in the soils of the studied region the lack of precipitation in that area reduces the leaching/mobilization of the radionuclides. High 226Ra and 228Ra concentrations were found in manioc while 210Pb was significant in pasture. It was suggested that a range from 10(-3) to 10(-1) may conveniently encompass most of the transfer factors (TF) values for soil/plant systems (i.e. involving different cultures, different soils and natural radionuclides). Impacts due to aerial transportation of aerosols and radon generated in the mining were proved to be minimal and restricted to an area not greater than 15 km2. Finally, uranium complexation by carbonates was shown to be the main mechanism responding for the elevated radionuclide concentration in groundwater. PMID:16545512

  3. U-Pb isotope systematics and age of uranium mineralization, Midnite mine, Washington.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ludwig, K. R.; Nash, J.T.; Naeser, C.W.

    1981-01-01

    Uranium ores at the Midnite mine, near Spokane, Washington, occur in phyllites and calcsilicates of the Proterozoic Togo Formation, near the margins of an anomalously uraniferous, porphyritic quartz monzonite of Late Cretaceous age. The present geometry of the ore zones is tabular, with the thickest zones above depressions in the pluton-country rock contact. Analyses of high-grade ores from the mine define a 207 Pb/ 204 Pb- 235 U/ 204 Pb isochron indicating an age of mineralization of 51.0 + or - 0.5 m.y. This age coincides with a time of regional volcanic activity (Sanpoil Volcanics), shallow intrusive activity, erosion, and faulting. U-Th-Pb isotopic ages of zircons from the porphyritic quartz monzonite in the mine indicate an age of about 75 m.y., hence the present orebodies were formed about 24 m.y. after its intrusion. The 51-m.y. time of mineralization probably represents a period of mobilization and redeposition of uranium by supergene ground waters, perhaps aided by mild heating and ground preparation and preserved by a capping of newly accumulated, impermeable volcanic rocks. It seems most likely that the initial concentration of uranium occurred about 75 m.y. ago, probably from relatively mild hydrothermal fluids in the contact-metamorphic aureole of the U-rich porphyritic quartz monzonite.Pitchblende, coffinitc, pyrite, marcasite, and hisingerite are the most common minerals in the uranium-bearing veinlets, with minor sphalerite and chalcopyrite. Coffinitc with associated marcasite is paragenetically later than pitchblende, though textural and isotopic evidence suggests no large difference in the times of pitchblende and colfinite formation.The U-Pb isotope systematics of total ores and of pitchblende-coffinite and pyrite-marcasite separates show that whereas open system behavior for U and Pb is essentially negligible for large (200-500 g) ore samples, Pb migration has occurred on a scale of 1 to 10 mm (out of pitchblende and coffinite and into pyrite

  4. Bioaccessibility of U, Th and Pb in particulate matter from an abandoned uranium mine

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Millward, Geoffrey; Foulkes, Michael; Henderson, Sam; Blake, William

    2016-04-01

    Currently, there are approximately 150 uranium mines in Europe at various stages of either operation, development, decommissioning, restoration or abandonment (wise-uranium.com). The particulate matter comprising the mounds of waste rock and mill tailings poses a risk to human health through the inadvertent ingestion of particles contaminated with uranium and thorium, and their decay products, which exposes recipients to the dual toxicity of heavy elements and their radioactive emissions. We investigated the bioaccessibility of 238U, 232Th and 206,214,210Pb in particulate samples taken from a contaminated, abandoned uranium mine in South West England. Sampling included a mine shaft, dressing floor and waste heap, as well as soils from a field used for grazing. The contaminants were extracted using the in-vitro Unified Bioaccessibility Research Group of Europe Method (UBM) in order to mimic the digestion processes in the human stomach (STOM) and the combined stomach and gastrointestinal tract (STOM+INT). Analyses of concentrations of U, Th and Pb in the extracts were by ICP-MS and the activity concentrations of radionuclides were determined on the same particles, before and after extraction, using gamma spectroscopy. 'Total' concentrations of U, Th and Pb for all samples were in the range 57 to 16,200, 0.28 to 3.8 and 69 to 4750 mg kg‑1, respectively. For U and Pb the concentrations in the STOM fraction were lower than the total and STOM+INT fractions were even lower. However, for Th the STOM+INT fractions were higher than the STOM due to the presence of Th carbonate species within the gastrointestinal fluid. Activity concentrations for 214Pb and 210Pb, including total, STOM and STOM+INT, were in the range 180 to <1 Bq g‑1 for the dressing floor and waste heap and 18 to <1 Bq g‑1 for the grazing land. Estimates of the bioaccessible fractions (BAFs) of 238U in the most contaminated samples were 39% and 8% in the STOM and STOM+INT, respectively, whereas the

  5. The New Generation of Uranium In Situ Recovery Facilities: Design Improvements Should Reduce Radiological Impacts Relative to First Generation Uranium Solution Mining Plants

    SciTech Connect

    Brown, S.H.

    2008-07-01

    In the last few years, there has been a significant increase in the demand for Uranium as historical inventories have been consumed and new reactor orders are being placed. Numerous mineralized properties around the world are being evaluated for Uranium recovery and new mining / milling projects are being evaluated and developed. Ore bodies which are considered uneconomical to mine by conventional methods such as tunneling or open pits, can be candidates for non-conventional recovery techniques, involving considerably less capital expenditure. Technologies such as Uranium In Situ Leaching / In Situ Recovery (ISL / ISR - also referred to as 'solution mining'), have enabled commercial scale mining and milling of relatively small ore pockets of lower grade, and are expected to make a significant contribution to overall world wide uranium supplies over the next ten years. Commercial size solution mining production facilities have operated in the US since the mid 1970's. However, current designs are expected to result in less radiological wastes and emissions relative to these 'first' generation plants (which were designed, constructed and operated through the 1980's). These early designs typically used alkaline leach chemistries in situ including use of ammonium carbonate which resulted in groundwater restoration challenges, open to air recovery vessels and high temperature calcining systems for final product drying vs the 'zero emissions' vacuum dryers as typically used today. Improved containment, automation and instrumentation control and use of vacuum dryers in the design of current generation plants are expected to reduce production of secondary waste byproduct material, reduce Radon emissions and reduce potential for employee exposure to uranium concentrate aerosols at the back end of the milling process. In Situ Recovery in the U.S. typically involves the circulation of groundwater, fortified with oxidizing (gaseous oxygen e.g) and complexing agents (carbon

  6. Mineralogical and microtextural characterization of ``gel-zircon`` from the Manibay uranium mine, Kazakhstan

    SciTech Connect

    Helean, K.B.; Ewing, R.C.; Burakov, B.E.; Anderson, E.B.; Strykanova, E.E.; Ushakov, S.V.

    1997-12-31

    Gel-zircon, an unusual Zr-silicate phase from the Manibay uranium mine, northern Kazakhstan, was studied using X-ray diffraction (XRD), electron microprobe energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) and high resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM). XRD results indicate that gel-zircon is mostly amorphous and occurs with numerous impurity phases. Microprobe EDS results indicate a UO{sub 2} content up to 9.14 wt.% HRTEM images revealed that the microtexture of gel-zircon consists of nanocrystallites of zircon, 2--10 nm in size, in a dominantly amorphous matrix. Despite the U-Pb age of 420 {+-} 25 my and the lack of significant crystallinity, the gel-zircon is an apparently chemically durable phase. Leaching of uranium ores which contain gel-zircon as the major U-bearing phase is impossible using existing uranium plant technologies. The alpha-decay dose, 2.64 displacements per atom (dpa), corresponding to the age of gel-zircon is much higher than that (0.5 dpa) required to cause metamictization of crystalline zircon. However, the morphology of gel-zircon which occurs as veins up to 5 mm thick and tens of mm long does not indicate initial crystallinity. Initially crystalline natural zircons often preserve their crystal morphology after metamictization. This amorphous phase is analogous to the highly damaged state characteristic of zircon proposed as a waste form for the disposition of excess weapons plutonium.

  7. Radioactivity in Virgin Soils and Soils from Some Areas with Closed Uranium Mining Facilities in Bulgaria

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yordanova, I.; Staneva, D.; Misheva, L.; Bineva, Ts.; Banov, M.

    2012-04-01

    The soil radioecology is an important part of the environmental research in the country. Since the beginning of the 1970's regular monitoring of the content of different radionuclides in Bulgarian soils has been done. Objective of the studies were virgin soils from high mountain areas, hills and plains (the region of Kozloduy NPP and the Danube river valley). Natural and men-made radionuclides were observed. In the 25-year period after the the contamination with radionuclides due to the 1986 Chernobyl NPP accident a rich data base has been collected, recording the radiation status of the soils in Bulgaria. Special attention has been paid to the contamination with the long-lived technogenic radionuclides caesium-137 and strontium-90. This paper presents a summary of the obtained results. Caesium-137 and strontium-90 were the main men-made radionuclides detected in the examined Bulgarian soils few years after the Chernobyl NPP accident. Their content in the soils from high mountain areas (Rodopa and Rila mountains) is several times higher than that in the soils from North Bulgaria and Sofia fields. High non-homogenity in the pollution within small areas (even as small as several square meters) has been observed. Natural radioactivity was also studied. Averaged values for natural radionuclides like uranium-238, thorium-232, and radium-226 in virgin soils from different areas in the country are presented. A comparison of the dynamics of their behavior throughout the years is done. Bulgaria is a country with intensive uranium mining activities in the past years. That is why radiological monitoring of closed uranium mining facilities in different regions of the country are obligatory and of great interest. This work presents results from such investigations made in regions where remediation has been done. The results have been evaluated according to the Bulgarian radionuclide environment contamination legislation. The necessity of permanent environmental monitoring is

  8. Uranium aqueous speciation in the vicinity of the former uranium mining sites using the diffusive gradients in thin films and ultrafiltration techniques.

    PubMed

    Drozdzak, Jagoda; Leermakers, Martine; Gao, Yue; Elskens, Marc; Phrommavanh, Vannapha; Descostes, Michael

    2016-03-24

    The performance of the Diffusive Gradients in Thin films (DGT) technique with Chelex(®)-100, Metsorb™ and Diphonix(®) as binding phases was evaluated in the vicinity of the former uranium mining sites of Chardon and L'Ecarpière (Loire-Atlantique department in western France). This is the first time that the DGT technique with three different binding agents was employed for the aqueous U determination in the context of uranium mining environments. The fractionation and speciation of uranium were investigated using a multi-methodological approach using filtration (0.45 μm, 0.2 μm), ultrafiltration (500 kDa, 100 kDa and 10 kDa) coupled to geochemical speciation modelling (PhreeQC) and the DGT technique. The ultrafiltration data showed that at each sampling point uranium was present mostly in the 10 kDa truly dissolved fraction and the geochemical modelling speciation calculations indicated that U speciation was markedly predominated by CaUO2(CO3)3(2-). In natural waters, no significant difference was observed in terms of U uptake between Chelex(®)-100 and Metsorb™, while similar or inferior U uptake was observed on Diphonix(®) resin. In turn, at mining influenced sampling spots, the U accumulation on DGT-Diphonix(®) was higher than on DGT-Chelex(®)-100 and DGT-Metsorb™, probably because their performance was disturbed by the extreme composition of the mining waters. The use of Diphonix(®) resin leads to a significant advance in the application and development of the DGT technique for determination of U in mining influenced environments. This investigation demonstrated that such multi-technique approach provides a better picture of U speciation and enables to assess more accurately the potentially bioavailable U pool. PMID:26944993

  9. Heavy metal geochemistry of the acid mine drainage discharged from the Hejiacun uranium mine in central Hunan, China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peng, Bo; Tang, Xiaoyan; Yu, Changxun; Xie, Shurong; Xiao, Meilian; Song, Zhi; Tu, Xianglin

    2009-03-01

    The acid mine drainage (AMD) discharged from the Hejiacun uranium mine in central Hunan (China) was sampled and analyzed using ICP-MS techniques. The analyzing results show that the AMD is characterized by the major ions FeTotal, Mn, Al and Si, and is concentrated with heavy metals and metalloids including Cd, Co, Ni, Zn, U, Cu, Pb, Tl, V, Cr, Se, As and Sb. During the AMD flowing downstream, the dissolved heavy metals were removed from the AMD waters through adsorption onto and co-precipitation with metal-oxhydroxides coated on the streambed. Among these metals, Cd, Co, Ni, Zn, U, Cu, Pb and Tl are negatively correlated to pH values, and positively correlated to major ions Fe, Al, Si, Mn, Mg, Ca and K. The metals/metalloids V, Cr, Se, As and Sb are conservative in the AMD solution, and negatively-correlated to major ions Na, Ca and Mg. Due to the above different behaviors of these chemical elements, the pH-negatively related metals (PM) and the conservative metals (CM) are identified; the PM metals include Cd, Co, Ni, Zn, U, Cu, Pb and Tl, and the CM metals V, Cr, Se, As and Sb. Based on understanding the geochemistry of PM and CM metals in the AMD waters, a new equation: EXT = (Acidity + PM)/pH + CM × pH, is proposed to estimate and evaluate extent of heavy-metal pollution (EXT) of AMD. The evaluation results show that the AMD and surface waters of the mine area have high EXT values, and they could be the potential source of heavy-metal contamination of the surrounding environment. Therefore, it is suggested that both the AMD and surface waters should be treated before they are drained out of the mine district, for which the traditional dilution and neutralization methods can be applied to remove the PM metals from the AMD waters, and new techniques through reducing the pH value of the downstream AMD waters should be developed for removal of the CM metals.

  10. A review of exposures to radon, long-lived radionuclides and external gamma at the Czech uranium mine.

    PubMed

    Marušiaková, M; Gregor, Z; Tomášek, L

    2011-05-01

    This paper presents the results of the personal exposure monitoring conducted in the RoŽná uranium mine in the Czech Republic. In this mine, which has been operated since the late 1950s, personal ALGADE dosemeters have been used since 1998. A group of 600 miners employed during the period 2000-09 has been analysed. Annual exposures to radon decay products, long-lived alpha emitters and external gamma radiation are described. These components play an essential role in the estimation of the total effective dose. The dependence of the exposures on the type of mining job is also assessed. PMID:21471123

  11. Effects of uranium-mining releases on ground-water quality in the Puerco River Basin, Arizona and New Mexico

    SciTech Connect

    Van Metre, P.C.; Wirt, L.; Lopes, T.J.; Ferguson, S.A.

    1997-12-31

    The purpose of this report is to describe: (1) the water quality of the Puerco River alluvial aquifer, (2) the movement of water between the Puerco River and underlying alluvial aquifer, and (3) changes in the water quality of the alluvial and bedrock aquifers related to releases of contaminants by uranium-mining activities. This report focuses on the alluvial aquifer near the reach of the Puerco River that was subjected to continuous flow containing mine-dewatering effluents and to flow containing mine-dewatering effluents and to flow from the tailings-pond spill.

  12. Why Has It Taken So Long to Address the Problems Created by Uranium Mining in the Navajo Nation?

    PubMed

    Brugge, Doug

    2016-02-01

    Following the start of uranium mining after World War II, progress toward addressing the hazards it created for workers and nearby communities was slow, taking many decades. This essay asks why it took so long and suggests several factors that might have contributed. PMID:26463258

  13. Natural radioactivity in commercial granites extracted near old uranium mines: scientific, economic and social impact of disinformation.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pereira, Dolores; Pereira, Alcides; Neves, Luis

    2015-04-01

    The study of radioactivity in natural stones is a subject of great interest from different points of view: scientific, social and economic. Several previous studies have demonstrated that the radioactivity is dependent, not only on the uranium content, but also on the structures, textures, minerals containing the uranium and degree of weathering of the natural stone. Villavieja granite is extracted in a village where uranium mining was an important activity during the 20th century. Today the mine is closed but the granite is still extracted. Incorrect information about natural radioactivity given to natural stone users, policy makers, construction managers and the general public has caused turmoil in the media for many years. This paper considers problems associated with the communication of reliable information, as well as uncertainties, on natural radioactivity to these audiences.

  14. Application of solution-mineral equilibrium chemistry to solution mining of uranium ores

    SciTech Connect

    Riese, A.C.; Propp, C.J.

    1980-01-01

    Modern methods of uranium solution mining are typically accompanied by gains and losses of mass through reagent consumption by rock-forming minerals, with subsequent formation of clay minerals, gypsum, carbonates, and iron oxyhydroxides. A systematic approach to alleviate such problems involves the application of leach solutions that are in equilibrium with the host-rock minerals but in disequilibrium with the ore-forming minerals. This partial equilibrium can be approximated by solution-composition adjustments within the systems K/sub 2/O-Al/sub 2/O/sub 3/SiO/sub 2/-H/sub 2/O and Na/sub 2/O/sub 3/-Al/sub 2/O/sub 3/SiO/sub 2/-H/sub 2/O. Uranium ore containing 0.15 percent U/sub 3/O/sub 8/ from the Gulf Mineral Resources Corporation's Mariano Lake mine, the Smith Lake district of the Grants mineral belt, was collected for investigation. Presented are a theoretical evaluation of leachate data and an experimental treatment of the ore, which contained mainly K-feldspar, plagioclase feldspar, and quartz (with lesser amounts of micas, clay minerals, and organic carbonaceous material). Small-scale (less than or equal to 1 kg) column-leaching experiments were conducted to model the results of conventional leaching operations and to provide leachate solutions that could be compared with solutions calculated to be in equilibrium with the matrix minerals. Leach solutions employed include: 1) sulfuric acid, 2) sodium bicarbonate, and 3) sulfuric acid with 1.0 molal potassium chloride. The uranium concentrations in the sodium-bicarbonate leach solution and the acid-leach solution were about a gram per liter at the termination of the tests. However, the permeability of the ore in the acid leach was greatly reduced, owing to the formation of clay minerals. Uranium solubility in the leach column stabilized with the potassium-chloride solution was calculated from leachate compositions to be limited by the solubility of carnotite.

  15. Multibiomarker toxicity characterization of uranium mine drainages to the fish Carassius auratus.

    PubMed

    Bessa, M L; Antunes, S C; Pereira, R; Gonçalves, F J M; Nunes, B

    2016-07-01

    The release of acidic effluents, naturally enriched in metals and radionuclides, is the main legacy of uranium mines. Generally, metals dissolved by these acidic effluents can cause significant alterations in exposed organisms, with distinct toxicological outcomes. In this study, 72 individuals of the freshwater fish species Carassius auratus were exposed in situ for different periods (8, 16, 24, and 48 h) to water from a pond (treatment pond (TP)) with a chemically treated effluent and a reference pond (PRP), in the vicinity of the Cunha Baixa uranium mine (Portugal). Comparing the water of the two ponds, the PRP pond was characterized by higher pH and oxygen values and lower conductivity and hardness values. Regarding total metal concentrations, among others, magnesium (56,000 μg/L), sodium (17,400 μg/L), zinc (86 μg/L), manganese (6340 μg/L), and uranium (1380 μg/L) concentrations in the TP pond were above the values obtained for the PRP pond. The values of manganese and uranium exceeded the values of quality criteria established for surface waters for cyprinids and for irrigation purposes. After exposure to pond water, significant differences were recorded for several biomarkers: (i) between ponds for acetylcholinesterase (AChE) with higher activities for animals from the PRP and glutathione-S-transferase (GST) activities that were particularly enhanced in animals from the TP pond; (ii) between ponds and exposure periods for lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity, since organisms from PRP pond presented always higher values than those from the TP pond, and among these, organisms exposed for the longer period presented a further depression in LDH activity; and (iii) between exposure periods for erythrocyte micronucleus. GSTs and LDH were the most sensitive biomarkers within the timeframe of the in situ assay performed. Despite the alleged efficacy of the chemical treatment (evidenced by a significantly lower pH), some metals persisted in the treated

  16. Fates of pollutants from uranium mining in floodplain of a meandering river (the Ploucnice, Czech Republic)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Matys Grygar, Tomas; Elznicova, Jitka; Majerova, Lucie; Babek, Ondrej; Kiss, Timea; Havelcova, Martina; Hosek, Michal

    2014-05-01

    The Ploucnice River (Czech Republic) received two groups of element pollutants. The first was Pb-Cu-Sb-Zn association with the onset early in 20th century; we attribute it to diffuse pollution at levels of the river watershed and/or mid European region with both atmospheric and fluvial transports. The second group was U-Zn-Ni-Co-Ba association related to uranium mining and mine-water processing during the 1970s and 1980s. Pollution hence allowed for identifying two chemostratigraphic units in 20th century floodplain fill, whose lower boundaries we interpret as isochronous at a given river reach. Historical and current maps and aerial photographs and current aerial lidar scanning allowed reconstructing the floodplain development. Electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) produced insight into the floodplain architecture. Three geomorphic levels were identified in the studied river reach: active floodplain, abandoned floodplain (paleochannels there are now inundated at >Q50), and pre-Holocene or early Holocene terrace. Each level has its own pattern of pollution by Pb, U and polyaromatic hydrocarbons. The terrace and abandoned floodplain sediments together with deeper sediments from active floodplain allowed construction of background functions for pre-industrial concentrations of target elements and subsequent calculation of enrichment factors. That approach corrects for grain-size effects and thus coarser unsorted terrace sediments, finer silty sands of the abandoned floodplain, and the finest muds of the active floodplain were jointly processed. Such data processing was a pre-requisite for evaluation of weak diffuse pollution from early 20th century and recognition of post-depositional changes in pollutant concentrations. The main portion of pollutants related to uranium mining got into the river system in 1970s with peak in 1981 during a summer flood with >Q50 discharge. The pollution impacted the entire river system (enhanced Ra-226 activities were detected at

  17. Short- and long-lived radionuclide particle size measurements in a uranium mine

    SciTech Connect

    Tu, Keng-Wu; Fisenne, I.M.; Hutter, A.R.

    1997-04-01

    The radon-222 progeny and long-lived radionuclide measurements were done in a wet underground uranium mine in Saskatchewan, Canada, on Nov. 8-12, 1995. Radon-222 in the mine varied from 2 kBq/m{sup 3} at 90 m below surface to 12 kBq/m{sup 3} in the mining areas, 240 m below surface. Radon-222 progeny activity and potential alpha energy concentration appear affected by the airborne particle number concentration and size distribution. Particle number was up to 200x10{sup 3}/cm{sup 3}. Only an accumulation mode (30-1000 nm) and some bimodal size distributions in this accumulation size range were significant. Diesel particles and combustion particles from burning propane caused a major modal diameter shift to a smaller size range (50-85 nm) compared with previous values (100-200 nm). The high particle number reduced the unattached progeny (0.5-2 nm) to >5%. The nuclei mode (2-30 nm) in this test was nonexistent, and the coarse mode (>1000 nm), except from the drilling areas and on the stopes, was mostly not measurable. Airborne particle total mass and long- lived radionuclide alpha activity concentrations were very low (80- 100 {mu}g/m{sup 3} and 4-5 mBq/m{sup 3}) owing to high ventilation rates. Mass-weighted size distributions were trimodal, with the major mode at the accumulation size region, which accounts for 45-50% of the mass. The coarse model contains the the least mass, about 20%. The size spectra from gross alpha activities were bimodal with major mode in the coarse region (>1000 nm) and a minor accumulation mode in the 50-900 nm size range. These size spectra were different from the {sup 222}Rn progeny that showed a single accumulation mode in the 50- 85 nm size region. The accumulation mode in the long-lived radionuclide size spectrum was not found in previous studies in other uranium mines.

  18. Geochemical and mineralogical controls on arsenic release from uranium mine taillings

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moldovan, B.; Hendry, M. J.; Jiang, D. T.

    2003-04-01

    Decommissioning of uranium mine wastes in Canada requires that the long-term source contaminant potential of primary contaminants of concern be known. One of the most important contaminants of concern for this industry is the long-term stability of arsenic in its mine wastes. Arsenic-rich uranium mine tailings from the Rabbit Lake in-pit tailings management facility (RLITMF) in northern Saskatchewan, Canada were investigated to determine the potential long-term risks of arsenic in these tailings on the hydrosphere and biosphere. To this end, tailings material was continuously collected from the RLITMF to a depth of 72 m below the tailings surface. The mineralogy and long-term stability of secondary arsenic precipitates formed in these tailings were determined. Subsequently, these data were used in conjunction with the detailed characterization of the geochemical parameters (pH, Eh and temperature) and solid and pore fluid chemistry as input variables for geochemical/hydrogeological modeling. Synchrotron-based X-ray absorption spectroscopic studies of tailings material showed that the arsenic in iron-rich areas of the tailings existed as the stable As5+ and was adsorbed to 2-line ferrihydrite through inner sphere bidentate linkages. In addition, under the conditions in the RLITMF, the 2-line ferrihydrite did not undergo any measurable conversion to more crystalline goethite or hematite, even in tailings discharged to the RLITMF 10 years prior to sampling. Total arsenic concentrations in the mine tailings and their associated pore fluids ranged from 56 to 9,871 mug/g and 0.24 to 140 mg/l, respectively. The mean Eh, pH and temperature of the tailings were +161 mV (standard deviation = ± 53 mV; range from -64 to +316 mV), 9.94 (standard deviation = ± 0.53; range from 8.39 to 11.14), and 3.70C (standard deviation = ± 2.40C; range from -0.1 to 10.10C). Based on the results obtained from field and laboratory-based studies, geochemical and one-dimensional diffusive

  19. Assessment of nonpoint source chemical loading potential to watersheds containing uranium waste dumps associated with uranium exploration and mining, Browns Hole, Utah

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Marston, Thomas M.; Beisner, Kimberly R.; Naftz, David L.; Snyder, Terry

    2012-01-01

    During August of 2008, 35 solid-phase samples were collected from abandoned uranium waste dumps, undisturbed geologic background sites, and adjacent streambeds in Browns Hole in southeastern Utah. The objectives of this sampling program were (1) to assess impacts on human health due to exposure to radium, uranium, and thorium during recreational activities on and around uranium waste dumps on Bureau of Land Management lands; (2) to compare concentrations of trace elements associated with mine waste dumps to natural background concentrations; (3) to assess the nonpoint source chemical loading potential to ephemeral and perennial watersheds from uranium waste dumps; and (4) to assess contamination from waste dumps to the local perennial stream water in Muleshoe Creek. Uranium waste dump samples were collected using solid-phase sampling protocols. Solid samples were digested and analyzed for major and trace elements. Analytical values for radium and uranium in digested samples were compared to multiple soil screening levels developed from annual dosage calculations in accordance with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act's minimum cleanup guidelines for uranium waste sites. Three occupancy durations for sites were considered: 4.6 days per year, 7.0 days per year, and 14.0 days per year. None of the sites exceeded the radium soil screening level of 96 picocuries per gram, corresponding to a 4.6 days per year exposure. Two sites exceeded the radium soil screening level of 66 picocuries per gram, corresponding to a 7.0 days per year exposure. Seven sites exceeded the radium soil screening level of 33 picocuries per gram, corresponding to a 14.0 days per year exposure. A perennial stream that flows next to the toe of a uranium waste dump was sampled, analyzed for major and trace elements, and compared with existing aquatic-life and drinking-water-quality standards. None of the water-quality standards were exceeded in the stream samples.

  20. Sterols and fatty acid biomarkers as indicators of changes in soil microbial communities in a uranium mine area.

    PubMed

    Guedes, Maria J; Pereira, Ruth; Duarte, Kátia; Rocha-Santos, Teresa A P; Antunes, Sara C; Gonçalves, Fernando; Duarte, Armando C; Freitas, Ana C

    2011-01-01

    Included in the 2nd tier of a site specific risk assessment that is being carried out in an abandoned uranium mine (Cunha Baixa uranium mine, Central Portugal), fatty acids biomarkers and sterols were analyzed to assess the impact of soil contamination with metals and radionuclides in the structure of the microbial community in seven sampling sites located at different distances from the mine. Surface soil samples were collected in those sampling sites in the four different seasons of the year. Principal component analysis (PCA) was performed on fatty acid biomarkers and sterols. Subsequently PCA scores obtained for both components were used to test the effect of sites and seasons, on soil samples collected in the Cunha Baixa uranium mine, through bi-factorial ANOVAs. Through PCA analysis, two distinct groups were set apart along the first two components. One group included sites at a great distance from the mine which were negatively correlated with higher contents of iC15:0 and iC17:0, both indicators of Gram-positive bacteria, as well as with ergosterol, cholestanol and cholesterol. The second group, in turn, was composed of the sampling sites most impacted by ore exploration, in situ leaching of poor ore, and spread of sludge from the effluent treatment pond. These sites were positively correlated with higher levels of iC16:0 (Gram-positive bacteria indicator), cyC17:0 (generally common in gram negative bacteria) and C18:0 and C17:0 biomarkers of non-specific bacteria. The profile of fatty acids obtained in the sampling sites revealed variable predominance of groups of bacteria which are a clear indication of differences in the soil microbial communities that are directly related to the environmental conditions prevailing in the uranium mine area. PMID:21547821

  1. Differential gene expression in Iberian green frogs (Pelophylax perezi) inhabiting a deactivated uranium mine.

    PubMed

    Marques, Sérgio M; Chaves, Sandra; Gonçalves, Fernando; Pereira, Ruth

    2013-01-01

    Iberian green frogs (Pelophylax perezi) were found inhabiting a deactivated uranium mine, especially an effluent pond, seriously contaminated with metals and radionuclides. These animals were previously assessed for oxidative stress parameters and did not revealed significant alterations. In order to better understand which mechanisms may be involved in the ability to withstand permanent contamination gene expression analysis was performed in the liver, through suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH). The SSH outcome in the liver revealed the up-regulation of genes coding for the ribosomal protein L7a and for several proteins typical from blood plasma: fibrinogen, hemoglobin and albumin. Besides their normal function, some of these proteins can play an important role as protective agents against oxidative stress. This work provides new insights on possible basal protection mechanisms that may act in organisms exposed chronically to contamination. PMID:23146668

  2. US Geological Survey research on the environmental fate of uranium mining and milling wastes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Landa, E.R.; Gray, J.R.

    1995-01-01

    Studies by the US Geological Survey (USGS) of uranium mill tailings (UMT) have focused on characterizing the forms in which radionuclides are retained and identifying factors influencing the release of radionuclides to air and water. Selective extraction studies and studies of radionuclide sorption by and leaching from components of UMT showed alkaline earth sulfate and hydrous ferric oxides to be important hosts of radium-226 (226Ra) in UMT. Extrapolating from studies of barite dissolution in anerobic lake sediments, the leaching of 226Ra from UMT by sulfate-reducing bacteria was investigated; a marked increase in 226Ra release to aqueous solution as compared to sterile controls was demonstrated. A similar action of iron(III)-reducing bacteria was later shown. Ion exchangers such as clay minerals can also promote the dissolution of host-phase minerals and thereby influence the fate of radionuclides such as 226Ra. Radon release studies examined particle size and ore composition as variables. Aggregation of UMT particles was shown to mask the higher emanating fraction of finer particles. Studies of various ores and ore components showed that UMT cannot be assumed to have the same radon-release characteristics as their precursor ores, nor can 226Ra retained by various substrates be assumed to emanate the same fraction of radon. Over the last decade, USGS research directed at offsite mobility of radionuclides from uranium mining and milling processes has focused on six areas: the Midnite Mine in Washington; Ralston Creek and Reservoir, Colorado; sites near Canon City, Colorado; the Monument Valley District of Arizona and Utah; the Cameron District of Arizona; and the Puerco River basin of Arizona and New Mexico.

  3. Environmental radioactivity studies in the proposed Lambapur and Peddagattu uranium mining areas of Andhra Pradesh, India.

    PubMed

    Vinay Kumar Reddy, K; Gopal Reddy, Ch; Vidya Sagar, D; Yadagiri Reddy, P; Rama Reddy, K

    2012-08-01

    The present work was aimed at the establishment of baseline radioactive data in the proposed Lambapur and Peddagattu uranium mining areas in the Andhra Pradesh state, India. The background concentrations of naturally occurring radioactivity in the near-surface soils of the study areas were estimated and the results were analysed. The (238)U concentration in the near-surface soil of the study area was found to vary from 100 to 176 Bq kg(-1), with a mean of 138±24 Bq kg(-1). (232)Th in the study area soils was found to vary between 64 and 116 Bq kg(-1), with a mean of 83±15 Bq kg(-1). The (40)K concentration was found to vary between 309 and 373 Bq kg(-1), with a mean of 343±20 Bq kg(-1). The mean natural background radiation levels were also measured with thermoluminescence (TL) dosimetry technique and with a µR-survey meter, in the villages of the study area. Dose rates measured by TL are found to vary from 1287 to 3363 μGy y(-1), with a mean of 2509 ± 424 μGy y(-1). The dose rates measured in the same villages with a μR-survey meter were found to be in the range of 1211-3255 μGy y(-1), with a mean of 2524 ± 395 μGy y(-1). The mean radiation levels in the study area are found to be relatively high when compared with (Indian) national and international averages. Correlations among radon, thoron and gamma dose rates were found to be poor. The pre-operational data produced in this work will be useful for comparison with future radiation levels during the proposed uranium mining operations. PMID:22319131

  4. Size distribution of aerosol particles produced during mining and processing uranium ore.

    PubMed

    Mala, Helena; Tomasek, Ladislav; Rulik, Petr; Beckova, Vera; Hulka, Jiri

    2016-06-01

    The aerosol particle size distributions of uranium and its daughter products were studied and determined in the area of the Rožná mine, which is the last active uranium mine in the Czech Republic. A total of 13 samples were collected using cascade impactors from three sites that had the highest expected levels of dust, namely, the forefield, the end of the ore chute and an area close to workers at the crushing plant. The characteristics of most size distributions were very similar; they were moderately bimodal, with a boundary approximately 0.5 μm between the modes. The activity median aerodynamic diameter (AMAD) and geometric standard deviation (GSD) were obtained from the distributions beyond 0.39 μm, whereas the sizes of particles below 0.39 μm were not differentiated. Most AMAD and GSD values in the samples ranged between 3.5 and 10.5 μm and between 2.8 and 5.0, respectively. The geometric means of the AMADs and GSDs from all of the underground sampling sites were 4.2 μm and 4.4, respectively, and the geometric means of the AMADs and GSDs for the crushing plant samplings were 9.8 μm and 3.3, respectively. The weighted arithmetic mean of the AMADs was 4.9 μm, with a standard error of 0.7 μm, according to the numbers of workers at the workplaces. The activity proportion of the radon progeny to (226)Ra in the aerosol was 0.61. PMID:27032340

  5. Assessment of Local Biodiversity Loss in Uranium Mining-Tales And Its Projections On Global Scale

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sharshenova, D.; Zhamangulova, N.

    2015-12-01

    In Min-Kush, northern Kyrgyzstan there are 8 mining tales with an estimate of 1 961 000 tones of industrial Uranium. Local ecosystem services have declined rapidly. We analyzed a terrestrial assemblage database of Uranium mine-tale to quantify local biodiversity responses to land use and environmental changes. In the worst-affected habitats species richness reduced by 95.7%, total abundance by 60.9% and rarefaction-based richness by 72.5%. We estimate that, regional mountain ecosystem affected by this pressure reduced average within-sample richness (by 17.01%), total abundance (16.5%) and rarefaction-based richness (14.5%). Business-as-usual scenarios are the widely practiced in the region and moreover, due to economic constraints country can not afford any mitigation scenarios. We project that biodiversity loss and ecosystem service impairment will spread in the region through ground water, soil, plants, animals and microorganisms at the rate of 1km/year. Entire Tian-Shan mountain chain will be in danger within next 5-10 years. Our preliminary data shows that local people live in this area developed various forms of cancer, and the rate of premature death is as high as 40%. Strong international scientific and socio-economic partnership is needed to develop models and predictions.

  6. Authenticated tracking and monitoring system (ATMS) tracking shipments from an Australian uranium mine

    SciTech Connect

    Schoeneman, J.L.

    1998-08-01

    The Authenticated Tracking and Monitoring System (ATMS) answers the need for global monitoring of the status and location of sensitive items on a worldwide basis, 24 hours a day. ATMS uses wireless sensor packs to monitor the status of the items and environmental conditions. A receiver and processing unit collect a variety of sensor event data. The collected data are transmitted to the INMARSAT satellite communication system, which then sends the data to appropriate ground stations. Authentication and encryption algorithms secure the data during communication activities. A typical ATMS application would be to track and monitor the safety and security of a number of items in transit along a scheduled shipping route. The resulting tracking, timing, and status information could then be processed to ensure compliance with various agreements. Following discussions between the Australian Safeguards Office (ASO), the US Department of Energy (DOE), and Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) in early 1995, the parties mutually agreed to conduct and evaluate a field trial prototype ATMS to track and monitor shipments of uranium ore concentrate (UOC) from an operating uranium mine in Australia to a final destination in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, with numerous stops along the way. During the months of February and March 1998, the trial was conducted on a worldwide basis, with tracking and monitoring stations located at sites in both Australia and the US. This paper describes ATMS and the trial.

  7. Biogeochemistry of uranium in the soil-plant and water-plant systems in an old uranium mine.

    PubMed

    Favas, Paulo J C; Pratas, João; Mitra, Soumita; Sarkar, Santosh Kumar; Venkatachalam, Perumal

    2016-10-15

    The present study highlights the uranium (U) concentrations in water-soil-plant matrices and the efficiency considering a heterogeneous assemblage of terrestrial and aquatic native plant species to act as the biomonitor and phytoremediator for environmental U-contamination in the Sevilha mine (uraniferous region of Beiras, Central Portugal). A total of 53 plant species belonging to 22 families was collected from 24 study sites along with ambient soil and/or water samples. The concentration of U showed wide range of variations in the ambient medium: 7.5 to 557mgkg(-1) for soil and 0.4 to 113μgL(-1) for water. The maximum potential of U accumulation was recorded in roots of the following terrestrial plants: Juncus squarrosus (450mgkg(-1) DW), Carlina corymbosa (181mgkg(-1) DW) and Juncus bufonius (39.9mgkg(-1) DW), followed by the aquatic macrophytes, namely Callitriche stagnalis (55.6mgkg(-1) DW) Lemna minor (53.0mgkg(-1) DW) and Riccia fluitans (50.6mgkg(-1) DW). Accumulation of U in plant tissues exhibited the following decreasing trend: root>leaves>stem>flowers/fruits and this confirms the unique efficiency of roots in accumulating this radionuclide from host soil/sediment (phytostabilization). Overall, the accumulation pattern in the studied aquatic plants (L. minor, R. fluitans, C. stagnalis and Lythrum portula) dominated over most of the terrestrial counterpart. Among terrestrial plants, the higher mean bioconcentration factor (≈1 in roots/rhizomes of C. corymbosa and J. squarrosus) and translocation factor (31 in Andryala integrifolia) were encountered in the representing families Asteraceae and Juncaceae. Hence, these terrestrial plants can be treated as the promising candidates for the development of the phytostabilization or phytoextraction methodologies based on the accumulation, abundance and biomass production. PMID:27314898

  8. Chemical Interactions of Uranium in Water, Sediments, and Plants Along a Watershed Adjacent to the Abandoned Jackpile Mine

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blake, J.; De Vore, C. L.; Avasarala, S.; Ali, A.; Roldan, C.; Bowers, F.; Spilde, M.; Artyushkova, K.; Cerrato, J.

    2015-12-01

    The chemical interactions, mobility, and plant uptake of uranium (U) near abandoned mine wastes was investigated along the Rio Paguate, adjacent to the Jackpile Mine, located in Laguna Pueblo, New Mexico. Elevated U concentrations in surface water adjacent to mine waste range from 30 to 710 μg/L seasonally and decrease to 5.77 to 10.0 μg/L at a wetland 4.5 kilometers downstream of the mine. Although U concentrations in stream water are elevated, aqua regia acid digestions performed on co-located stream bed and stream bank sediments reveal that there is limited U accumulation on sediments along the reach between the mine and wetland, with most sediment concentrations being near the 3 mg/kg crustal average. However, U concentrations in sediments in the wetland are 4 times the background concentrations in the area. Individual results from salt cedar roots, stems, and leaves collected along the river transect show higher U concentrations in the roots adjacent to the mine waste (20 and 55 mg/kg) and lower in the stems and leaves. Translocation values calculated below 1 are evident in many of the plant samples, suggesting that U root to shoot translocation is minimal and U is accumulating in the roots. Concentrations of U in salt cedar roots from downstream of the mine waste decrease to 15 mg/kg. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy analysis on sediment samples adjacent to the mine waste show a 75:25% ratio of Fe(III) to Fe(II), which can have an effect on adsorption properties. Electron microprobe results suggest that the ore in this area is present as a uranium-phosphate phase. Our results suggest that dilution, uptake by plants, and U sorption to wetland sediments are the dominant factors that help to decrease the U concentrations downstream of the mine.

  9. Novel speciation method based on Diffusive Gradients in Thin Films for in situ measurement of uranium in the vicinity of the former uranium mining sites.

    PubMed

    Drozdzak, Jagoda; Leermakers, Martine; Gao, Yue; Phrommavanh, Vannapha; Descostes, Michael

    2016-07-01

    The Diffusive Gradients in Thin Films (DGT) technique using PIWBA resin (The Dow Chemical Company) was developed and validated for the measurement of uranium (U) concentration in natural and uranium mining influenced waters. The U uptake on the PIWBA resin gel was 97.3 ± 0.4% (batch method; Vsol = 5 mL; [U] = 20 μg L(-1); 0.01 M NaNO3; pH = 7.0 ± 0.2). The optimal eluent was found to be HNO3conc/70 °C with an elution efficiency of 88.9 ± 1.4%. The laboratory DGT investigation demonstrated that the PIWBA resin gel exhibits a very good performance across a wide range of pH (3-9) and ionic strength (0.001-0.7 M NaNO3) at different time intervals. Neither effect of PO4(3-) (up to 1.72 × 10(-4) M), nor of HCO3(-) (up to 8.20 × 10(-3) M) on the quantitative measurement of uranium by DGT-PIWBA method were observed. Only at very high Ca(2+) (2.66 × 10(-4) M), and SO4(2-) (5.55 × 10(-4) M) concentration, the U uptake on DGT-PIWBA was appreciably lessened. In-situ DGT field evaluation was carried out in the vicinity of three former uranium mining sites in France (Loire-Atlantique and Herault departments), which employ different water treatment technologies and have different natural geochemical characteristics. There was a similar or inferior U uptake on DGT-Chelex(®)-100 in comparison with the U accumulation on a DGT-PIWBA sampler. Most likely, the performance of Chelex(®)-100 was negatively affected by a highly complex matrix of mining waters. The high concentration and identity of co-accumulating analytes, typical for the mining environment, did not have a substantial impact on the quantitative uptake of labile U species on DGT- PIWBA. The use of the polyphenol impregnated anion exchange resin leads to a significant advancement in the application and development of the DGT technique for determination of U in the vicinity of the former uranium mining sites. PMID:27070846

  10. What are the health costs of uranium mining? A case study of miners in Grants, New Mexico

    PubMed Central

    Jones, Benjamin A

    2014-01-01

    Background: Uranium mining is associated with lung cancer and other health problems among miners. Health impacts are related with miner exposure to radon gas progeny. Objectives: This study estimates the health costs of excess lung cancer mortality among uranium miners in the largest uranium-producing district in the USA, centered in Grants, New Mexico. Methods: Lung cancer mortality rates on miners were used to estimate excess mortality and years of life lost (YLL) among the miner population in Grants from 1955 to 2005. A cost analysis was performed to estimate direct (medical) and indirect (premature mortality) health costs. Results: Total health costs ranged from $2.2 million to $7.7 million per excess death. This amounts to between $22.4 million and $165.8 million in annual health costs over the 1955–1990 mining period. Annual exposure-related lung cancer mortality was estimated at 2185.4 miners per 100 000, with a range of 1419.8–2974.3 per 100 000. Conclusions: Given renewed interest in uranium worldwide, results suggest a re-evaluation of radon exposure standards and inclusion of miner long-term health into mining planning decisions. PMID:25224806

  11. 238U, and its decay products, in grasses from an abandoned uranium mine

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Childs, Edgar; Maskall, John; Millward, Geoffrey

    2016-04-01

    Bioaccumulation of radioactive contaminants by plants is of concern particularly where the sward is an essential part of the diet of ruminants. The abandoned South Terras uranium mine, south west England, had primary deposits of uraninite (UO2) and pitchblende (U3O8), which contained up to 30% uranium. When the mine was active uranium and radium were extracted but following closure it was abandoned without remediation. Waste rock and gangue, consisting of inefficiently processed minerals, were spread around the site, including a field where ruminants are grazed. Here we report the activity concentrations of 238U, 235U 214,210Pb, and the concentrations of selected metals in the soils, roots and leaves of grasses taken from the contaminated field. Soil samples were collected at the surface, and at 30 cm depth, using an auger along a 10-point transect in the field from the foot of a waste heap. Whole, individual grass plants were removed with a spade, ensuring that their roots were intact. The soils and roots and grass leaves were freeze-dried. Activity concentrations of the radionuclides were determined by gamma spectroscopy, following 30 days incubation for development of secular equilibrium. Dried soils, roots and grasses were also digested in aqua regia and the concentrations of elements determined by ICP techniques. Maximum activity concentrations of 238U, 235U, 214Pb and 210Pb surface soils were 63,300, 4,510, 23,300 and 49,400 Bq kg‑1, respectively. The mean 238U:235U ratio was 11.8 ± 1.8, an order of magnitude lower than the natural value of 138, indicating disequilibrium within the decay chain due to mineral processing. Radionuclides in the roots had 5 times lower concentration and only grass leaves in the vicinity of the waste heap had measureable values. The mean soil to root transfer factor for 238U was 36%, the mean root to leaf was 3% and overall only 0.7% of 238U was transferred from the soil to the leaves. The roots contained 0.8% iron, possibly as

  12. Preliminary results on variations of radon concentration associated with rock deformation in a uranium mine

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Verdoya, Massimo; Bochiolo, Massimo; Chiozzi, Paolo; Pasquale, Vincenzo; Armadillo, Egidio; Rizzello, Daniele; Chiaberto, Enrico

    2013-04-01

    Time-series of radon concentration and environmental parameters were recently recorded in a uranium mine gallery, located in the Maritime Alps (NW Italy). The mine was bored in metarhyolites and porphyric schists mainly composed by quartz, feldspar, sericite and fluorite. U-bearing minerals are generally concentrated in veins heterogeneously spaced and made of crystals of metaautunite and metatorbernite. Radon air concentration monitoring was performed with an ionization chamber which was placed at the bottom of the gallery. Hourly mean values of temperature, pressure, and relative humidity were also measured. External data of atmospheric temperature, pressure and rainfall were also available from a meteorological station located nearby, at a similar altitude of the mine. The analysis of the time series recorded showed variation of radon concentration, of large amplitude, exhibiting daily and half-daily periods, which do not seem correlated with meteorological records. Searching for the origin of radon concentration changes and monitoring their amplitude as a function of time can provide important clues on the complex emanation process. During this process, radon reaches the air- and water-filled interstices by recoil and diffusion, where its migration is directed towards lower concentration regions, following the local gradient. The radon emanation from the rock matrix could also be controlled by stress changes acting on the rate of migration of radon into fissures, and fractures. This may yield emanation boosts due to rock extension and the consequent crack broadening, and emanation decrease when joints between cracks close. Thus, besides interaction and mass transfer with the external atmospheric environment, one possible explanation for the periodic changes in radon concentrations in the investigated mine, could be the variation of rock deformation related to lunar-solar tides. The large variation of concentration could be also due to the fact that the mine is

  13. Geology of the area adjacent to the Free Enterprise uranium-silver Mine, Boulder District, Jefferson County, Montana

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Roberts, W.A.; Gude, A.J., III

    1952-01-01

    Uranium minerals.occur in pods associated with cryptocrystalline silica, silver minerals, and scattered sulfide mineral grains in a hydrothermal vein that cuts quartz monzonite and alaskite at the Free Enterprise mine, 2 miles west of Boulder, Mont. The Free Enterprise vein is one of many silicified reef-like structures in this area, most of which trend about N. 60° E. The cryptocrystalline silica zones of the area are lenticular and are bordered by an altered zone where quartz monzonite is the wall rock. No alteration was noticed where alaskite is adjacent to silica zones. No uranium minerals were observed at the surface, but radioactivity anomalies were noted at 57 outcrops. Underground mining has shown that leaching by downward percolating waters has removed most of the uranium from the near-surface part of the Free Enterprise vein and probably has enriched slightly, parts of the vein and the adjacent wall rock from the bottom of the leached zone to the ground-water level. It is possible that other veins that show low to moderate radioactivity at the surface may contain significant concentrations of uranium minerals at relatively shallow depth. The quartz monzonite appears to be a more favorable host rock for the cryptocrystalline silica and associated uranium minerals than the alaskite. The alaskite occurs as vertical_dikes plug-like masses, and as irregularly shaped, gently dipping masses that are believed to have been intruded into open fractures formed during the cooling of the quartz monzonite.

  14. Remediation of former uranium mining and milling activities in Central Asia

    SciTech Connect

    Waggitt, Peter

    2007-07-01

    Available in abstract form only. Full text of publication follows: 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 and beyond. Some facilities are still producing in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. However, before the break up, many facilities had been abandoned and in only a few cases had any 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 programs 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 main TC regional program, liaison efforts with other agencies, the achievements so far and the long term issues for remediation of these legacies of the 'cold war' era. (authors)

  15. Annotated bibliography of environmentally relevant investigations of uranium mining and milling in the Grants Mineral Belt, northwestern New Mexico

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Otton, James K.

    2011-01-01

    Studies of the natural environment in the Grants Mineral Belt in northwestern New Mexico have been conducted since the 1930s; however, few such investigations predate uranium mining and milling operations, which began in the early 1950s. This report provides an annotated bibliography of reports that describe the hydrology and geochemistry of groundwaters and surface waters and the geochemistry of soils and sediments in the Grants Mineral Belt and contiguous areas. The reports referenced and discussed provide a large volume of information about the environmental conditions in the area after mining started. Data presented in many of these studies, if evaluated carefully, may provide much basic information about the baseline conditions that existed over large parts of the Grants Mineral Belt prior to mining. Other data may provide information that can direct new work in efforts to discriminate between baseline conditions and the effects of the mining and milling on the natural environment.

  16. State policies and requirements for management of uranium mining and milling in New Mexico. Volume IV. The supply of electric power and natural gas fuel as possible constraints on uranium production

    SciTech Connect

    Page, G.B.

    1980-04-01

    The report contained in this volume considers the availability of electric power to supply uranium mines and mills. The report, submited to Sandia Laboratories by the New Mexico Department of Energy and Minerals (EMD), is reproduced without modification. The state concludes that the supply of power, including natural gas-fueled production, will not constrain uranium production.

  17. Characterization of cores from an in-situ recovery mined uranium deposit in Wyoming: Implications for post-mining restoration

    SciTech Connect

    WoldeGabriel, G.; Boukhalfa, H.; Ware, S. D.; Cheshire, M.; Reimus, P.; Heikoop, J.; Conradson, S. D.; Batuk, O.; Havrilla, G.; House, B.; Simmons, A.; Clay, J.; Basu, A.; Christensen, J. N.; Brown, S. T.; DePaolo, D. J.

    2014-10-08

    In-situ recovery (ISR) of uranium (U) from sandstone-type roll-front deposits is a technology that involves the injection of solutions that consist of ground water fortified with oxygen and carbonate to promote the oxidative dissolution of U, which is pumped to recovery facilities located at the surface that capture the dissolved U and recycle the treated water. The ISR process alters the geochemical conditions in the subsurface creating conditions that are more favorable to the migration of uranium and other metals associated with the uranium deposit. There is a lack of clear understanding of the impact of ISR mining on the aquifer and host rocks of the post-mined site and the fate of residual U and other metals within the mined ore zone. We performed detailed petrographic, mineralogical, and geochemical analyses of several samples taken from about 7 m of core of the formerly the ISR-mined Smith Ranch–Highland uranium deposit in Wyoming. We show that previously mined cores contain significant residual uranium (U) present as coatings on pyrite and carbonaceous fragments. Coffinite was identified in three samples. Core samples with higher organic (> 1 wt.%) and clay (> 6–17 wt.%) contents yielded higher 234U/238U activity ratios (1.0–1.48) than those with lower organic and clay fractions. The ISR mining was inefficient in mobilizing U from the carbonaceous materials, which retained considerable U concentrations (374–11,534 ppm). This is in contrast with the deeper part of the ore zone, which was highly depleted in U and had very low 234U/238U activity ratios. This probably is due to greater contact with the lixiviant (leaching solution) during ISR mining. EXAFS analyses performed on grains with the highest U and Fe concentrations reveal that Fe is present in a reduced form as pyrite and U occurs mostly as U(IV) complexed by organic matter or as U(IV) phases of carbonate complexes. Moreover, U–O distances

  18. Chemical and sulphur isotope compositions of pyrite in the Jaduguda U (-Cu-Fe) deposit, Singhbhum shear zone, eastern India: Implications for sulphide mineralization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pal, Dipak C.; Sarkar, Surajit; Mishra, Biswajit; Sarangi, A. K.

    2011-06-01

    The Jaduguda U (-Cu-Fe) deposit in the Singhbhum shear zone has been the most productive uranium deposit in India. Pyrite occurs as disseminated grains or in sulphide stringers and veins in the ore zone. Veins, both concordant and discordant to the pervasive foliation, are mineralogically either simple comprising pyrite ± chalcopyrite or complex comprising pyrite + chalcopyrite + pentlandite + millerite. Nickel-sulphide minerals, though fairly common in concordant veins, are very rare in the discordant veins. Pyrite in Ni-sulphide association is commonly replaced by pentlandite at the grain boundary or along micro-cracks. Based on concentrations of Co and Ni, pyrite is classified as: type-A - high Co (up to 30800 ppm), no/low Ni; type-B - moderate Co (up to 16500 ppm) and moderate to high Ni (up to 32700 ppm); type-C - no/low Co and high Ni (up to 43000 ppm); type-D - neither Co nor Ni. Textural and compositional data of pyrites suggest that the hydrothermal fluid responsible for pre-/early-shearing mineralization evolved from Co-rich to Ni-rich and the late-/post-shearing fluid was largely depleted in minor elements. Sulphur isotope compositions of pyrite mostly furnish positive values ranging between -0.33 and 12.06‰. Composite samples of pyrites with only type-A compositions and mixed samples of type-A and type-B are consistently positive. However, pyrite with mixed type-A and type-C and pyrite with type-D compositions have negative values but close to 0‰. By integrating minor element and sulphur isotope compositions of pyrite in conjunction with other published data on the Jaduguda deposit, it is proposed that reduced sulphur for the precipitation of most pyrites (type-A, type-B) was likely derived from isotopically heavy modified seawater. However, some later sulphur might be magmatic in origin remobilized from existing sulphides in the mafic volcanic rocks in the shear zone.

  19. Derivation of soil screening thresholds to protect chisel-toothed kangaroo rat from uranium mine waste in northern Arizona

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hinck, Jo E.; Linder, Greg L.; Otton, James K.; Finger, Susan E.; Little, Edward E.; Tillitt, Donald E.

    2013-01-01

    Chemical data from soil and weathered waste material samples collected from five uranium mines north of the Grand Canyon (three reclaimed, one mined but not reclaimed, and one never mined) were used in a screening-level risk analysis for the Arizona chisel-toothed kangaroo rat (Dipodomys microps leucotis); risks from radiation exposure were not evaluated. Dietary toxicity reference values were used to estimate soil-screening thresholds presenting risk to kangaroo rats. Sensitivity analyses indicated that body weight critically affected outcomes of exposed-dose calculations; juvenile kangaroo rats were more sensitive to the inorganic constituent toxicities than adult kangaroo rats. Species-specific soil-screening thresholds were derived for arsenic (137 mg/kg), cadmium (16 mg/kg), copper (1,461 mg/kg), lead (1,143 mg/kg), nickel (771 mg/kg), thallium (1.3 mg/kg), uranium (1,513 mg/kg), and zinc (731 mg/kg) using toxicity reference values that incorporate expected chronic field exposures. Inorganic contaminants in soils within and near the mine areas generally posed minimal risk to kangaroo rats. Most exceedances of soil thresholds were for arsenic and thallium and were associated with weathered mine wastes.

  20. Uranium mining: ore treatment and environmental control. January 1966-May 1981 (citations from the Metals abstracts data base). Report for Jan 66-May 81

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1981-05-01

    Various processes for the beneficiation of uranium bearing ores are presented. Included are acidic and bacterial leaching, chlorination, solvent extraction, and precipitation. Analytical techniques for the determination of uranium in ores and leachates, and for processes such as solution mining of deep mineral deposits, are also described. (Contains 75 citations fully indexed and including a title list.)

  1. Radionuclides in the lichen-caribou-human food chain near uranium mining operations in northern Saskatchewan, Canada.

    PubMed Central

    Thomas, P A; Gates, T E

    1999-01-01

    The richest uranium ore bodies ever discovered (Cigar Lake and McArthur River) are presently under development in northeastern Saskatchewan. This subarctic region is also home to several operating uranium mines and aboriginal communities, partly dependent upon caribou for subsistence. Because of concerns over mining impacts and the efficient transfer of airborne radionuclides through the lichen-caribou-human food chain, radionuclides were analyzed in tissues from 18 barren-ground caribou (Rangifer tarandus groenlandicus). Radionuclides included uranium (U), radium (226Ra), lead (210Pb), and polonium (210Po) from the uranium decay series; the fission product (137Cs) from fallout; and naturally occurring potassium (40K). Natural background radiation doses average 2-4 mSv/year from cosmic rays, external gamma rays, radon inhalation, and ingestion of food items. The ingestion of 210Po and 137Cs when caribou are consumed adds to these background doses. The dose increment was 0.85 mSv/year for adults who consumed 100 g of caribou meat per day and up to 1.7 mSv/year if one liver and 10 kidneys per year were also consumed. We discuss the cancer risk from these doses. Concentration ratios (CRs), relating caribou tissues to lichens or rumen (stomach) contents, were calculated to estimate food chain transfer. The CRs for caribou muscle ranged from 1 to 16% for U, 6 to 25% for 226Ra, 1 to 2% for 210Pb, 6 to 26% for 210Po, 260 to 370% for 137Cs, and 76 to 130% for 40K, with 137Cs biomagnifying by a factor of 3-4. These CRs are useful in predicting caribou meat concentrations from the lichens, measured in monitoring programs, for the future evaluation of uranium mining impacts on this critical food chain. Images Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3 Figure 4 Figure 5 Figure 6 Figure 7 Figure 8 Figure 9 PMID:10378999

  2. Uranium Chemical and Radiological Risk Assessment for Freshwater Ecosystems Receiving Ore Mining Releases: Principles, Equations and Parameters

    SciTech Connect

    Beaugelin-Seiller, K.; Garnier-Laplace, J.; Gilbin, R.; Adam, C.

    2008-08-07

    Uranium is an element that has the solely characteristic to behave as significant hazard both from a chemical and radiological point of view. Exclusively of natural occurrence, its distribution into the environment may be influenced by human activities, such as nuclear fuel cycle, military use of depleted uranium, or coal and phosphate fertilizer use, which finally may impact freshwater ecosystems. Until now, the associated environmental impact and risk assessments were conducted separately. We propose here to apply the same methodology to evaluate the ecological risk due to potential chemotoxicity and radiotoxicity of uranium. This methodology is articulated into the classical four steps (EC, 2003: problem formulation, effect and exposure analysis, risk characterisation). The problem formulation dealt both with uranium viewed as a chemical element and as the three isotopes 234, 235 and 238 of uranium and their main daughters. Then, the exposure analysis of non-human species was led on the basis of a common conceptual model of the fluxes occurring in freshwater ecosystems. No-effect values for the ecosystem were derived using the same effect data treatment in parallel. A Species Sensitivity Distribution was fitted: (1) to the ecotoxicity data sets illustrating uranium chemotoxicity and allowing the estimation of a Predicted-No-Effect-Concentration for uranium in water expressed in {mu}g/L; (2) to radiotoxicity effect data as it was done within the ERICA project, allowing the estimation of a Predicted No-Effect-Dose-Rate (in {mu}Gy{center_dot}h{sup -1}). Two methods were then applied to characterize the risk to the ecosystem: a screening method using the risk quotient approach, involving for the radiological aspect back calculation of the water limiting concentration from the PNEDR for each isotope taken into account and a probabilistic risk assessment. A former uranium ore mining case-study will help in demonstrating the application of the whole methodology.

  3. Model for detection and assessment of abiotic stress caused by uranium mining in European Black Pine landscapes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Filchev, Lachezar; Roumenina, Eugenia

    2013-10-01

    The article presents the results obtained from a study for detection and assessment of abiotic stress through pollution with heavy metals, metalloids, and natural radionuclides in European Black Pine (Pinus nigra L.) forests caused by uranium mining using ground-based biogeochemical, biophysical, and field spectrometry data. The forests are located on a territory subject to underground and open uranium mining. An operational model of the study is proposed. The areas subject to technogeochemical load are outlined based on the aggregate pollution index Zc. Laboratory and field spectrometry data were used to detect the signals of abiotic stress at pixel level. The methods used for determination of stressed and unstressed black pine forests are: four vegetation indices (TCARI, MCARI, MTVI 2, and PRI 1) for stress detection, and the position, depth, asymmetry, and shift of the red-edge. Based on the "blue shift" and the depth and position of the red-edge, registered by the laboratory analysis and field spectral reflectance, it is established that coniferous forests subject to abiotic stress show an increase in total chlorophyll content and carotene. It has been found that the vegetation indices MTVI 2 and PRI 1, as well as the combination of vegetation indices and pigments may be used as a direct indicator of abiotic stress in coniferous forests caused by uranium mining.

  4. Reanalysis of data on particle size distribution of radon progeny in uranium mines

    SciTech Connect

    Knutson, E.O.; George, A.C.

    1992-12-31

    We reanalyzed 26 samples from radon progeny particle-size measurements made in 1971 in four New Mexico uranium mines. These data were obtained with parallel disk diffusion batteries (still in use at our laboratory), together with a Mercer-type diffusion sampler. Seventeen additional samples taken with a cascade impactor were not reanalyzed. The original data analysis, reported in two separate publications, was based on the assumption that the progeny consist of distinct attached and unattached species that can be sampled and analyzed separately. In the new analysis, we treated the progeny as a continuous spectrum of particle sizes, ranging from 1 to 1000 nm, covering both attached and unattached progeny. This was achieved by combining the diffusion battery and diffusion sampler data, and making one calculation. In the new analysis, the assumption of a unimodal lognormal size distribution was dropped. The new calculations showed that 9 of the 26 distributions were unimodal, agreeing closely with the original analyses. Eleven of the new distributions had a bimodal structure, with widely separated modes evoking the classical idea of attached and unattached radon progeny. The remaining six cases had bimodal structures that were not distinct and were therefore not consistent with the classical picture. A dose conversion factor has been computed for each particle size spectrum, yielding values from 1.6 to 7.8 Gy m{sup 3} J{sup -1} h{sup -1}, generally higher than the previously cited values. The highest values correspond to mine locations with low equilibrium factors (<0.1) and severe disequilibrium among progeny nuclides.

  5. Preliminary study of a radiological survey in an abandoned uranium mining area in Madagascar

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    N, Rabesiranana; M, Rasolonirina; F, Solonjara A.; Andriambololona., Raoelina; L, Mabit

    2010-05-01

    The region of Vinaninkarena located in central Madagascar (47°02'40"E, 19°57'17"S), is known to be a high natural radioactive area. Uranium ore was extracted in this region during the 1950s and the early 1960s. In the mid-1960s, mining activities were stopped and the site abandoned. In the meantime, the region, which used to be without any inhabitants, has recently been occupied by new settlers with presumed increase in exposure of the local population to natural ionizing radiation. In order to assess radiological risk, a survey to assess the soil natural radioactivity background was conducted during the year 2004. This study was implemented in the frame of the FADES Project SP99v1b_21 entitled: Assessment of the environmental pollution by multidisciplinary approach, and the International Atomic Energy Agency Technical Cooperation Project MAG 7002 entitled: Effects of air and water pollution on human health. Global Positioning System (GPS) was used to determine the geographical coordinates of the top soil samples (0-15cm) collected. The sampling was performed using a multi integrated scale approach to estimate the spatial variability of the parameters under investigation (U, Th and K) using geo-statistical approach. A total of 205 soil samples was collected in the study site (16 km2). After humidity correction, the samples were sealed in 100 cm3 cylindrical air-tight plastic containers and stored for more than 6 months to reach a secular equilibrium between parents and short-lived progeny (226Ra and progeny, 238U and 234Th). Measurements were performed using a high-resolution HPGe Gamma-detector with a 30% relative efficiency and an energy resolution of 1.8 keV at 1332.5 keV, allowing the determination of the uranium and thorium series and 40K. In case of secular equilibrium, a non-gamma-emitting radionuclide activity was deduced from its gamma emitting progeny. This was the case for 238U (from 234Th), 226Ra (from 214Pb and 214Bi) and 232Th (from 228Ac, 212Pb or

  6. In situ effects of metal contamination from former uranium mining sites on the health of the three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus, L.).

    PubMed

    Le Guernic, Antoine; Sanchez, Wilfried; Bado-Nilles, Anne; Palluel, Olivier; Turies, Cyril; Chadili, Edith; Cavalié, Isabelle; Delahaut, Laurence; Adam-Guillermin, Christelle; Porcher, Jean-Marc; Geffard, Alain; Betoulle, Stéphane; Gagnaire, Béatrice

    2016-08-01

    Human activities have led to increased levels of various pollutants including metals in aquatic ecosystems. Increase of metallic concentrations in aquatic environments represents a potential risk to exposed organisms, including fish. The aim of this study was to characterize the environmental risk to fish health linked to a polymetallic contamination from former uranium mines in France. This contamination is characterized by metals naturally present in the areas (manganese and iron), uranium, and metals (aluminum and barium) added to precipitate uranium and its decay products. Effects from mine releases in two contaminated ponds (Pontabrier for Haute-Vienne Department and Saint-Pierre for Cantal Department) were compared to those assessed at four other ponds outside the influence of mine tailings (two reference ponds/department). In this way, 360 adult three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) were caged for 28 days in these six ponds before biomarker analyses (immune system, antioxidant system, biometry, histology, DNA integrity, etc.). Ponds receiving uranium mine tailings presented higher concentrations of uranium, manganese and aluminum, especially for the Haute-Vienne Department. This uranium contamination could explain the higher bioaccumulation of this metal in fish caged in Pontabrier and Saint-Pierre Ponds. In the same way, many fish biomarkers (antioxidant and immune systems, acetylcholinesterase activity and biometric parameters) were impacted by this environmental exposure to mine tailings. This study shows the interest of caging and the use of a multi-biomarker approach in the study of a complex metallic contamination. PMID:27272751

  7. Radon dispersion modeling and dose assessment for uranium mine ventilation shaft exhausts under neutral atmospheric stability.

    PubMed

    Xie, Dong; Wang, Hanqing; Kearfott, Kimberlee J; Liu, Zehua; Mo, Shunquan

    2014-03-01

    In the present study, the roles of atmospheric wind profiles in the neutral atmosphere and surface roughness parameters in a complex terrain were examined to determine their impacts on radon ((222)Rn) dispersion from an actual uranium mine ventilation shaft. Simulations were completed on (222)Rn dispersion extending from the shaft to a vulnerable distance, near the location of an occupied farmhouse. The eight dispersion scenarios for the ventilation shaft source included four downwind velocities (0.5, 1.0, 2.0 and 4.0 m s(-1)) and two underlying surface roughness characteristics (0.1 m and 1.0 m). (222)Rn distributions and elevated pollution regions were identified. Effective dose estimation methods involving a historical weighting of wind speeds in the direction of interest coupled to the complex dispersion model were proposed. Using this approach, the radiation effects on the residents assumed to be outside at the location of the farm house 250 m downwind from the ventilation shaft outlet were computed. The maximum effective dose rate calculated for the residents at the outside of the farm house was 2.2 mSv y(-1), which is less than the low limit action level of 3-10 mSv y(-1) recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) occupational exposure action level for radon. PMID:24378730

  8. Revegetation of a uranium mine dump by using fertilizer treated sessile oaks.

    PubMed

    Lange, Christian A; Böcker, Lutz; Katzur, Joachim

    2011-01-01

    The rehabilitation of contaminated sites and the establishment of suitable trees for revegetation purposes is often problematic due to the mostly suboptimal nutrient supply and the poor humus reservoir. For these reasons hydrogels (Stockosorb) and novel humus substitutes (NOVIHUM), serving as long lasting fertilizer (LLF), were recently tested successfully. At the beginning of this multiyear study, those LLFs were administered to the root zone of young sessile oaks (Quercus petraea (Mattuschka) Liebl.), growing in test trials on a uranium mine dump in Schlema (Germany). To quantify the effect of LLFs on plant vitality, chlorophyll a fluorescence measurements and JIP test analyses were used. The results revealed up to 49% higher average photosynthetic vitality (PI(ABS)) of the LLF treated plants compared to controls. Particularly in the first test year, the efficiency of photosynthetic electron transport was strongly increased. This stimulation of photosynthetic activity was supported by direct measurements showing up to 129% increased diameter growth of the treated plants after a four year experimental period. Furthermore an increase of the maximum water holding capacity of the dump soil was attained by using LLFs. Overall, the findings reported here represent a feasible, ecologically justifiable reforestation method with a low environmental hazard potential. PMID:21598765

  9. Accumulation of arsenic in Lemna gibba L. (duckweed) in tailing waters of two abandoned uranium mining sites in Saxony, Germany.

    PubMed

    Mkandawire, Martin; Dudel, E Gert

    2005-01-01

    Accumulation of arsenic in Lemna gibba L. was investigated in tailing waters of abandoned uranium mine sites, following the hypothesis that arsenic poses contamination risks in post uranium mining in Saxony, Germany. Consequently, macrophytes growing in mine tailing waters accumulate high amounts of arsenic, which might be advantageous for biomonitoring arsenic transfer to higher trophic levels, and for phytoremediation. Water and L. gibba sample collected from pond on tailing dumps of abandoned mine sites at Lengenfeld and Neuensalz-Mechelgrun were analysed for arsenic. Laboratory cultures in nutrient solutions modified with six arsenic and three PO(4)(3-) concentrations were conducted to gain insight into the arsenic-L. gibba interaction. Arsenic accumulation coefficients in L. gibba were 10 times as much as the background concentrations in both tailing waters and nutrient solutions. Arsenic accumulations in L. gibba increased with arsenic concentration in the milieu but they decreased with phosphorus concentration. Significant reductions in arsenic accumulation in L. gibba were observed with the addition of PO(4)(3-) at all six arsenic test concentrations in laboratory experiments. Plant samples from laboratory trials had on average twofold higher bioaccumulation coefficients than tailing water at similar arsenic concentrations. This would be attributed to strong interaction among chemical components, and competition among ions in natural aquatic environment. The results of the study indicate that L. gibba can be a preliminary bioindicator for arsenic transfer from substrate to plants and might be used to monitor the transfer of arsenic from lower to higher trophic levels in the abandoned mine sites. There is also the potential of using L. gibba L. for arsenic phytoremediation of mine tailing waters because of its high accumulation capacity as demonstrated in this study. Transfer of arsenic contamination transported by accumulations in L. gibba carried with

  10. Bioavailability and microbial adaptation to elevated levels of uranium in an acid, organic topsoil forming on an old mine spoil.

    PubMed

    Joner, Erik Jautris; Munier-Lamy, Colette; Gouget, Barbara

    2007-08-01

    An old mine spoil at a 19th-century mining site with considerable residues of uranium (400-800 mg U/kg) was investigated with respect to U concentrations in soil and plants and tolerance to U in the soil microbial community in order to describe the bioavailability of U. Measurements of soil fractions representing water-soluble U, easily exchangeable U, and U bound to humified organic matter showed that all fractions contained elevated concentrations of U. Plant U concentrations were only 10 times higher at the mine spoil site compared to the reference site (3 mg U/kg vs 0.3 mg U/kg), while the most easily available soil fractions contained 0.18 to 0.86 mg U/kg soil at the mine spoil. An ecotoxicity bioassay using incorporation of [3H]thymidine into the indigenous microbial communities of the two soils in the presence of increasing U concentrations showed that microorganisms at the mining site were sensitive to U but also that they had acquired a substantial tolerance toward U (EC50, the effective concentration reducing activity by 50% of UO2-citrate was approximately 120 microM as compared to 30 microM in the reference soil). In the assay, more than 40% of the microbial activity was maintained in the presence of 1 mM UO2-citrate versus 3% in the reference soil. We conclude that U-enriched mining waste can contain sufficiently elevated concentrations of bioavailable U to affect indigenous microorganisms and that bioavailable U imposes a selection pressure that favors the development of a highly uranium-tolerant microbial community, while plant uptake of U remains low. PMID:17702337

  11. An evaluation of health risk to the public as a consequence of in situ uranium mining in Wyoming, USA

    SciTech Connect

    Ruedig, Elizabeth; Johnson, Thomas E.

    2015-08-30

    In the United States there is considerable public concern regarding the health effects of in situ recovery uranium mining. These concerns focus principally on exposure to contaminants mobilized in groundwater by the mining process. However, the risk arising as a result of mining must be viewed in light of the presence of naturally occurring uranium ore and other constituents which comprise a latent hazard. The United States Environmental Protection Agency recently proposed new guidelines for successful restoration of an in situ uranium mine by limiting concentrations of thirteen groundwater constituents: arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, selenium, silver, nitrate (as nitrogen), molybdenum, radium, total uranium, and gross α activity. We investigated the changes occurring to these constituents at an ISR uranium mine in Wyoming, USA by comparing groundwater quality at baseline measurement to that at stability (post-restoration) testing. Of the groundwater constituents considered, only uranium and radium-226 showed significant (p < 0.05) deviation from site-wide baseline conditions in matched-wells. Uranium concentrations increased by a factor of 5.6 (95% CI 3.6–8.9 times greater) while radium-226 decreased by a factor of about one half (95% CI 0.42–0.75 times less). Change in risk was calculated using the RESRAD (onsite) code for an individual exposed as a resident-farmer; total radiation dose to a resident farmer decreased from pre-to post-mining by about 5.2 mSv y–1. As a result, higher concentrations of uranium correspond to increased biomarkers of nephrotoxicity, however the clinical significance of this increase is unclear.

  12. Biosorption of metal and salt tolerant microbial isolates from a former uranium mining area. Their impact on changes in rare earth element patterns in acid mine drainage.

    PubMed

    Haferburg, Götz; Merten, Dirk; Büchel, Georg; Kothe, Erika

    2007-12-01

    The concentration of metals in microbial habitats influenced by mining operations can reach enormous values. Worldwide, much emphasis is placed on the research of resistance and biosorptive capacities of microorganisms suitable for bioremediation purposes. Using a collection of isolates from a former uranium mining area in Eastern Thuringia, Germany, this study presents three Gram-positive bacterial strains with distinct metal tolerances. These strains were identified as members of the genera Bacillus, Micrococcus and Streptomyces. Acid mine drainage (AMD) originating from the same mining area is characterized by high metal concentrations of a broad range of elements and a very low pH. AMD was analyzed and used as incubation solution. The sorption of rare earth elements (REE), aluminum, cobalt, copper, manganese, nickel, strontium, and uranium through selected strains was studied during a time course of four weeks. Biosorption was investigated after one hour, one week and four weeks by analyzing the concentrations of metals in supernatant and biomass. Additionally, dead biomass was investigated after four weeks of incubation. The maximum of metal removal was reached after one week. Up to 80% of both Al and Cu, and more than 60% of U was shown to be removed from the solution. High concentrations of metals could be bound to the biomass, as for example 2.2 mg/g U. The strains could survive four weeks of incubation. Distinct and different patterns of rare earth elements of the inoculated and non-inoculated AMD water were observed. Changes in REE patterns hint at different binding types of heavy metals regarding incubation time and metabolic activity of the cells. PMID:18072248

  13. Estimation of distribution coefficient of natural radionuclides in soil around uranium mines and its effect with ionic strength of water.

    PubMed

    Mishra, S; Maity, S; Pandit, G G

    2012-11-01

    The distribution coefficient, K(d) in soil is an important parameter to predict the migration of contaminants. In this study, uranium (U) and its decay products thorium (Th), radium (Ra), bismuth (Bi), lead (Pb) and polonium (Po), which may contaminate the soil and ground water around uranium mining areas, have been considered. Soil and ground water samples were collected from a proposed uranium mining site in India. The soil samples were characterised for different parameters affecting the K(d) values. The batch sorption method was employed to measure the K(d) of different radionuclides. The important factors affecting the batch method for K(d) estimation were identified and optimised. The variation of K(d) was observed with different ionic strength water samples. Results showed high K(d) values for Th(IV), Po(IV) and Pb(II) (log K(d) ∼4) and low K(d) (log K(d) ∼2-3) for U(VI), Ra(II) and Bi(III) in all three types of water with different ionic strength. PMID:22927651

  14. Development of risk maps to minimize uranium exposures in the Navajo Churchrock mining district

    PubMed Central

    2009-01-01

    Background Decades of improper disposal of uranium-mining wastes on the Navajo Nation has resulted in adverse human and ecological health impacts as well as socio-cultural problems. As the Navajo people become increasingly aware of the contamination problems, there is a need to develop a risk-communication strategy to properly inform tribal members of the extent and severity of the health risks. To be most effective, this strategy needs to blend accepted risk-communication techniques with Navajo perspectives such that the strategy can be used at the community level to inform culturally- and toxicologically-relevant decisions about land and water use as well as mine-waste remediation. Objective The objective of this study was to develop GIS-based thematic maps as communication tools to clearly identify high risk exposure areas and offer alternatives to minimize public and ecological health impacts. Methods Thematic maps were produced that incorporated data derived from environmental sampling and public health surveys. The maps show the location and quality of unregulated water resources and identify regulated water sources that could be used as alternatives. In addition, the maps show the location of contaminated soil and sediment areas in which disturbance of surface deposits should be avoided. Preliminary feedback was collected from an informal Navajo working group to assess the clarity and efficacy of this proposed communication method. Results The working group found the maps to be both clear and effective, and made suggestions for improvements, such as the addition of more map features. The working group predicted that once the maps are presented to the public, water hauling and soil use behaviors will change, and dialogue with chapter officials will be initiated to accelerate further risk reduction efforts. Implications Because risk communication is complicated by language barriers, lack of infrastructure, and historical mistrust of non-Navajo researchers

  15. Bioreduction of U(VI) in groundwater under anoxic conditions from a decommissioned in situ leaching uranium mine.

    PubMed

    Ding, De-xin; Li, Shi-mi; Hu, Nan; Xu, Fei; Li, Guang-yue; Wang, Yong-dong

    2015-04-01

    To determine whether the U(VI) in groundwater under anoxic conditions at a decommissioned in situ leaching (ISL) uranium mine could be bioreduced, groundwater samples containing suspended sediments were taken from the mine, experimental setup was fabricated, and the jar containing the groundwater in the setup was amended with ethanol and incubated under anoxic conditions. The variations of pH, chemical oxygen demand, nitrate, sulfate, U(VI), and dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations were monitored during the incubation. U(VI) concentration dropped to 0.043 mg/L when the stimulated microorganisms were active, and it then increased to 0.835 mg/L within 10 days after the metabolism of the stimulated microorganisms was inhibited. The DO variation was observed in the amended jar during the incubation, and the metabolism of the stimulated microorganisms was found to affect the DO concentration. Firmicutes were found to be dominant in the sediments in the amended jar through the 16S rRNA pyrosequencing. The results indicate that it is possible to bioreduce U(VI) in the groundwater under anoxic conditions at the decommissioned ISL uranium mine by adding carbon source into it without removing the oxygen from it. PMID:25341364

  16. Evaluation of water column and sediment toxicity from an abandoned uranium mine using a battery of bioassays.

    PubMed

    Antunes, S C; de Figueiredo, D R; Marques, S M; Castro, B B; Pereira, R; Gonçalves, F

    2007-03-15

    Uranium mining activities in Cunha Baixa, Mangualde (Portugal), were extensive between 1967 and 1993, with high production of poor ore. Ore exploitation left millions of tons of tailings in the surrounding area, close to human houses. Contamination of the area (water and soil compartment) presently represents a serious hazard to humans and wildlife. The aim of this work was to evaluate the acute toxicity of water and sediments from a pond that floods a uranium mine pit, in two periods (spring and autumn). High contents of metals were found in water samples (chiefly Mn, Fe, Al, U, Sr). A battery of assays was applied to screen the acute toxicity of the different compartments using algae, crustaceans and dipterans. Results showed that the sediments were non-toxic, unlike the superficial water. Water toxicity was higher in the autumn, when the effluent was more acidic, compared to spring. In the water toxicity assays, the relative sensitivity of the test species used was Daphnia longispina>Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata>Daphnia magna. The present study is part of the chemical and ecotoxicological characterisation of the aquatic compartment performed in the Tier 1 of the Ecological Risk Assessment of the Cunha Baixa mining area. PMID:17316767

  17. Geochemical control on uranium(IV) mobility in a mining-impacted wetland.

    PubMed

    Wang, Yuheng; Bagnoud, Alexandre; Suvorova, Elena; McGivney, Eric; Chesaux, Lydie; Phrommavanh, Vannapha; Descostes, Michael; Bernier-Latmani, Rizlan

    2014-09-01

    Wetlands often act as sinks for uranium and other trace elements. Our previous work at a mining-impacted wetland in France showed that a labile noncrystalline U(IV) species consisting of U(IV) bound to Al-P-Fe-Si aggregates was predominant in the soil at locations exhibiting a U-containing clay-rich layer within the top 30 cm. Additionally, in the porewater, the association of U(IV) with Fe(II) and organic matter colloids significantly increased U(IV) mobility in the wetland. In the present study, within the same wetland, we further demonstrate that the speciation of U at a location not impacted by the clay-rich layer is a different noncrystalline U(IV) species, consisting of U(IV) bound to organic matter in soil. We also show that the clay-poor location includes an abundant sulfate supply and active microbial sulfate reduction that induce substantial pyrite (FeS2) precipitation. As a result, Fe(II) concentrations in the porewater are much lower than those at clay-impacted zones. U porewater concentrations (0.02-0.26 μM) are also considerably lower than those at the clay-impacted locations (0.21-3.4 μM) resulting in minimal U mobility. In both cases, soil-associated U represents more than 99% of U in the wetland. We conclude that the low U mobility reported at clay-poor locations is due to the limited association of Fe(II) with organic matter colloids in porewater and/or higher stability of the noncrystalline U(IV) species in soil at those locations. PMID:25050937

  18. Glaciimonas singularis sp. nov., isolated from a uranium mine wastewater treatment plant.

    PubMed

    Chung, Ana Paula; Tiago, Igor; Nobre, M Fernanda; Veríssimo, António; Morais, Paula V

    2013-06-01

    A bacterial strain, A2-57(T), recovered from a water sample collected in a uranium mine was taxonomically studied in detail. This strain was a Gram-reaction-negative, rod-shaped bacterium that grew optimally at 25 °C and at pH 6.0-7.0 and had a DNA G+C content of 55.0 mol%. Ubiquinone 8 (UQ-8) was the predominant respiratory quinone and the major fatty acids were C16:0, C17:0 cyclo, summed feature 3 (C16:1ω6c and/or ω7c and/or C15:0 iso 2-OH) and C18:1ω7c. Phylogenetic analysis based on 16S rRNA gene sequences showed that strain A2-57(T) belonged to the family Oxalobacteraceae and formed a distinct branch with Glaciimonas immobilis Cr9-30(T). Strain A2-57(T) shared approximately 97.3% 16S rRNA sequence similarity with G. immobilis Cr9-30(T) and also showed high sequence similarity with members of the genera Herbaspirillum (96.3-97.0%) and Collimonas (96.2-97.0%). Although phylogenetically closely related to the type strain of G. immobilis, the low level of DNA-DNA hybridization between the two strains (21.6%) and several physiological and biochemical properties indicated that the novel strain could be clearly distinguished from G. immobilis LMG 25547(T). Therefore, it is concluded that strain A2-57(T) represents a novel species of the genus Glaciimonas, for which the name Glaciimonas singularis sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is A2-57(T) (=CIP 110539(T)=LMG 27070(T)). PMID:23178726

  19. Paleontological analysis of a lacustrine carbonaceous uranium deposit at the Anderson mine, Date Creek basin, west-central Arizona (U.S.A.)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Otton, J.K.; Bradbury, J.P.; Forester, R.M.; Hanley, J.H.

    1990-01-01

    The Tertiary sedimentary sequence of the Date Creek basin area of Arizona is composed principally of intertonguing alluvial-fan and lacustrine deposits. The lacustrine rocks contain large intermediate- to, locally, high-grade uranium deposits that form one of the largest uranium resources in the United States (an estimated 670,000 tons of U3O8 at an average grade of 0.023% is indicated by drilling to date). At the Anderson mine, about 50,000 tons of U3O8 occurs in lacustrine carbonaceous siltstones and mudstones (using a cutoff grade of 0.01%). The Anderson mine constitutes a new class of ore deposit, a lacustrine carbonaceous uranium deposit. Floral and faunal remains at the Anderson mine played a critical role in creating and documenting conditions necessary for uranium mineralization. Organic-rich, uraniferous rocks at the Anderson mine contain plant remains and ostracodes having remarkably detailed preservation of internal features because of infilling by opaline silica. This preservation suggests that the alkaline lake waters in the mine area contained high concentrations of dissolved silica and that silicification occurred rapidly, before compaction or cementation of the enclosing sediment. Uranium coprecipitated with the silica. Thinly laminated, dark-colored, siliceous beds contain centric diatoms preserved with carbonaceous material suggesting that lake waters at the mine were locally deep and anoxic. These alkaline, silica-charged waters and a stagnant, anoxic environment in parts of the lake were necessary conditions for the precipitation of large amounts of uranium in the lake-bottom sediments. Sediments at the Anderson mine contain plant remains and pollen that were derived from diverse vegetative zones suggesting about 1500 m of relief in the area at the time of deposition. The pollen suggests that the valley floor was semiarid and subtropical, whereas nearby mountains supported temperate deciduous forests. ?? 1990.

  20. The dendroanalysis of oak trees as a method of biomonitoring past and recent contamination in an area influenced by uranium mining.

    PubMed

    Märten, Arno; Berger, Dietrich; Köhler, Mirko; Merten, Dirk

    2015-12-01

    We reconstructed the contamination history of an area influenced by 40 years of uranium mining and subsequent remediation actions using dendroanalysis (i.e., the determination of the elemental content of tree rings). The uranium content in the tree rings of four individual oak trees (Quercus sp.) was determined by laser ablation with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). This technique allows the investigation of trace metals in solid samples with a spatial resolution of 250 μm and a detection limit below 0.01 μg/g for uranium. The investigations show that in three of the four oaks sampled, there were temporally similar uranium concentrations. These were approximately 2 orders of magnitude higher (0.15 to 0.4 μg/g) than those from before the period of active mining (concentrations below 0.01 μg/g). After the mining was terminated and the area was restored, the uranium contents in the wood decreased by approximately 1 order of magnitude. The similar radial uranium distribution patterns of the three trees were confirmed by correlation analysis. In combination with the results of soil analyses, it was determined that there was a heterogeneous contamination in the forest investigated. This could be confirmed by pre-remediation soil uranium contents from literature. The uranium contents in the tree rings of the oaks investigated reflect the contamination history of the study area. This study demonstrates that the dendrochemical analysis of oak tree rings is a suitable technique for investigating past and recent uranium contamination in mining areas. PMID:26104903

  1. Preliminary investigation of the elemental variation and diagenesis of a tabular uranium deposit, La Sal Mine, San Juan County, Utah

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Brooks, Robert A.; Campbell, John A.

    1976-01-01

    Ore in the La Sal mine, San Juan County, Utah, occurs as a typical tabular-type uranium deposit of the-Colorado Plateau. Uranium-vanadium occurs in the Salt Wash Member of the Jurassic Morrison Formation. Chemical and petrographic analyses were used to determine elemental variation and diagenetic aspects across the orebody. Vanadium is concentrated in the dark clay matrix, which constitutes visible ore. Uranium content is greater above the vanadium zone. Calcium, carbonate carbon, and lead show greater than fifty-fold increase across the ore zone, whereas copper and organic carbon show only a several-fold increase. Large molybdenum concentrations are present in and above the tabular layer, and large selenium concentrations occur below the uranium zone within the richest vanadium zone. Iron is enriched in the vanadium horizon. Chromium is depleted from above the ore and strongly enriched below. Elements that vary directly with the vanadium content include magnesium, iron, selenium, zirconium, strontium, titanium, lead, boron, yttrium, and scandium. The diagenetic sequence is as follows: (1) formation of secondary quartz overgrowths as cement; (2) infilling and lining of remaining pores with amber opaline material; (3) formation of vanadium-rich clay matrix, which has replaced overgrowths as well as quartz grains; (4) replacement of overgrowths and detrital grains by calcite; (5) infilling of pores with barite and the introduction of pyrite and marcasite.

  2. Contribution for tier 1 of the ecological risk assessment of Cunha Baixa uranium mine (Central Portugal): I soil chemical characterization.

    PubMed

    Pereira, R; Antunes, S C; Marques, S M; Gonçalves, F

    2008-02-15

    Within the tier 1 of a site specific risk assessment, the pseudo-total concentrations (extracted with aqua regia) and the potential mobile fractions of metals were determined to perform a preliminary evaluation of risks posed by contaminated soils from an abandoned uranium mine (Mangualde, Central Portugal). Considering the mobile fractions of metals, extracted with artificial rain water, aluminium and uranium were the most concerning elements, since their concentrations were above soil quality criteria values (SQGVs) established for both elements. However, according to the evaluation based on potential mobile fractions of elements, rather than on pseudo-total metal concentrations the risks were limited to sites within the exploitation area, where contamination derives mainly from past in-situ leaching activities of pore ore as well as from the deposition of sludge from the effluent pond. The exclusion of other sites under evaluation, from the risk assessment process, requires additional data provided by soil screening ecotoxicological assays. PMID:17919686

  3. Uranium*

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grenthe, Ingmar; Drożdżyński, Janusz; Fujino, Takeo; Buck, Edgar C.; Albrecht-Schmitt, Thomas E.; Wolf, Stephen F.

    Uranium compounds have been used as colorants since Roman times (Caley, 1948). Uranium was discovered as a chemical element in a pitchblende specimen by Martin Heinrich Klaproth, who published the results of his work in 1789. Pitchblende is an impure uranium oxide, consisting partly of the most reduced oxide uraninite (UO2) and partly of U3O8. Earlier mineralogists had considered this mineral to be a complex oxide of iron and tungsten or of iron and zinc, but Klaproth showed by dissolving it partially in strong acid that the solutions yielded precipitates that were different from those of known elements. Therefore he concluded that it contained a new element (Mellor, 1932); he named it after the planet Uranus, which had been discovered in 1781 by William Herschel, who named it after the ancient Greek deity of the Heavens.

  4. Geology, petrology, and chemistry of the Leadville Dolomite: host for uranium at the Pitch Mine, Saguache County, Colorado

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nash, J. Thomas

    1979-01-01

    Newly documented uranium ore in the Pitch Mine occurs chiefly in brecciated Mississippian Leadville Dolomite along the Chester reverse fault zone, and to a lesser extent in sandstone, siltstone, and carbonaceous shale of the Pennsylvanian Belden Formation and in Precambrian granitic rocks and schist. Uranium-mineralized zones are generally thicker, more consistent, and of higher grade in dolomite than in other hosts, and roughly 50 percent of the new reserves are in dolomite. Strong physical control by dolomite is evident, as this is the only lithology that is pervasively brecciated within the fault slices that make up the footwall of the reverse fault zone. Other lithologies tend to either remain unbroken or undergo ductile deformation. Chemical controls are subtle and appear to involve chiefly formation of FeS2 as pyrite and marcasite, which accompany uranium. Leadville Dolomite in the area is about 130 m thick and is predominantly nonfossiliferous dolomicrite. In the Pitch Mine, Leadville Dolomite is bound by faults and maximum known thickness is about 17 m. Mud texture, paucity of fossils and other allochems, thin laminations, and probable algal mat structures suggest sedimentation in a tidal-flat (possibly supratidal) environment. Preservation of mud texture and lack of replacement features indicate that dolomitization was an early, prelithification process, as in modern tidal flats, and produced a chemically and texturally uniform rock over tens of meters with relatively few limestone beds surviving. The sedimentary and diagenetic environment of the tidal-flat dolomite, apparently most favorable for uranium deposits, probably obtained over a large area and should consistute an exploration target over a broad area of central Colorado. Carbonate rocks of the Belden Formation, in contrast to those of the Leadville, contain calcite in great excess of dolomite, more than 5 percent silt-size quartz and clay, and abundant fossils and oolites. Belden limestones

  5. How Stakeholder Engagement is Evolving at the Caldas Uranium Mining Site in Minas Gerais, Brazil - 13223

    SciTech Connect

    Booth, Peter M.; Da Silva, Nivaldo Carlos; Pereira de Oliveira, Alexandre; Cioffi Batagini, Regina Maria; Rangel, Heraldo Junior; Da Conceicao Estrella Abad, Maria

    2013-07-01

    The Caldas site is located in the Federal State of Minas Gerais in Brazil about 25 km from the city of Pocos de Caldas. While the city itself has 150,000 inhabitants there is a total population of around 0.5 million people living in an area that could potentially be influenced by the site. Uranium ore was mined and milled here between the years of 1982 and 1995, with ore extraction taking place from an open pit. Of the material removed, aside from that extracted for uranium, some was used on-site for road construction and building embankments while the remainder was disposed of onto two major rock piles. There are a number of potential historical and current environmental impacts to groundwater as a consequence of discharges into streams which then flow off site. The site is now undergoing a phase of decommissioning which includes the formulation and substantiation of a site remediation strategy. As part of a wider International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Technical Cooperation Project aimed at providing practical guidance for implementing a decommissioning and remediation plan at the site, WSP E and E were invited to lead a mission in order to provide advice on the importance and merits of stakeholder engagement and how to ultimately build an engagement program. In November 2011, WSP E and E met with personnel from the site operators, the Brazilian regulatory bodies and representatives from the local stakeholder community and explained the principles of stakeholder engagement and how the process had internationally evolved principally from a decide-announce-defend approach to a more formal two way mechanism of engagement. Historically there had been insufficient liaison between the site operator, the nuclear regulator and the environmental regulator. All parties had recognized that greater interaction was necessary. There had also been very little engagement with local stakeholders about the various activities on the site and the potential implications of these

  6. Numerical Simulation of the Issues Related to Uranium Mining and Tailings Management in Continuous Permafrost Zones in Nunavut, Canada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Su, X.; Booshehrian, A.; Wan, R.

    2013-12-01

    In order to understand the potential environmental effects of a uranium mining and tailings management project in northern Canada, numerical simulations have been conducted on the Kiggavik project to investigate the issues of permafrost degradation, mine pit floor heave and slope deformation, and potential inflow into the mine pits during mining and tailings disposition. The project includes the development of three open pit mines, the Main Zone, the Centre Zone, and the East Zone at the Kiggavik site, and an open pit mine and an underground mine at the Sissons site. The mined ore will be milled at the Kiggavik site and the mill tailings will be disposed back into the three open pits at Kiggavik. The mining and milling operation of the project will last about 15 to 20 years. Permafrost at the Kiggavik site extends between 220 m to 240 m below ground surface, while permafrost at the Sissons site ranges from 260 m to 280 m below ground surface. The centre zone and the east zone will be excavated within permafrost, while the main zone and the open pit at Sissons will penetrate the permafrost layer. A high artesian pressure due to the permafrost constraint was measured at both Kiggavik and Sissons sites, and was found to be higher than the ground surface. The results of numerical simulations on the behavior of the continuous permafrost layer indicate that permafrost degradation around the pits or tailings management facilities is not significant during mine operation. No open talik would form below the excavated area as a result of depositing warm tailings in both East Zone and Centre Zone pits. A thin thawed zone of 3 to 5 m on the side of Centre Zone pit is developed, while the thawed area at the bottom of the pit extends to a depth of 10 to 15 m. For the Main Zone, where the excavation breaks through the permafrost, an open talik would remain following the operation period. The warm tailings would cause a 20 m thick thawed zone along the lower sides of the pit. With

  7. Pilot Study to Evaluate Hydrogen Injection for Stimulating Reduction and Immobilization of Uranium in Groundwater at an ISR Mining Site

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clapp, L. W.; Cabezas, J.; Gamboa, Y.; Fernandez, W.

    2011-12-01

    State and federal regulations require that groundwater at in-situ recovery (ISR) uranium mining operations be restored to pre-mining conditions. Reverse osmosis (RO) filtration of several pore volumes of the post-leached groundwater and reinjection of the clean permeate is the most common technology currently used for restoring groundwater at uranium ISR sites. However, this approach does not revert the formation back to its initial reducing conditions, which can potentially impede timely groundwater restoration. In-situ biostimulation of indigenous iron- and sulfate reducing bacteria by injection of organic electron donors (e.g., ethanol, acetate, and lactate) to promote soluble uranium reduction and immobilization has been the subject of previous studies. However, injection of organic substrates has been observed to cause aquifer clogging near the injection point. In addition, U(VI) solubility may be enhanced through complexation with carbonate generated by organic carbon oxidation. An alternative approach that may overcome these problems involves the use of hydrogen as a reductant to promote microbial reduction and immobilization of U(VI) in situ. To test this approach, approximately 100,000 scf of compressed hydrogen gas was injected into a leached unconsolidated sand zone over two months at an ISR mining site. During this time groundwater was recirculated between injection and extraction wells (separated by 130 ft) at a rate of about 40 gpm and bromide was coinjected as a conservative tracer. A well monitoring program has been executed since June 2009 to evaluate the performance of the hydrogen injection. Current results show that U(VI) has been reduced from 4.2 to 0.05 ppm in the area surrounding the injection well and to 2.0 ± 0.3 ppm in the area surrounding the extraction well and two intermediate monitoring wells. Other water quality changes near the injection well include significant decreases in concentrations of Mo, sulfate, Fe, Mn, bicarbonate, Ca

  8. Establishing a pre-mining geochemical baseline at a uranium mine near Grand Canyon National Park, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Naftz, David L.; Walton-Day, Katie

    2016-01-01

    During 2012, approximately 404,000 ha of Federal Land in northern Arizona was withdrawn from consideration of mineral extraction for a 20-year period to protect the Grand Canyon watershed from potentially adverse effects of U mineral exploration and development. The development, operation, and reclamation of the Canyon Mine during the withdrawal period provide an excellent field site to understand and document off-site migration of radionuclides within the withdrawal area. As part of the Department of Interior's (DOI's) study plan for the exclusion area, the objective of our study is to utilize pre-defined decision units (DUs) in areas within and surrounding the Canyon Mine to demonstrate how newly established incremental sampling methodologies (ISM) combined with multivariate statistical methods can be used to document a repeatable and statistically defensible measure of pre-mining baseline conditions in surface soils and stream sediment samples prior to ore extraction. During the survey in June 2013, the highest pre-mining 95% upper confidence level (UCL) concentrations with respect to As, Mo, U, and V were found in the triplicate samples collected from surface soils in the mine site DU designated as M1. Gamma activities were slightly elevated in soils within the M1 DU (up to 28 μR/h); however, off-site gamma activities in soil and stream-sediment samples were lower (< 6 to 12 μR/h). Hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) was applied to 33 chemical constituents contained in the multivariate data generated from the analysis of triplicate samples collected in the soil and stream sediment DUs within and surrounding Canyon Mine. Most of the triplicate samples from individual DUs were grouped in the same dendrogram cluster when using a similarity value (SV) of 0.70 (unitless). Different group membership of triplicate samples from two of the four haul road DUs was likely the result of heterogeneity induced by non-native soil material introduced from the gravel road base

  9. Molecular analysis of bacterial communities in uranium ores and surrounding soils from Banduhurang open cast uranium mine, India: A comparative study.

    PubMed

    Islam, Ekramul; Dhal, Paltu K; Kazy, Sufia K; Sar, Pinaki

    2011-01-01

    Bacterial community structure of heavy metal rich- uranium ores and surrounding soils was explored using 16S rRNA gene based clone library analysis and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) to provide baseline microbial diversity data on autochthonous communities. Sequence analysis of major ribotypes and/or DGGE bands revealed Proteobacteria and Acidobacteria as the two most frequently present bacterial phyla across the samples, although relative abundance of each phyla and identity of their members at lower taxonomic level showed marked difference. Gammaproteobacteria (Pseudomonas and Escherichia) was most abundant in U-ore samples along with the lineages of β-Proteobacteria (Burkholderia and Janthinobacterium), α-Proteobacteria (Brevundimonas), Bacteroidetes (Spingobacterium), Firmicutes (Peptoniphilus), Actinobacteria (Corynebacterium), uncultured -Acidobacteria, -Chloroflexi and -Cyanobacterium. In contrast to this soil communities were represented by mixed populations predominated by uncultured Acidobacteria along with Gammaproteobacteria (Succinivibrio, Cellovibrio and Legionella), β-Proteobacteria (Rhodocyclus), α-Proteobacteria (Methylocystis and Phenylobacterium), δ-Proteobacteria, unclassified bacteria, uncultured Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes (Bacillus), Cyanobacteria (Scytonema), Actinobacteria (Actinomadura) and candidate division TM7. Principle Component Analyis (PCA) of geochemical data and UPGMA cluster analysis of DGGE profiles were in close agreement showing characteristic relatedness of samples obtained from either ores or soils. Our analysis indicated that soils surrounding the ore deposit bear specific geochemical as well as microbiologial characteristics distinct from the ore deposit and therefore these data obtained at the onset of mining could serve as a baseline of information to gauge the subsequent environmnetal impact of U-mining. PMID:21308598

  10. Use of diatom assemblages as biomonitor of the impact of treated uranium mining effluent discharge on a stream: case study of the Ritord watershed (Center-West France).

    PubMed

    Herlory, Olivier; Bonzom, Jean-Marc; Gilbin, Rodolphe; Frelon, Sandrine; Fayolle, Stéphanie; Delmas, François; Coste, Michel

    2013-10-01

    The rehabilitation of French former uranium mining sites has not prevented the contamination of the surrounding aquatic ecosystems with metal elements. This study assesses the impact of the discharge of treated uranium mining effluents on periphytic diatom communities to evaluate their potential of bioindication. A 7-month survey was conducted on the Ritord watercourse to measure the environmental conditions of microalgae, the non-taxonomic attributes of periphyton (photosynthesis and biomass) and to determine the specific composition of diatom assemblages grown on artificial substrates. The environmental conditions were altered by the mine waters, that contaminate the watercourse with uranium and with chemicals used in the pit-water treatment plants (BaCl2 and Al2(SO4)3). The biomass and photosynthetic activity of periphyton seemed not to respond to the stress induced by the treated mining effluents whereas the altered environmental conditions clearly impacted the composition of diatom communities. Downstream the discharges, the communities tended to be characterized by indicator species belonging to the genera Fragilaria, Eunotia and Brachysira and were highly similar to assemblages at acid mine drainage sites. The species Eunotia pectinalis var. undulata, Psammothidium rechtensis, Gomphonema lagenula and Pinnularia major were found to be sensitive to uranium effluents whereas Neidium alpinum and several species of Gomphonema tolerated this contamination. The relevance of diatoms as ecological indicator was illustrated through the changes in structure of communities induced by the discharge of uranium mining effluents and creates prospects for development of a bioindicator tool for this kind of impairment of water quality. PMID:23903932

  11. CURRENT STATUS AND RECLAMATION PLAN OF FORMER URANIUM MINING AND MILLING FACILITIES AT NINGYO-TOGE IN JAPAN

    SciTech Connect

    Sato, Kazuhiko; Tokizawa, Takayuki

    2003-02-27

    The Japan Nuclear Cycle Development Institute (JNC) conducted research and development projects on uranium exploration in Japan from 1956 to 1987. Several mine facilities, such as waste rock yards and a mill tailing pond, were retained around Ningyo-toge after the projects ended. Although there is no legal issue in the mine in accordance with related law and agreements at present, JNC has a notion that it is important to reduce the burden of waste management on future generations. Thus, the Ningyo-toge Environmental Engineering Center of JNC proposed a reclamation plan for these facilities with fundamental policy, an example of safety analysis and timetables. The plan has mainly three phases: Phase I is the planning stage, and this paper corresponds to this: Phase II is the stage to perform various tests for safety analysis and site designing: Phase III is the stage to accomplish measures. Preliminarily safety analyses suggested that our supposed cover designs for both waste rock and m ill tailing are enough to keep dose limit of 1mSv/y at site boundaries. The plan is primarily based on the Japanese Mine Safety Law, also refers to ICRP recommendations, IAEA reports, measures implemented overseas, etc. because this is the first case in Japan. For the accomplishment of this plan, it is important to establish a close relationship with local communities and governments, and to maintain a policy of open-to-public.

  12. APPLICATION OF WATER FLOW AND GEOCHEMICAL MODELS TO SUPPORT THE REMEDIATION OF ACID ROCK DRAINAGE FROM THE URANIUM MINING SITE OF POCOS DE CALDAS, BRAZIL

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    This paper discusses the use of two numerical models (HYDRUS-2D and STEADQL-v4) for simulating water flow and relevant geochemical processes in one of the waste rock piles of the first uranium mine in Brazil, in order to facilitate the selection of appropriate remediation strategies. The long time s...

  13. Factors controlling localization of uranium deposits in the Dakota Sandstone, Gallup and Ambrosia Lake mining districts, McKinley County, New Mexico

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pierson, Charles Thomas; Green, Morris W.

    1977-01-01

    Geologic studies were made at all of the uranium mines and prospects in the Dakota Sandstone of Early(?) and Late Cretaceous age in the Gallup mining district, McKinley County, New Mexico. Dakota mines in the adjacent Ambrosia Lake mining district were visited briefly for comparative purposes. Mines in the eastern part of the Gallup district, and in the Ambrosia Lake district, are on the Chaco slope of the southern San Juan Basin in strata which dip gently northward toward the central part of the basin. Mines in the western part of the Gallup district are along the Gallup hogback (Nutria monocline) in strata which dip steeply westward into the Gallup sag. Geologic factors which controlled formation of the uranium deposits in the Dakota Sandstone are: (1) a source of uranium, believed to be uranium deposits of the underlying Morrison Formation of Late Jurassic age; (2) the accessibility to the Dakota of uranium-bearing solutions from the Morrison; (3) the presence in the Dakota of permeable sandstone beds overlain by impermeable carbonaceous shale beds; and (4) the occurrence within the permeable Dakota sandstone beds of carbonaceous reducing material as bedding-plane laminae, or as pockets of carbonaceous trash. Most of the Dakota uranium deposits are found in the lower part of the formation in marginal-marine distributary-channel sandstones which were deposited in the backshore environment. However, the Hogback no. 4 (Hyde) Mine (Gallup district) occurs in sandy paludal shale of the backshore environment, and another deposit, the Silver Spur (Ambrosia Lake district), is found in what is interpreted to be a massive beach or barrier-bar sandstone of the foreshore environment in the upper part of the Dakota. The sedimentary depositional environment most favorable for the accumulation of uranium is that of backshore areas lateral to main distributary channels, where levee, splay, and some distributary-channel sandstones intertongue with gray carbonaceous shales and

  14. Trace Element Mobility in Water and Sediments in a Hyporheic Zone Adjacent to an Abandoned Uranium Mine

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roldan, C.; Blake, J.; Cerrato, J.; Ali, A.; Cabaniss, S.

    2015-12-01

    The legacy of abandoned uranium mines lead to community concerns about environmental and health effects. This study focuses on a cross section of the Rio Paguate, adjacent to the Jackpile Mine on the Laguna Reservation, west-central New Mexico. Often, the geochemical interactions that occur in the hyporheic zone adjacent to these abandoned mines play an important role in trace element mobility. In order to understand the mobility of uranium (U), arsenic (As), and vanadium (V) in the Rio Paguate; surface water, hyporheic zone water, and core sediment samples were analyzed using inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy (ICP-MS). All water samples were filtered through 0.45μm and 0.22μm filters and analyzed. The results show that there is no major difference in concentrations of U (378-496μg/L), As (0.872-6.78μg/L), and V (2.94-5.01μg/L) between the filter sizes or with depth (8cm and 15cm) in the hyporheic zone. The unfiltered hyporheic zone water samples were analyzed after acid digestion to assess the particulate fraction. These results show a decrease in U concentration (153-202μg/L) and an increase in As (33.2-219μg/L) and V (169-1130μg/L) concentrations compared to the filtered waters. Surface water concentrations of U(171-184μg/L) are lower than the filtered hyporheic zone waters while As(1.32-8.68μg/L) and V(1.75-2.38μg/L) are significantly lower than the hyporheic zone waters and particulates combined. Concentrations of As in the sediment core samples are higher in the first 15cm below the water-sediment interface (14.3-3.82μg/L) and decrease (0.382μg/L) with depth. Uranium concentrations are consistent (0.047-0.050μg/L) at all depths. The over all data suggest that U is mobile in the dissolved phase and both As and V are mobile in the particular phase as they travel through the system.

  15. A study of contaminated soils near Crucea-Botus, ana uranium mine (East Carpathians, Romania): metal distribution and partitioning of natural actinides with implications for vegetation uptake

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Petrescu, L.; Bilal, E.

    2012-04-01

    Between 1962 and 2009, National Company of Uranium - CNU, the former Romanian Rare Metals Mining Company, mined over 1,200,000 tones of pitchblende ore in the East Carpathians (Crucea-Botušana area, Bistrita Mountains). The exploration and mining facilities include 32 adits, situated between 780 and 1040 m above sea level. Radioactive waste resulted from mining are disposed next to the mining facilities. Mine dumps (32) cover an area of 364,000 square meters and consist of waste rock (rocks with sub-economic mineralization) and gangue minerals. Older dumps (18) have been already naturally reclaimed by forest vegetation, which played an important role in stabilizing the waste dump cover and in slowing down the uranium migration processes. The soils samples have been collected from different mine dumps in the Crucea-Botušana uranium deposit, mainly from 1, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 1/30 and 950 mine waste galleries. Soil samples were collected from the upper part and slope at each mine dump, from the vegetation root zones. Total uranium concentration in soils collected from Crucea-Botušana site ranged from 6.10 to 680.70 ppm, with a mean of 52.48 ppm (dry wt.). Total thorium varies between 7.70 and 115.30 ppm (dry wt.). This indicates that the adsorption of the radioactive elements by the soils is high and variable, influenced by the ore dump - sample relationship. The sequential extraction has emphasized the fact that the uranium is associated with all the mineral fractions present in the soil samples. A great percentage of U can be found in the carbonate (21.77%), organic (15.04%) and oxides fractions (15.88%) - in accordance with the high absorbed/adsorbed properties of this element. The percentage of uranium detected in the exchangeable fraction is rather small - 2.16%. It is also to be expected that the uranium should be irreversible adsorbed by the organic matter and by the clay minerals due to its ionic radius and to its positive charge. The fact that 21.77% of the

  16. Review and interpretation of previous work and new data on the hydrogeology of the Schwartzwalder Uranium Mine and vicinity, Jefferson County, Colorado

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Caine, Jonathan Saul; Johnson, Raymond H.; Wild, Emily C.

    2011-01-01

    The Schwartzwalder deposit is the largest known vein type uranium deposit in the United States. Located about eight miles northwest of Golden, Colorado it occurs in Proterozoic metamorphic rocks and was formed by hydrothermal fluid flow, mineralization, and deformation during the Laramide Orogeny. A complex brittle fault zone hosts the deposit comprising locally brecciated carbonate, oxide, and sulfide minerals. Mining of pitchblende, the primary ore mineral, began in 1953 and an extensive network of underground workings was developed. Mine dewatering, treatment of the effluent and its discharge into the adjacent Ralston Creek was done under State permit from about 1990 through about 2008. Mining and dewatering ceased in 2000 and natural groundwater rebound has filled the mine workings to a current elevation that is above Ralston Creek but that is still below the lowest ground level adit. Water in the 'mine pool' has concentrations of dissolved uranium in excess of 1,000 times the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency drinking-water standard of 30 milligrams per liter. Other dissolved constituents such as molybdenum, radium, and sulfate are also present in anomalously high concentrations. Ralston Creek flows in a narrow valley containing Quaternary alluvium predominantly derived from weathering of crystalline bedrock including local mineralized rock. Just upstream of the mine site, two capped and unsaturated waste rock piles with high radioactivity sit on an alluvial terrace. As Ralston Creek flows past the mine site, a host of dissolved metal concentrations increase. Ralston Creek eventually discharges into Ralston Reservoir about 2.5 miles downstream. Because of highly elevated uranium concentrations, the State of Colorado issued an enforcement action against the mine permit holder requiring renewed collection and treatment of alluvial groundwater. As part of planned mine reclamation, abundant data were collected and compiled into a report by Wyman and Effner

  17. Geohydrology and water chemistry of abandoned uranium mines and radiochemistry of spoil-material leachate, Monument Valley and Cameron areas, Arizona and Utah

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Longsworth, S.A.

    1994-01-01

    Uranium mines in the Monument Valley area were established predominately in channel-fill deposits within the Shinarump Member of the Chinle Formation. The Shinarump Member yields ground water to wells and may yield water to the Moonlight and Radium Hill mines. In the study area near Cameron, uranium was mined from channel-fill deposits within the Petrified Forest Member of the Chinle Formation. Units of the Petrified Forest Member do not yield ground water to wells in the area, but fractures in the lower part of the Petrified Forest Member are probable pathways for upward flow of water from the Shinarump Member. Most of the mines receive water from surface inflow of rainfall runoff, but ground water also may be transmitted to open pits and drill holes in the subsurface through fractures or along faults in the Petrified Forest Member. Uranium-238 activities in shallow ground water from mines ranged from 150 to 14,000 picocuries per liter. Radionuclide activities in well and spring water were less than in shallow ground water near mines; however, in some samples, radionuclide activities in wells and springs were greater than activities in pit water. Uranium concentrations in leachate samples ranged from 20 to 7,700 micrograms per liter. Batch tests were done with material that was 2.00 millimeters and smaller. The radiochemistry of leachate from coarser material was not determined, and the specific rate and magnitude of radionuclide leaching depends on site-specific conditions that include the amounts of oxygen and organic material present, temperature, spoil mineralogy, and local ground-water composition.

  18. Chemical data and statistical interpretations for rocks and ores from the Ranger uranium mine, Northern Territory, Australia

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nash, J. Thomas; Frishman, David

    1983-01-01

    Analytical results for 61 elements in 370 samples from the Ranger Mine area are reported. Most of the rocks come from drill core in the Ranger No. 1 and Ranger No. 3 deposits, but 20 samples are from unmineralized drill core more than 1 km from ore. Statistical tests show that the elements Mg, Fe, F, Be, Co, Li, Ni, Pb, Sc, Th, Ti, V, CI, As, Br, Au, Ce, Dy, La Sc, Eu, Tb, Yb, and Tb have positive association with uranium, and Si, Ca, Na, K, Sr, Ba, Ce, and Cs have negative association. For most lithologic subsets Mg, Fe, Li, Cr, Ni, Pb, V, Y, Sm, Sc, Eu, and Yb are significantly enriched in ore-bearing rocks, whereas Ca, Na, K, Sr, Ba, Mn, Ce, and Cs are significantly depleted. These results are consistent with petrographic observations on altered rocks. Lithogeochemistry can aid exploration, but for these rocks requires methods that are expensive and not amenable to routine use.

  19. Lessons Learned: Tribal Community Engagement, Remediation and Restoration of a Uranium Mine Tailings Site, Navajo Nation - 12484

    SciTech Connect

    Wadsworth, Donald K.; Hicks, Allison H.

    2012-07-01

    In May, 2011 New World Environmental Inc. was awarded a contract by the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency to remediate an illegal radioactive waste disposal site located in the Navajo Nation. The initial scope included the excavation and shipment of an estimated 3,000 cubic yards of Uranium mine tailings and associated industrial waste. In this instance Stakeholders were supportive of the project, remediation and restoration, yet the movement of residual radioactive materials through tribal communities was a controversial issue. Other Stakeholder issues included site security, water sources for remediation activities, local residents' temporary re-location and care of livestock, right of way permissions and local workforce development. This presentation recaps the technical and non-technical issues encountered in the remediation and restoration the seven acre site and the outreach to surrounding communities. Cultural and equity issues resulting from historical problems associated with this and other sites in the immediate area and education and training. (authors)

  20. Identifying and overcoming the constraints that prevent the full implementation of decommissioning and remediation programs in uranium mining sites.

    PubMed

    Franklin, Mariza Ramalho; Fernandes, Horst Monken

    2013-05-01

    Environmental remediation of radioactive contamination is about achieving appropriate reduction of exposures to ionizing radiation. This goal can be achieved by means of isolation or removal of the contamination source(s) or by breaking the exposure pathways. Ideally, environmental remediation is part of the planning phase of any industrial operation with the potential to cause environmental contamination. This concept is even more important in mining operations due to the significant impacts produced. This approach has not been considered in several operations developed in the past. Therefore many legacy sites face the challenge to implement appropriate remediation plans. One of the first barriers to remediation works is the lack of financial resources as environmental issues used to be taken in the past as marginal costs and were not included in the overall budget of the company. This paper analyses the situation of the former uranium production site of Poços de Caldas in Brazil. It is demonstrated that in addition to the lack of resources, other barriers such as the lack of information on site characteristics, appropriate regulatory framework, funding mechanisms, stakeholder involvement, policy and strategy, technical experience and mechanism for the appropriation of adequate technical expertise will play key roles in preventing the implementation of remediation programs. All these barriers are discussed and some solutions are suggested. It is expected that lessons learned from the Poços de Caldas legacy site may stimulate advancement of more sustainable options in the development of future uranium production centers. PMID:21955840

  1. Microbial release of 226Ra2+ from (Ba,Ra)SO4 sludges from uranium mine wastes.

    PubMed Central

    Fedorak, P M; Westlake, D W; Anders, C; Kratochvil, B; Motkosky, N; Anderson, W B; Huck, P M

    1986-01-01

    226Ra2+ is removed from uranium mine effluents by coprecipitation with BaSO4. (Ba,Ra)SO4 sludge samples from two Canadian mine sites were found to contain active heterotrophic populations of aerobic, anaerobic, denitrifying, and sulfate-reducing bacteria. Under laboratory conditions, sulfate reduction occurred in batch cultures when carbon sources such as acetate, glucose, glycollate, lactate, or pyruvate were added to samples of (Ba,Ra)SO4 sludge. No external sources of nitrogen or phosphate were required for this activity. Further studies with lactate supplementation showed that once the soluble SO4(2-) in the overlying water was depleted, Ba2+ and 226Ra2+ were dissolved from the (Ba,Ra)SO4 sludge, with the concurrent production of S2-. Levels of dissolved 226Ra2+ reached approximately 400 Bq/liter after 10 weeks of incubation. Results suggest that the ultimate disposal of these sludges must maintain conditions to minimize the activity of the indigenous sulfate-reducing bacteria to ensure that unacceptably high levels of 226Ra2+ are not released to the environment. PMID:3752993

  2. Identification of Mn(II)-oxidizing bacteria from a low-pH contaminated former uranium mine.

    PubMed

    Akob, Denise M; Bohu, Tsing; Beyer, Andrea; Schäffner, Franziska; Händel, Matthias; Johnson, Carol A; Merten, Dirk; Büchel, Georg; Totsche, Kai Uwe; Küsel, Kirsten

    2014-08-01

    Biological Mn oxidation is responsible for producing highly reactive and abundant Mn oxide phases in the environment that can mitigate metal contamination. However, little is known about Mn oxidation in low-pH environments, where metal contamination often is a problem as the result of mining activities. We isolated two Mn(II)-oxidizing bacteria (MOB) at pH 5.5 (Duganella isolate AB_14 and Albidiferax isolate TB-2) and nine strains at pH 7 from a former uranium mining site. Isolate TB-2 may contribute to Mn oxidation in the acidic Mn-rich subsoil, as a closely related clone represented 16% of the total community. All isolates oxidized Mn over a small pH range, and isolates from low-pH samples only oxidized Mn below pH 6. Two strains with different pH optima differed in their Fe requirements for Mn oxidation, suggesting that Mn oxidation by the strain found at neutral pH was linked to Fe oxidation. Isolates tolerated Ni, Cu, and Cd and produced Mn oxides with similarities to todorokite and birnessite, with the latter being present in subsurface layers where metal enrichment was associated with Mn oxides. This demonstrates that MOB can be involved in the formation of biogenic Mn oxides in both moderately acidic and neutral pH environments. PMID:24928873

  3. Identification of Mn(II)-oxidizing bacteria from a low-pH contaminated former uranium mine

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Akob, Denise M.; Bohu, Tsing; Beyer, Andrea; Schäffner, Franziska; Händel, Matthias; Johnson, Carol A.; Merten, Dirk; Büchel, Georg; Totsche, Kai Uwe; Küsel, Kirsten

    2014-01-01

    Biological Mn oxidation is responsible for producing highly reactive and abundant Mn oxide phases in the environment that can mitigate metal contamination. However, little is known about Mn oxidation in low-pH environments, where metal contamination often is a problem as the result of mining activities. We isolated two Mn(II)-oxidizing bacteria (MOB) at pH 5.5 (Duganella isolate AB_14 and Albidiferax isolate TB-2) and nine strains at pH 7 from a former uranium mining site. Isolate TB-2 may contribute to Mn oxidation in the acidic Mn-rich subsoil, as a closely related clone represented 16% of the total community. All isolates oxidized Mn over a small pH range, and isolates from low-pH samples only oxidized Mn below pH 6. Two strains with different pH optima differed in their Fe requirements for Mn oxidation, suggesting that Mn oxidation by the strain found at neutral pH was linked to Fe oxidation. Isolates tolerated Ni, Cu, and Cd and produced Mn oxides with similarities to todorokite and birnessite, with the latter being present in subsurface layers where metal enrichment was associated with Mn oxides. This demonstrates that MOB can be involved in the formation of biogenic Mn oxides in both moderately acidic and neutral pH environments.

  4. Identification of Mn(II)-Oxidizing Bacteria from a Low-pH Contaminated Former Uranium Mine

    PubMed Central

    Bohu, Tsing; Beyer, Andrea; Schäffner, Franziska; Händel, Matthias; Johnson, Carol A.; Merten, Dirk; Büchel, Georg; Totsche, Kai Uwe; Küsel, Kirsten

    2014-01-01

    Biological Mn oxidation is responsible for producing highly reactive and abundant Mn oxide phases in the environment that can mitigate metal contamination. However, little is known about Mn oxidation in low-pH environments, where metal contamination often is a problem as the result of mining activities. We isolated two Mn(II)-oxidizing bacteria (MOB) at pH 5.5 (Duganella isolate AB_14 and Albidiferax isolate TB-2) and nine strains at pH 7 from a former uranium mining site. Isolate TB-2 may contribute to Mn oxidation in the acidic Mn-rich subsoil, as a closely related clone represented 16% of the total community. All isolates oxidized Mn over a small pH range, and isolates from low-pH samples only oxidized Mn below pH 6. Two strains with different pH optima differed in their Fe requirements for Mn oxidation, suggesting that Mn oxidation by the strain found at neutral pH was linked to Fe oxidation. Isolates tolerated Ni, Cu, and Cd and produced Mn oxides with similarities to todorokite and birnessite, with the latter being present in subsurface layers where metal enrichment was associated with Mn oxides. This demonstrates that MOB can be involved in the formation of biogenic Mn oxides in both moderately acidic and neutral pH environments. PMID:24928873

  5. Rapid adaptation of microalgae to bodies of water with extreme pollution from uranium mining: an explanation of how mesophilic organisms can rapidly colonise extremely toxic environments.

    PubMed

    García-Balboa, C; Baselga-Cervera, B; García-Sanchez, A; Igual, J M; Lopez-Rodas, V; Costas, E

    2013-11-15

    Extreme environments may support communities of microalgae living at the limits of their tolerance. It is usually assumed that these extreme environments are inhabited by extremophile species. However, global anthropogenic environmental changes are generating new extreme environments, such as mining-effluent pools of residual waters from uranium mining with high U levels, acidity and radioactivity in Salamanca (Spain). Certain microalgal species have rapidly adapted to these extreme waters (uranium mining in this area began in 1960). Experiments have demonstrated that physiological acclimatisation would be unable to achieve adaptation. In contrast, rapid genetic adaptation was observed in waters ostensibly lethal to microalgae by means of rare spontaneous mutations that occurred prior to the exposure to effluent waters from uranium mining. However, adaptation to the most extreme conditions was only possible after recombination through sexual mating because adaptation requires more than one mutation. Microalgae living in extreme environments could be the descendants of pre-selective mutants that confer significant adaptive value to extreme contamination. These "lucky mutants" could allow for the evolutionary rescue of populations faced with rapid environmental change. PMID:24177214

  6. Derivation of soil-screening thresholds to protect the chisel-toothed kangaroo rat from uranium mine waste in northern Arizona.

    PubMed

    Hinck, Jo Ellen; Linder, Greg; Otton, James K; Finger, Susan E; Little, Edward; Tillitt, Donald E

    2013-08-01

    Chemical data from soil and weathered waste material samples collected from five uranium mines north of the Grand Canyon (three reclaimed, one mined but not reclaimed, and one never mined) were used in a screening-level risk analysis for the Arizona chisel-toothed kangaroo rat (Dipodomys microps leucotis); risks from radiation exposure were not evaluated. Dietary toxicity reference values were used to estimate soil-screening thresholds presenting risk to kangaroo rats. Sensitivity analyses indicated that body weight critically affected outcomes of exposed-dose calculations; juvenile kangaroo rats were more sensitive to the inorganic constituent toxicities than adult kangaroo rats. Species-specific soil-screening thresholds were derived for arsenic (137 mg/kg), cadmium (16 mg/kg), copper (1,461 mg/kg), lead (1,143 mg/kg), nickel (771 mg/kg), thallium (1.3 mg/kg), uranium (1,513 mg/kg), and zinc (731 mg/kg) using toxicity reference values that incorporate expected chronic field exposures. Inorganic contaminants in soils within and near the mine areas generally posed minimal risk to kangaroo rats. Most exceedances of soil thresholds were for arsenic and thallium and were associated with weathered mine wastes. PMID:23604138

  7. Uranium industry annual 1996

    SciTech Connect

    1997-04-01

    The Uranium Industry Annual 1996 (UIA 1996) provides current statistical data on the US uranium industry`s activities relating to uranium raw materials and uranium marketing. The UIA 1996 is prepared for use by the Congress, Federal and State agencies, the uranium and nuclear electric utility industries, and the public. Data on uranium raw materials activities for 1987 through 1996 including exploration activities and expenditures, EIA-estimated reserves, mine production of uranium, production of uranium concentrate, and industry employment are presented in Chapter 1. Data on uranium marketing activities for 1994 through 2006, including purchases of uranium and enrichment services, enrichment feed deliveries, uranium fuel assemblies, filled and unfilled market requirements, uranium imports and exports, and uranium inventories are shown in Chapter 2. A feature article, The Role of Thorium in Nuclear Energy, is included. 24 figs., 56 tabs.

  8. The effects of phosphorus additions on the sedimentation of contaminants in a uranium mine pit-lake.

    PubMed

    Dessouki, Tarik C E; Hudson, Jeff J; Neal, Brian R; Bogard, Matthew J

    2005-08-01

    We investigated the usefulness of phytoplankton for the removal of surface water contaminants. Nine large mesocosms (92.2m(3)) were suspended in the flooded DJX uranium pit at Cluff Lake (Saskatchewan, Canada), and filled with highly contaminated mine water. Each mesocosm was fertilized with a different amount of phosphorus throughout the 35 day experiment to stimulate phytoplankton growth, and to create a range in phosphorus load (g) to examine how contaminants may be affected by different nutrient regimes. Algal growth was rapid in fertilized mesocosms (as demonstrated by chlorophyll a profiles). As phosphorus loads increased there were significant declines (p<0.05) in the surface water concentrations of As, Co, Cu, Mn, Ni, and Zn. This decline was near significant for uranium (p=0.065). The surface water concentrations of Ra-226, Mo, and Se showed no relationship to phosphorus load. Contaminant concentrations in sediment traps suspended at the bottom of each mesocosm generally showed the opposite trend to that observed in the surface water, with most contaminants (As, Co, Cu, Mn, Ni, Ra-226, U, and Zn) exhibiting a significant positive relationship (p<0.05) with phosphorus load. Selenium and Mo did not respond to nutrient treatments. Our results suggest that phytoremediation has the potential to lower many surface water contaminants through the sedimentation of phytoplankton. Based on our results, we estimate that the Saskatchewan Surface Water Quality Objectives (SSWQO) for DJX pit would be met in approximately 45 weeks for Co, 65 weeks for Ni, 15 weeks for U, and 5 weeks for Zn. PMID:15979684

  9. Effect of Intermittent Flow on the Mobility of Metals from Abandoned Uranium Mine Waste Sites on Native American Land

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Avasarala, S.; Ali, A.; Artyushkova, K.; Gonzalez-Pinzon, R.; Cerrato, J.

    2015-12-01

    Column experiments were conducted to study the effect of intermittent flow on the mobility of metals from abandoned uranium mine waste sites in Blue Gap Tachee (BGT), AZ and Laguna, NM. Intermittent flow represent the rainfall patterns in the southwestern United States, involving alternate wet and dry cycles. In order to simulate these rainfall patterns shorter wet periods of 15, 30, 60, 120 and 360 minutes, followed by longer dry periods of 24 hours, were adopted for the column experiments. The experiment involved sequential leaching of sediments from Laguna and BGT with 18MὨ water (pH 5.4), Synthetic Rain Water (SRW, pH 5.6), 10mM bicarbonate solution (pH 7.9) and 10mM acetic acid (pH 3.4) solution that represent the environmentally relevant conditions as witnessed in BGT water samples (pH 3.8 and 7.4). These reagents were specifically chosen to target most metal species through various transport mechanisms which include advective-dispersive forces, ion-exchange, desorption and dissolution. With just 18MὨ water and SRW almost 90 µg/L of U, 4500 µg/L of V and 20 µg/L of As were released from BGT mine waste while the Laguna sample showed the release of 380 µg/L of U, 2 µg/L of V and 40 µg/L of As. The released U concentrations were 3-13 times its EPA MCL for U which under natural circumstances could threaten the proximate communities. Bicarbonate and acetic acid extractions on the other hand released 3500-6000 µg/L of U, 50-3000 µg/L of V and 14-35 µg/L of As from both Laguna and BGT mine waste respectively. Based on our previously published results, U and V from the uranyl-vanadate (U-V) species within BGT mine waste samples were only partially released with bicarbonate unlike the column experiments where almost all of the U and V from the U-V species were dissolved and released using 10mM bicarbonate solution. For reference, the columns were also leached continuously with bicarbonate and acetic acid for a week (each), to identify if the phases were

  10. Effect of Intermittent Flow on the Mobility of Metals from Abandoned Uranium Mine Waste Sites on Native American Land

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Avasarala, S.; Ali, A.; Artyushkova, K.; Gonzalez-Pinzon, R.; Cerrato, J.

    2015-12-01

    Column experiments were conducted to study the effect of intermittent flow on the mobility of metals from abandoned uranium mine waste sites in Blue Gap Tachee (BGT), AZ and Laguna, NM. Intermittent flow represent the rainfall patterns in the southwestern United States, involving alternate wet and dry cycles. In order to simulate these rainfall patterns shorter wet periods of 15, 30, 60, 120 and 360 minutes, followed by longer dry periods of 24 hours, were adopted for the column experiments. The experiment involved sequential leaching of sediments from Laguna and BGT with 18MὨ water (pH 5.4), Synthetic Rain Water (SRW, pH 5.6), 10mM bicarbonate solution (pH 7.9) and 10mM acetic acid (pH 3.4) solution that represent the environmentally relevant conditions as witnessed in BGT water samples (pH 3.8 and 7.4). These reagents were specifically chosen to target most metal species through various transport mechanisms which include advective-dispersive forces, ion-exchange, desorption and dissolution. With just 18MὨ water and SRW almost 90 µg/L of U, 4500 µg/L of V and 20 µg/L of As were released from BGT mine waste while the Laguna sample showed the release of 380 µg/L of U, 2 µg/L of V and 40 µg/L of As. The released U concentrations were 3-13 times its EPA MCL for U which under natural circumstances could threaten the proximate communities. Bicarbonate and acetic acid extractions on the other hand released 3500-6000 µg/L of U, 50-3000 µg/L of V and 14-35 µg/L of As from both Laguna and BGT mine waste respectively. Based on our previously published results, U and V from the uranyl-vanadate (U-V) species within BGT mine waste samples were only partially released with bicarbonate unlike the column experiments where almost all of the U and V from the U-V species were dissolved and released using 10mM bicarbonate solution. For reference, the columns were also leached continuously with bicarbonate and acetic acid for a week (each), to identify if the phases were

  11. Uranium mining: ore treatment and environmental control. January 1975-1981 (citations from the International Information Service for the Physics and Engineering Communities Data Base). Report for Jan 75-May 81

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1981-05-01

    The problems associated with uranium mining are covered with respect to both technological and political aspects. Environmental pollution due to radioactive materials, radiation protection and monitoring for personnel are emphasized. The economics of the US mining industry is also covered. (Contains 40 citations fully indexed and including a title list.)

  12. SSH gene expression profile of Eisenia andrei exposed in situ to a naturally contaminated soil from an abandoned uranium mine.

    PubMed

    Lourenço, Joana; Pereira, Ruth; Gonçalves, Fernando; Mendo, Sónia

    2013-02-01

    The effects of the exposure of earthworms (Eisenia andrei) to contaminated soil from an abandoned uranium mine, were assessed through gene expression profile evaluation by Suppression Subtractive Hybridization (SSH). Organisms were exposed in situ for 56 days, in containers placed both in a contaminated and in a non-contaminated site (reference). Organisms were sampled after 14 and 56 days of exposure. Results showed that the main physiological functions affected by the exposure to metals and radionuclides were: metabolism, oxireductase activity, redox homeostasis and response to chemical stimulus and stress. The relative expression of NADH dehydrogenase subunit 1 and elongation factor 1 alpha was also affected, since the genes encoding these enzymes were significantly up and down-regulated, after 14 and 56 days of exposure, respectively. Also, an EST with homology for SET oncogene was found to be up-regulated. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that this gene was identified in earthworms and thus, further studies are required, to clarify its involvement in the toxicity of metals and radionuclides. Considering the results herein presented, gene expression profiling proved to be a very useful tool to detect earthworms underlying responses to metals and radionuclides exposure, pointing out for the detection and development of potential new biomarkers. PMID:23164450

  13. Aquifer tests at the Jackpile-Paguate uranium mine, Pueblo of Laguna, west-central New Mexico

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Risser, D.W.; Davis, P.A.; Baldwin, J.A.; McaAda, D.P.

    1984-01-01

    The transmissivity of the Jackpile sandstone bed in the Brushy Basin Shale Member of the Morrison Formation, west-central New Mexico, was determined to be 24 sq ft/day at well M2 and 47 sq ft/day at well M3 from constant-discharge aquifer tests conducted at the Jackpile-Paguate Uranium Mine. The storage coefficient of the Jackpile sandstone bed was estimated to be 0.00018 at well M2 and 0.00029 at well M3 from the same tests. An aquifer test conducted at well M21 indicated the transmissivity of the Jackpile sandstone bed was 2.0 sq ft/day and the storage coefficient was 0.00002. The transmissivity of an unnamed sandstone bed in the Brushy Basin Shale Member of the Morrison Formation was estimated from ' slug-test ' results to be about 20 sq ft/day. Water levels in this sandstone probably did not change due to pumping from the overlying Jackpile sandstone bed for 88 hours at an average discharge of 15.3 gallons/min. A constant discharge aquifer test at well M4C indicated that the transmissivity of the alluvium at this location was about 430 sq ft/day. Water levels in the underlying Jackpile sandstone bed began declining within 15 minutes after withdrawals of groundwater from the alluvial aquifer began. (USGS)

  14. Assessment of nonpoint source chemical loading potential to watersheds containing uranium waste dumps and human health hazards associated with uranium exploration and mining, Red, White, and Fry Canyons, southeastern Utah, 2007

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Beisner, Kimberly R.; Marston, Thomas M.; Naftz, David L.; Snyder, Terry; Freeman, Michael L.

    2010-01-01

    During May, June, and July 2007, 58 solid-phase samples were collected from abandoned uranium mine waste dumps, background sites, and adjacent streambeds in Red, White, and Fry Canyons in southeastern Utah. The objectives of this sampling program were to (1) assess the nonpoint-source chemical loading potential to ephemeral and perennial drainage basins from uranium waste dumps and (2) assess potential effects on human health due to recreational activities on and around uranium waste dumps on Bureau of Land Management property. Uranium waste-dump samples were collected using solid-phase sampling protocols. After collection, solid-phase samples were homogenized and extracted in the laboratory using a leaching procedure. Filtered (0.45 micron) water samples were obtained from the field leaching procedure and were analyzed for major and trace elements at the Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry Metals Analysis Laboratory at the University of Utah. A subset of the solid-phase samples also were digested with strong acids and analyzed for major ions and trace elements at the U.S. Geological Survey Geologic Division Laboratory in Denver, Colorado. For the initial ranking of chemical loading potential for uranium waste dumps, results of leachate analyses were compared with existing aquatic-life and drinking-water-quality standards. To assess potential effects on human health, solid-phase digestion values for uranium were compared to soil screening levels (SSL) computed using the computer model RESRAD 6.5 for a probable concentration of radium. One or more chemical constituents exceeded aquatic life and drinking-water-quality standards in approximately 64 percent (29/45) of the leachate samples extracted from uranium waste dumps. Most of the uranium waste dump sites with elevated trace-element concentrations in leachates were located in Red Canyon. Approximately 69 percent (31/45) of the strong acid digestible soil concentration values were greater than a calculated

  15. Uranium Industry Annual, 1992

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1993-10-28

    The Uranium Industry Annual provides current statistical data on the US uranium industry for the Congress, Federal and State agencies, the uranium and electric utility industries, and the public. The feature article, ``Decommissioning of US Conventional Uranium Production Centers,`` is included. Data on uranium raw materials activities including exploration activities and expenditures, resources and reserves, mine production of uranium, production of uranium concentrate, and industry employment are presented in Chapter 1. Data on uranium marketing activities including domestic uranium purchases, commitments by utilities, procurement arrangements, uranium imports under purchase contracts and exports, deliveries to enrichment suppliers, inventories, secondary market activities, utility market requirements, and uranium for sale by domestic suppliers are presented in Chapter 2.

  16. Effect of Biogeochemical Redox Processes on the Fate and Transport of As and U at an Abandoned Uranium Mine Site: an X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy Study

    SciTech Connect

    Troyer, Lyndsay D.; Stone, James J.; Borch, Thomas

    2014-01-28

    Although As can occur in U ore at concentrations up to 10 wt-%, the fate and transport of both U and As at U mine tailings have not been previously investigated at a watershed scale. The major objective of this study was to determine primary chemical and physical processes contributing to transport of both U and As to a down gradient watershed at an abandoned U mine site in South Dakota. Uranium is primarily transported by erosion at the site, based on decreasing concentrations in sediment with distance from the tailings. equential extractions and U X-ray absorption near-edge fine structure (XANES) fitting indicate that U is immobilised in a near-source sedimentation pond both by prevention of sediment transport and by reduction of UVI to UIV. In contrast to U, subsequent release of As to the watershed takes place from the pond partially due to reductive dissolution of Fe oxy(hydr)oxides. However, As is immobilised by adsorption to clays and Fe oxy(hydr)oxides in oxic zones and by formation of As–sulfide mineral phases in anoxic zones down gradient, indicated by sequential extractions and As XANES fitting. This study indicates that As should be considered during restoration of uranium mine sites in order to prevent transport.

  17. Contamination by uranium mine drainages affects fungal growth and interactions between fungal species and strains.

    PubMed

    Ferreira, Verónica; Gonçalves, Ana Lúcia; Pratas, João; Canhoto, Cristina

    2010-01-01

    The presence of aquatic hyphomycetes has been reported for several heavy metal-contaminated waters. Tolerance probably is one adaptation to coping with heavy metals. To help clarify this issue strains of two species of aquatic hyphomycetes (Tricladium splendens Ingold and Varicosporium elodeae Kegel) were isolated from a reference stream and a stream contaminated with heavy metals and grown on malt extract agar prepared with reference and contaminated water to characterize colony morphology, growth rate, growth inhibition and interaction among species and strains. In V. elodeae the morphology of colonies differed between strains. Colony diameter increased linearly over time with growth rates being lower for strains isolated from contaminated than from reference streams (mostly for V. elodeae). Strains from the contaminated stream grew faster in medium prepared with contaminated water than in medium prepared with reference water, while for strains from the reference stream there was no significant difference in growth rates on the two media. In interacting isolates radial growth toward the opposing colony was generally lower than toward the dish edge. Percentage growth inhibition was higher for isolates in intraspecific interactions (13-37%) than in interspecific interactions (3-27%). However differences in growth inhibition experienced by interacting isolates were observed only in three cases out of 16. The difference between the percentage inhibition caused and experienced by a given isolate was highest in interactions involving isolates with distinct growth rates. Our results suggest that strains from the reference stream tolerate heavy metals while strains from the contaminated stream seem to be adapted to contaminated waters. We hypothesize that in natural environments fungal species-specific limits of tolerance to metal contamination might determine an abrupt or gradual response of the original fungal community to mine pollution giving origin to a poorer

  18. Microscale mineralogical characterization of As, Fe, and Ni in uranium mine tailings

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Essilfie-Dughan, Joseph; Hendry, M. Jim; Warner, Jeff; Kotzer, Tom

    2012-11-01

    Uranium (U) ores can contain high concentrations of elements of concern (EOCs), such as arsenic (As) and nickel (Ni) present in sulfide and arsenide minerals. The U in these ores is often solubilized by adding H2SO4 to attain a pH ∼1 under oxic conditions. This process releases some EOCs from the primary minerals into solution. The barren raffinate (solution remaining after U extraction) is subsequently neutralized with Ca(OH)2 to a terminal pH of ∼10.5, resulting in a reduction in the aqueous concentrations of the EOCs. These neutralized raffinates are mixed with the non-reacted primary minerals and discharged as tailing into tailings management facilities (TMFs). To aid in the accurate characterization and quantification of the mineralogical controls on the concentrations of EOCs in the tailings porewater, their spatial distribution and speciation were studied at the micron scale in tailings samples collected from the Deilmann U Tailings Management Facility (DTMF), northern Saskatchewan, Canada. Backscattered electron images of the tailings samples generated using an electron microprobe show the presence of nodules (10-200 μm size) surrounded by bright rims. Wavelength dispersive spectrometric (WDS) and synchrotron-based micro-X-ray fluorescence (μ-XRF) elemental mapping show that the nodules are dominated by Ca and S (as gypsum) and the bright rims are dominated by Fe, As, and Ni. Micro-X-ray absorption near-edge structure (μ-XANES) spectra collected within and near the rims indicate that the Fe and Ni are present mainly in the +3 and +2 oxidation states, respectively; for As, the +5 oxidation state dominates but significant amounts of the +3 oxidation state are present in some areas. Linear combination fit analyses of the K-edges for the Fe, As, and Ni μ-XANES spectra to reference compounds suggest the Fe in the rims is present as ferrihydrite with As and Ni are adsorbed to it. Energy dispersive spectrometric (EDS) data indicate that isolated, highly

  19. Assessment of radioactive materials and heavy metals in the surface soil around uranium mining area of Tongliao, China.

    PubMed

    Haribala; Hu, Bitao; Wang, Chengguo; Gerilemandahu; Xu, Xiao; Zhang, Shuai; Bao, Shanhu; Li, Yuhong

    2016-08-01

    Natural and artificial radionuclides and heavy metals in the surface soil of the uranium mining area of Tongliao, China, were measured using gamma spectrometry, flame atomic absorption spectrophotometry, graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrophotometry and microwave dissolution atomic fluorescence spectrometry respectively. The estimated average activity concentrations of (238)U, (232)Th, (226)Ra, (40)K and (137)Cs are 27.53±16.01, 15.89±5.20, 12.64±4.27, 746.84±38.24 and 4.23±4.76Bq/kg respectively. The estimated average absorbed dose rate in the air and annual effective dose rate are 46.58±5.26nGy/h and 57.13±6.45μSv, respectively. The radium equivalent activity, external and internal hazard indices were also calculated and their mean values are within the acceptable limits. The heavy metal concentrations of Pb, Cd, Cu, Zn, Hg and As from the surface soil were measured and their health risks were then determined. Although the content of Cd is much higher than the average background in China, its non-cancer and cancer risk indices are all within the acceptable ranges. These calculated hazard indices to estimate the potential radiological health risk in soil and the dose rate are well below their permissible limit. In addition the correlations between the radioactivity concentrations of the radionuclides and the heavy metals in soil were determined by the Pearson linear coefficient. PMID:27107776

  20. State policies and requirements for management of uranium mining and milling in New Mexico. Volume V. State policy needs for community impact assistance

    SciTech Connect

    Vandevender, S.G.

    1980-04-01

    The report contained in this volume describes a program for management of the community impacts resulting from the growth of uranium mining and milling in New Mexico. The report, submitted to Sandia Laboratories by the New Mexico Department of Energy and Minerals, is reproduced without modification. The state recommends that federal funding and assistance be provided to implement a growth management program comprised of these seven components: (1) an early warning system, (2) a community planning and technical assistance capability, (3) flexible financing, (4) a growth monitoring system, (5) manpower training, (6) economic diversification planning, and (7) new technology testing.

  1. Fodinomyces uranophilus gen. nov. sp. nov. and Coniochaeta fodinicola sp. nov., two uranium mine-inhabiting Ascomycota fungi from northern Australia.

    PubMed

    Vázquez-Campos, Xabier; Kinsela, Andrew S; Waite, T David; Collins, Richard N; Neilan, Brett A

    2014-01-01

    Seven acidophilic/acidotolerant fungal strains were characterized from samples of process waters (raffinate) at one of Australia's largest uranium mines, the Ranger Mine in Northern Territory. They were isolated from raffinate, which typically were very acidic (pH 1.7-1.8) and contained high concentrations of total dissolved/colloidal salts (> 100 g/L). Five of the isolates correspond to two new acidotolerant Ascomycota fungi. The first is a member of a new genus, here described as Fodinomyces (Teratosphaeriaceae, Capnodiales, Dothideomycetes) and does not show clear close affiliation with any other described fungus in the scientific literature. The second belongs to the genus Coniochaeta (Coniochaetaceae, Coniochaetales, Sordariomycetes) and is closely related to Coniochaeta hansenii. PMID:25143478

  2. Assessment of Nonpoint Source Chemical Loading Potential to Watersheds Containing Uranium Waste Dumps Associated with Uranium Exploration and Mining, San Rafael Swell, Utah

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Freeman, Michael L.; Naftz, David L.; Snyder, Terry; Johnson, Greg

    2008-01-01

    During July and August of 2006, 117 solid-phase samples were collected from abandoned uranium waste dumps, geologic background sites, and adjacent streambeds in the San Rafael Swell, in southeastern Utah. The objective of this sampling program was to assess the nonpoint source chemical loading potential to ephemeral and perennial watersheds from uranium waste dumps on Bureau of Land Management property. Uranium waste dump samples were collected using solid-phase sampling protocols. After collection, solid-phase samples were homogenized and extracted in the laboratory using a field leaching procedure. Filtered (0.45 micron) water samples were obtained from the field leaching procedure and were analyzed for Ag, As, Ba, Be, Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo, Ni, Pb, Sb, Se, U, V, and Zn at the Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry Metals Analysis Laboratory at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah and for Hg at the U.S. Geological Survey National Water Quality Laboratory, Denver, Colorado. For the initial ranking of chemical loading potential of suspect uranium waste dumps, leachate analyses were compared with existing aquatic life and drinking-water-quality standards and the ratio of samples that exceeded standards to the total number of samples was determined for each element having a water-quality standard for aquatic life and drinking-water. Approximately 56 percent (48/85) of the leachate samples extracted from uranium waste dumps had one or more chemical constituents that exceeded aquatic life and drinking-water-quality standards. Most of the uranium waste dump sites with elevated trace-element concentrations in leachates were along Reds Canyon Road between Tomsich Butte and Family Butte. Twelve of the uranium waste dump sites with elevated trace-element concentrations in leachates contained three or more constituents that exceeded drinking-water-quality standards. Eighteen of the uranium waste dump sites had three or more constituents that exceeded trace

  3. Detection and Assessment of Abiotic Stress of Coniferous Landscapes Caused by Uranium Mining (Using Hyperspectral EO-1/Hyperion Data)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Filchev, Lachezar

    2013-12-01

    The paper presents the results from a study aiming at detecting and assessing abiotic stress in coniferous landscapes of Black pine monocultures (Pinus nigra L.) by using ground-based geochemical data, models of technogenic pollution, and satellite hyperspectral data from EO-1/Hyperion. Four vegetation indices (VIs), such as, MCARI, TCARI, MTVI 2, and PRI, as well as the shape and area attributes of the red-edge spectral features, have been studied in order to detect changes caused by the geochemical pollution. The analysis was performed on 4 test sites sized each 30m × 30 m, to correspond to EO-1/Hyperion pixel subspace, in homogenous coniferous landscapes in the Teyna River basin - a left tributary to Iskar River. In effect, the red-edge position index for unstressed coniferous landscapes (Black pine) was found to be at about λ=683 nm, whereas the stressed ones' red-edge position is at λ=671 nm. It was found that VIs, such as TCARI/MCARI and Zc has highest correlation (r2 =0.63; F: 5.20 at F: <0.1), followed by MTVI 2 and Zc (r2 =0.42; F: 2.48 at F: <0.21), and PRI and Zc (r2 =0.30; F: 1.34 at F: <0.33). Subsequently, the four test sites chosen were subdivided in two pairs, corresponding to the modeled Zc values after Inverse Multiquadratic Function (IMF) from the set of Radial Basis Function (RBF), into unstressed (test sites No. 2 and No. 5) and stressed coniferous landscapes (test sites No. 10 and No. 11). The hypothesis tested is that the clustering of EO-1/Hyperion VIs corresponds to Zc clustering using hierarchical clustering method (Ward). As a result, the MTVI 2 and TCARI/MCARI values group their first cluster relatively farther than Zc but the PRI does not reflect the Zc clusters. This lead to the conclusion that the satellite hyperspectral narrowband VIs are still not sensitive enough to study the geochemical background and vegetation stress of geochemically stressed coniferous landscapes by uranium mining without a priori ground based data.

  4. Detection and Assessment of Abiotic Stress of Coniferous Landscapes Caused By Uranium Mining (Using Hyperspectral EO-1/Hyperion Data)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Filchev, Lachezar

    2013-12-01

    The paper presents the results from a study aiming at detecting and assessing abiotic stress in coniferous landscapes of Black pine monocultures (Pinus nigra L.) by using ground-based geochemical data, models of technogenic pollution, and satellite hyperspectral data from EO-1/Hyperion. Four vegetation indices (VIs), such as, MCARI, TCARI, MTVI 2, and PRI, as well as the shape and area attributes of the red-edge spectral features, have been studied in order to detect changes caused by the geochemical pollution. The analysis was performed on 4 test sites sized each 30m × 30m, to correspond to EO-1/Hyperion pixel subspace, in homogenous coniferous landscapes in the Teyna River basin – a left tributary to Iskar River. In effect, the red-edge position index for unstressed coniferous landscapes (Black pine) was found to be at about λ=683 nm, whereas the stressed ones' red-edge position is at λ=671 nm. It was found that VIs, such as TCARI/MCARI and Zc has highest correlation (r2=0.63; F: 5.20 at F: <0.1), followed by MTVI 2 and Zc (r2=0.42; F: 2.48 at F: <0.21), and PRI and Zc (r2=0.30; F: 1.34 at F: <0.33). Subsequently, the four test sites chosen were subdivided in two pairs, corresponding to the modeled Zc values after Inverse Multiquadratic Function (IMF) from the set of Radial Basis Function (RBF), into unstressed (test sites No. 2 and No. 5) and stressed coniferous landscapes (test sites No. 10 and No. 11). The hypothesis tested is that the clustering of EO-1/Hyperion VIs corresponds to Zc clustering using hierarchical clustering method (Ward). As a result, the MTVI 2 and TCARI/MCARI values group their first cluster relatively farther than Zc but the PRI does not reflect the Zc clusters. This lead to the conclusion that the satellite hyperspectral narrowband VIs are still not sensitive enough to study the geochemical background and vegetation stress of geochemically stressed coniferous landscapes by uranium mining without a priori ground based data.

  5. Effects of long-term radionuclide and heavy metal contamination on the activity of microbial communities, inhabiting uranium mining impacted soils.

    PubMed

    Boteva, Silvena; Radeva, Galina; Traykov, Ivan; Kenarova, Anelia

    2016-03-01

    Ore mining and processing have greatly altered ecosystems, often limiting their capacity to provide ecosystem services critical to our survival. The soil environments of two abandoned uranium mines were chosen to analyze the effects of long-term uranium and heavy metal contamination on soil microbial communities using dehydrogenase and phosphatase activities as indicators of metal stress. The levels of soil contamination were low, ranging from 'precaution' to 'moderate', calculated as Nemerow index. Multivariate analyses of enzyme activities revealed the following: (i) spatial pattern of microbial endpoints where the more contaminated soils had higher dehydrogenase and phosphatase activities, (ii) biological grouping of soils depended on both the level of soil contamination and management practice, (iii) significant correlations between both dehydrogenase and alkaline phosphatase activities and soil organic matter and metals (Cd, Co, Cr, and Zn, but not U), and (iv) multiple relationships between the alkaline than the acid phosphatase and the environmental factors. The results showed an evidence of microbial tolerance and adaptation to the soil contamination established during the long-term metal exposure and the key role of soil organic matter in maintaining high microbial enzyme activities and mitigating the metal toxicity. Additionally, the results suggested that the soil microbial communities are able to reduce the metal stress by intensive phosphatase synthesis, benefiting a passive environmental remediation and provision of vital ecosystem services. PMID:26578378

  6. Uranium industry annual 1993

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1994-09-01

    Uranium production in the United States has declined dramatically from a peak of 43.7 million pounds U{sub 3}O{sub 8} (16.8 thousand metric tons uranium (U)) in 1980 to 3.1 million pounds U{sub 3}O{sub 8} (1.2 thousand metric tons U) in 1993. This decline is attributed to the world uranium market experiencing oversupply and intense competition. Large inventories of uranium accumulated when optimistic forecasts for growth in nuclear power generation were not realized. The other factor which is affecting U.S. uranium production is that some other countries, notably Australia and Canada, possess higher quality uranium reserves that can be mined at lower costs than those of the United States. Realizing its competitive advantage, Canada was the world`s largest producer in 1993 with an output of 23.9 million pounds U{sub 3}O{sub 8} (9.2 thousand metric tons U). The U.S. uranium industry, responding to over a decade of declining market prices, has downsized and adopted less costly and more efficient production methods. The main result has been a suspension of production from conventional mines and mills. Since mid-1992, only nonconventional production facilities, chiefly in situ leach (ISL) mining and byproduct recovery, have operated in the United States. In contrast, nonconventional sources provided only 13 percent of the uranium produced in 1980. ISL mining has developed into the most cost efficient and environmentally acceptable method for producing uranium in the United States. The process, also known as solution mining, differs from conventional mining in that solutions are used to recover uranium from the ground without excavating the ore and generating associated solid waste. This article describes the current ISL Yang technology and its regulatory approval process, and provides an analysis of the factors favoring ISL mining over conventional methods in a declining uranium market.

  7. Absorbed Dose Rate Due to Intake of Natural Radionuclides by Tilapia Fish (Tilapia nilotica,Linnaeus, 1758) Estimated Near Uranium Mining at Caetité, Bahia, Brazil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pereira, Wagner de S.; Kelecom, Alphonse; Py Júnior, Delcy de Azevedo

    2008-08-01

    The uranium mining at Caetité (Uranium Concentrate Unit—URA) is in its operational phase. Aiming to estimate the radiological environmental impact of the URA, a monitoring program is underway. In order to preserve the biota of the deleterious effects from radiation and to act in a pro-active way as expected from a licensing body, the present work aims to use an environmental protection methodology based on the calculation of absorbed dose rate in biota. Thus, selected target organism was the Tilapia fish (Tilapia nilotica, Linnaeus, 1758) and the radionuclides were: uranium (U-238), thorium (Th-232), radium (Ra-226 and Ra-228) and lead (Pb-210). As, in Brazil there are no radiation exposure limits adopted for biota the value proposed by the Department of Energy (DOE) of the United States of 3.5×103 μGy y-1 has been used. The derived absorbed dose rate calculated for Tilapia was 2.51×100 μGy y-1, that is less than 0.1% of the dose limit established by DOE. The critical radionuclide was Ra-226, with 56% of the absorbed dose rate, followed by U-238 with 34% and Th-232 with 9%. This value of 0.1% of the limit allows to state that, in the operational conditions analyzed, natural radionuclides do not represent a radiological problem to biota.

  8. Absorbed Dose Rate Due to Intake of Natural Radionuclides by Tilapia Fish (Tilapia nilotica,Linnaeus, 1758) Estimated Near Uranium Mining at Caetite, Bahia, Brazil

    SciTech Connect

    Pereira, Wagner de S; Kelecom, Alphonse

    2008-08-07

    The uranium mining at Caetite (Uranium Concentrate Unit--URA) is in its operational phase. Aiming to estimate the radiological environmental impact of the URA, a monitoring program is underway. In order to preserve the biota of the deleterious effects from radiation and to act in a pro-active way as expected from a licensing body, the present work aims to use an environmental protection methodology based on the calculation of absorbed dose rate in biota. Thus, selected target organism was the Tilapia fish (Tilapia nilotica, Linnaeus, 1758) and the radionuclides were: uranium (U-238), thorium (Th-232), radium (Ra-226 and Ra-228) and lead (Pb-210). As, in Brazil there are no radiation exposure limits adopted for biota the value proposed by the Department of Energy (DOE) of the United States of 3.5x10{sup 3} {mu}Gy y{sup -1} has been used. The derived absorbed dose rate calculated for Tilapia was 2.51x10{sup 0} {mu}Gy y{sup -1}, that is less than 0.1% of the dose limit established by DOE. The critical radionuclide was Ra-226, with 56% of the absorbed dose rate, followed by U-238 with 34% and Th-232 with 9%. This value of 0.1% of the limit allows to state that, in the operational conditions analyzed, natural radionuclides do not represent a radiological problem to biota.

  9. Ground water contamination with (238)U, (234)U, (235)U, (226)Ra and (210)Pb from past uranium mining: cove wash, Arizona.

    PubMed

    Dias da Cunha, Kenya Moore; Henderson, Helenes; Thomson, Bruce M; Hecht, Adam A

    2014-06-01

    The objectives of the study are to present a critical review of the (238)U, (234)U, (235)U, (226)Ra and (210)Pb levels in water samples from the EPA studies (U.S. EPA in Abandoned uranium mines and the Navajo Nation: Red Valley chapter screening assessment report. Region 9 Superfund Program, San Francisco, 2004, Abandoned uranium mines and the Navajo Nation: Northern aum region screening assessment report. Region 9 Superfund Program, San Francisco, 2006, Health and environmental impacts of uranium contamination, 5-year plan. Region 9 Superfund Program, San Franciso, 2008) and the dose assessment for the population due to ingestion of water containing (238)U and (234)U. The water quality data were taken from Sect. "Data analysis" of the published report, titled Abandoned Uranium Mines Project Arizona, New Mexico, Utah-Navajo Lands 1994-2000, Project Atlas. Total uranium concentration was above the maximum concentration level for drinking water (7.410-1 Bq/L) in 19 % of the water samples, while (238)U and (234)U concentrations were above in 14 and 17 % of the water samples, respectively. (226)Ra and (210)Pb concentrations in water samples were in the range of 3.7 × 10(-1) to 5.55 × 102 Bq/L and 1.11 to 4.33 × 102 Bq/L, respectively. For only two samples, the (226)Ra concentrations exceeded the MCL for total Ra for drinking water (0.185 Bq/L). However, the (210)Pb/(226)Ra ratios varied from 0.11 to 47.00, and ratios above 1.00 were observed in 71 % of the samples. Secular equilibrium of the natural uranium series was not observed in the data record for most of the water samples. Moreover, the (235)U/(total)U mass ratios ranged from 0.06 to 5.9 %, and the natural mass ratio of (235)U to (total)U (0.72 %) was observed in only 16 % of the water samples, ratios above or below the natural ratio could not be explained based on data reported by U.S. EPA. In addition, statistical evaluations showed no correlations among the distribution of the radionuclide concentrations

  10. Uranium Dispersion & Dosimetry Model.

    SciTech Connect

    MICHAEL,; MOMENI, H.

    2002-03-22

    The Uranium Dispersion and Dosimetry (UDAD) program provides estimates of potential radiation exposure to individuals and to the general population in the vicinity of a uranium processing facility such as a uranium mine or mill. Only transport through the air is considered. Exposure results from inhalation, external irradiation from airborne and ground-deposited activity, and ingestion of foodstuffs. Individual dose commitments, population dose commitments, and environmental dose commitments are computed. The program was developed for application to uranium mining and milling; however, it may be applied to dispersion of any other pollutant.