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Remediation of in-situ leaching uranium mines

#K-2406


Investigation of possibilities of remediation of spent uranium deposits on the basis of the technological scheme in-situ leaching

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-MRA/Modelling and Risk Assessment/Environment
  • ENV-WDS/Waste Disposal/Environment
  • FIR-ENG/Reactor Engineering and NPP/Fission Reactors

Status
3 Approved without Funding

Registration date
05.09.2017

Leading Institute
Institute of high technologies, Kazakhstan, Almaty

Supporting institutes

  • Nuclear Technology Safety Center, Kazakhstan, Almaty\nNational Nuclear Center of the Republic of Kazakstan / Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kazakhstan, Almaty

Collaborators

  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, USA, CA, Livermore

Project summary

The Project aim. The project aims to explore the possibility of acceleration of remediation process of spent uranium mines using alkaline agents. At the same time a new technology of disposal of BN-350 reactor refined sodium would be considered in the framework of this project.

Current status.

Currently it is planned to perform remediation of waste of landfills blocks of spent uranium mines in Kazakhstan. As part of these works it is planned to eliminate wells (filling with gravel-sand mixture, the removal of soil from the tip of the well, filling potentially fertile soil) and sand pond, removal and disposal of contaminated soil, replacing stripped clean soil). Calculations show that the acidification of the groundwater at underground uranium leaching (further UUL) is quite local (spreading of the acidic solution is no more than 300 m from the leaching area), and its effects disappear within 20-60 years in different fields.

The project’ influence on progress in this area. Successful implementation of the project will develop an efficient technology that allows to speed up the recovery of the environment during the remediation activities. The developed technology can be further tested and used for reclamation of other used uranium deposits.

The participants’ expertise. The scientists taking part in the project have considerable experience in uranium in-situ leaching and in the field of radioactive waste management and the treatment of liquid metal coolant of BN-350.

Expected results and their application. The implementation of this Project will lead to understanding the remediation process of uranium in-situ leaching mines. Moreover this project would give the opportunity for safety disposal of 610 tones of refined sodium of BN-350 reactor without secondary RW production.

Meeting the ISTC goals and objectives. More than 50% of the experts participating in the project are scientists, engineers and technicians, who used to be engaged in the development and production of nuclear weapon. The project combines the efforts of scientists and experts, and provides integration of scientists into the international scientific community.

Scope of activities.The following activities will be implemented under the Project:


    - Preparation of samples of technological solutions, soil and cores to conduct experiments. Assembling of laboratory units.

    - Analytical studies of the soil composition and cores taken at various uranium deposits in Kazakhstan.

    - Conducting of experiments on the sorption capacity of soils of different types with respect to the natural and artificial radionuclides in the environment of UUL.

    - Development of mathematical model of radionuclide migration in aquifers and soils of different types in the environment of UUL.

    - Assessing the impact of the purified liquid metal coolant of BN-350 on personnel and the environment when used in conditions of UUL.

    - Final report development.


Role of Foreign Collaborators/Partners.

The research group of Dr. Mark Sutton from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (California, USA) will take part in this project as a collaborator. Area of ​​interest of Dr. Sutton and his research group include environmental radiochemistry, disposal of radioactive waste in geological formations, nuclear forensics. According to the letter of Dr. Sutton dated 14 September 2016, his team is ready to provide scientific support to us and share with us the information with the aim of checking a possible computational and experimental studies which would be carried out within the framework of this project.

Technical approach and methodology. IHT representatives will perform sampling of soils, technological solutions, conducting of experiments and project administration. NTSC will be responsible for Kazakhstani organization expertise work.


Employees of the INP in collaboration with LLP «IHT» staff will carry out experimental work, as well as carry out the necessary scientific and technical calculations.


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The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.

 

ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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