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Impact Assessment of Uranium Exploration Liabilities in Albania

[+] Author Affiliations
M. Kelly, D. Holton

Serco Assurance, Hampshire, UK

Paper No. ICEM2003-4875, pp. 1073-1081; 9 pages
doi:10.1115/ICEM2003-4875
From:
  • ASME 2003 9th International Conference on Radioactive Waste Management and Environmental Remediation
  • 9th ASME International Conference on Radioactive Waste Management and Environmental Remediation: Volumes 1, 2, and 3
  • Oxford, England, September 21–25, 2003
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division and Environmental Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3732-7 | eISBN: 0-7918-3731-9
  • Copyright © 2003 by ASME

abstract

Former uranium mining and milling activities in Central and Eastern Europe have resulted in a number of environmental and radiological hazards to the local populations of these countries. Depending on the nature of the activities undertaken, the results can range from a small number of large liabilities (e.g. tailings heaps, ponds, etc) through to a large number of much smaller liabilities (e.g. exploration adits, contaminated rubble, etc). Where a small number of liabilities exist (e.g. Slovakia [1]), a detailed dose assessment is appropriate, from which decisions about the need (or otherwise) to remediate can be made. Where a large number of smaller liabilities exist (over six districts in Albania), time and cost constraints preclude this approach. Nevertheless, the radiological hazard from the smaller liabilities needs to be evaluated at some level of detail, to determine if remedial action is required. The focus of this paper is to assess the impact of six former Uranium exploration sites in Albania. Albania has a mountainous geography. About three-quarters of its territory consists of mountains and hills with elevations of more than 650 feet (200 metres) above sea level; the remainder consists of coastal and alluvial lowlands. The North Albanian Alps, an extension of the Dinaric mountain system, cover the northern part of the country. With elevations approaching 8,900 feet, this is the most rugged part of the country. It is heavily forested and sparsely populated, and most people there make a living at forestry or raising livestock. The six former mining sites are generally in relatively remote locations, however some are in proximity to towns and villages. In total Uranium exploration activities have led to the creation of around 1500 small liabilities. The cost and time required to undertake site-specific assessments for all 1500 liabilities would be considerable, and only limited data were available on these liabilities. Much of the historical data were gathered many years ago and it was considered that they were not to assess current liabilities. The proposed solution for the assessment of liabilities in Albania consisted of three principal subtasks: 1. Development of a screening assessment methodology that could be applied easily and quickly by local Albanian workers; 2. Development of a simple proforma outlining data requirements for the screening assessment, followed by data collection by local Albanian workers; 3. Analysis of the screening assessment results and subsequent decisions regarding which of the liabilities require intervention measures to reduce doses. The focus of this paper is the methodology of subtasks 1 and 2. The objective of the screening assessment is to distinguish those liabilities of only limited environmental impact from other liabilities of potentially significant environmental impact. It was expected that a large number of liabilities would be eliminated from further consideration, and this was found to be the case. This enabled the limited project resources to be deployed to determine the degree to which the remaining liabilities do, in practice, impact upon the environment and human health.

Copyright © 2003 by ASME
Topics: Uranium

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