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International Conference 2011

Uranium, Mining and Hydrogeology VI

Workshops UMH I

Workshop 1: Restrictions in monitoring und controll systems, rehabilitation costs, scientific exchange and transfer to the public

Chair: Paul Robinson

In this workshop with the largest participation the representatives of science, authorities and ecological associations discussed vividly under the chair of Paul Robinson. One point of discussion was the necessity for the definition of uniform or comparable standards and guidelines as basis for an effective and above all economical reorganization of the remnants of the uranium mining industry. The absence of obligatory standards obstructs the rehabilitation, since the planners do not have concrete targets. American standards mostly can´t be used, since the mines and heaps in Europe are mostly in densely populated areas. In the so far consulted European Union water quality guidelines standards for e.g. uranium and radium are missing.

Governments must set standards, which are based on the land use and which include residential areas near the refuse dumps of the uranium mining industry as well as the extensive future groundwater use. Although the standard on basis of the human health endangerment are very similar to the risk-based standards, a standard identification must be based in the long run on the health endangerment. For clarifying this question the polticians are responsible, who also contributed to those problems by the Cold War.

The solution of the problem requires the understanding of its consequence regarding risks for humans and resources including water and ecological systems, whereby the rehabilitation measures must be in relation to these risks. The rehabilitation priorities must be set up on the basis of concrete risks, which are deduced at the locations from the former land use.

According to estimation of the costs and after founded environmental evaluation rehabilitation should be started instead of studying and analyzing the problem in the infinite. Experiences in other countries showed that by a public, international advertisement of all performances (planning, monitoring and execution) better results are achieved combined with smaller costs.

The continuation of the WISMUT as a rehabilitation organisation is therefore an expensive and by no means optimal way in the opinion of many participants. The scientific exchange and the public discussion must be enforced. In addition a policy of the open and impartial information is necessary. A step in this direction was tried and achieved by this conference.

© A. Berger <umh@geo.tu-freiberg.de>, 17.05.2010, http://www.geo.tu-freiberg.de/umh/UMHI_Workshop1e.htm