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Release of radionuclides from waste rock and mill tailings at a former pilot uranium mine in eastern Finland

Tuovinen, H., Pohjolainen, E., Vesterbacka, D., Kaksonen, K., Virkanen, J., Solatie, D., Lehto, J. and Read, D. (2016) Release of radionuclides from waste rock and mill tailings at a former pilot uranium mine in eastern Finland Boreal Environment Research, 21 (5-6). pp. 471-480.

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Abstract

The Paukkajanvaara mine in Eno, eastern Finland, started to operate in 1959. The mine was a test site for assessing the feasibility of larger-scale uranium extraction. Pilot-scale mining and milling were carried out between 1958 and 1961, and the mine site was rehabilitated in the early 1990s. The aim of this study was to examine the potential for further mobilization of radionuclides after remediation. There are two primary sources of contamination at the site, the waste-rock pile and the tailings. Our study indicates that 226Ra leached from the waste-rock pile and accumulated in surrounding soil. In run-off sediment samples collected from a dry stream bed near the waste-rock pile, the activity concentrations of 226Ra and 238U were higher than in soil samples. From the tailings, radionuclides can leach directly to the lake and to another small stream, which flows to the east of the waste-rock pile. In the water samples collected from this stream, uranium concentrations increased at the outlet to the lake. The results from the soil samples collected between the tailings area and the stream indicate leaching of 238U and 226Ra with the surface flow. Sediment samples collected from the bottom of the lake displayed pronounced uranium series disequilibrium with fractionations of 210Pb and 226Ra relative to the parent 238U. The results therefore indicate that leaching and accumulation of at least 226Ra from the waste-rock pile and possibly tailings is still ongoing.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences > Chemistry
Authors :
NameEmailORCID
Tuovinen, H.
Pohjolainen, E.
Vesterbacka, D.
Kaksonen, K.
Virkanen, J.
Solatie, D.
Lehto, J.
Read, D.d.read@surrey.ac.uk
Date : 4 February 2016
Copyright Disclaimer : © Boreal Environment Research 2016
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 24 Sep 2018 12:27
Last Modified : 24 Sep 2018 12:27
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/849423

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