Ecology of uranium mine closure: problems and solutions (in terms of Russia, CIS countries and Germany)

The major radiation hazards during uranium mine closure are specified. These factors are gamma radiation, radon and its decay by-products, long living alpha emitters which appear with emissions from ventilation shafts during underground uranium mining, with mine water discharge in river flows, at low-grade ore stock piles and tailings storage facilities at hydrometallurgical uranium ore plants. The y-radiation dose rate is calculated for waste dumps and tailings ponds together with propagation length of radon in the atmosphere. The state of ecology in the uranium post-mining areas is described, and the sizes of the polluted areas in Russia and in the CIS countries are presented. The ecological monitoring results at 8 uranium mines in the CIS countries are analyzed both during operation and in the post-operation period. The analysis reveals the main radiation sources, their characteristics and environmental impact of the exposure. It is emphasized that VNIPIpromtekhnologii Institute has collected the largest data bank on man-made soil. The use of the data made it possible to develop a prediction procedure of physical and mechanical characteristics of tailings in the course of time. Furthermore, the reclamation measures undertaken in the area of the former Soviet–Germany Wismut Company, first of all, at dumps, slurry ponds and industrial sites, are described in detail. The 25 years-long experience of Wismut GmbH in reclamation is highlighted. The company can offer its contribution as a creative consultant and a partner in reclamation projects and programs.

Keywords: radiation hazards, uranium, radium, radon, reclamation measures, mine dumps, tailings ponds, mine water, man-made ground, ecological monitoring, reclamation areas.
For citation:

Kamnev E. N., Karamushka V. P., Seleznev A. V., Morozov V. N., Hiller A. Ecology of uranium mine closure: problems and solutions (in terms of Russia, CIS countries and Germany). MIAB. Mining Inf. Anal. Bull. 2020;(5):26-39. [In Russ]. DOI: 10.25018/02361493-2020-5-0-26-39.

Issue number: 5
Year: 2020
Page number: 26-39
ISBN: 0236-1493
UDK: 621.039.7:504
DOI: 10.25018/0236-1493-2020-5-0-26-39
Article receipt date: 17.12.2019
Date of review receipt: 04.03.2020
Date of the editorial board′s decision on the article′s publishing: 20.04.2020
About authors:

E.N. Kamnev1, Dr. Sci. (Geol. Mineral.), Professor, Scientific Secretary, e-mail:,
V.P. Karamushka1, Cand. Sci. (Eng.), Chief Expert; AEA Expert,
A.V. Seleznev1, Cand. Sci. (Eng.), Head of Department,
V.N. Morozov, Dr. Sci. (Eng.), Professor, Chief Researcher, Geophysical Center of Russian Academy of Sciences, 119296, Moscow, Russia,
Axel Hiller, Certified Geologist, Head of the Geological Archive of the Department of Engineering for Radiation Safety, Wismut GmbH, 09117, Chemnitz, Germany, e-mail:,
1 JSC «VNIPIpromtekhnologii», 115409, Moscow, Russia.


For contacts:

E.N. Kamnev, e-mail:


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