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Reply #15: In situ leaching has a low environmental impact???? [View All]

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jpak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 10:19 AM
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15. In situ leaching has a low environmental impact????
Edited on Thu Oct-12-06 10:36 AM by jpak
Injecting sulfuric acid or ammonium carbonate into ground water is environmentally benign?????

Guess again...



In the case of Knigstein (Germany), a total of 100,000 tonnes of sulfuric acid was injected with the leaching liquid into the ore deposit. At present, 1.9 million m3 of leaching liquid are still locked in the pores of the rock leached so far; a further 0.85 million m3 are circulating between the leaching zone and the recovery plant. The liquid contains high contaminant concentrations, for example, expressed as multiples of the drinking water standards: cadmium 400x, arsenic 280x, nickel 130x, uranium 83x, etc. This liquid presents a hazard to an aquifer that is of importance for the drinking water supply of the region.

Groundwater impact is much larger at the Czech in-situ leaching site of Strz pod Ralskem: 28.7 million m3 of contaminated liquid is contained in the leaching zone, covering an area of 5.74 km2. This zone contains a total of 1.5 million tonnes of sulphate, 37,500 tonnes of ammonium, and others. In addition to the chemicals needed for the leaching operation (including 3.7 million tonnes of sulfuric acid, among others), 100,000 tonnes of ammonium were injected; they were a waste product resulting from the recovery of uranium from the leaching liquid.
Moreover, the contaminated liquid has spread out beyond the leaching zone horizontally and vertically, thus contaminating another area of 28 km2 and a further 235 million m3 of groundwater. To the southwest, the groundwater contamination has already reached the second zone of groundwater protection of the potable water supply of the town of Mimon. In southeastern direction, the contaminated groundwater is still at a distance of 1.2 - 1.5 km from the second zone of groundwater protection of the Dolnky potable water wells, which supply 200 l/s for the city of Liberec . The migration of the contaminated liquids in an easterly direction towards the Hamr I underground mine is at present intercepted by a hydraulic barrier: decontaminated water is injected into a chain of wells to prevent further migration of the contaminated groundwater.

In Bulgaria, a total of 2.5 million tonnes of sulfuric acid was injected into the ore deposits exploited by in-situ leaching. It is estimated that about 10% of the surface area used for ISL could be contaminated from solution spills. This is of concern, since the area is to be returned to its previous owners for agricultural use.
After termination of the ISL operations, the contaminated groundwater spreads offsite. Some in-situ leaching facilities (for example Bolyarovo, Tenevo/Okop) are located close to drinking water wells.
The impacts of ISL on surface and groundwater are catastrophic:

"Very high concentrations of sulfate ions are measured in surface water and even in wells of private owners as a result of accidental spilling of solutions in sites of in-situ leaching. At the site "Cheshmata" (Haskovo), in the valley downstream from the sorption station, the measured content of sulfates is 1400 mg/l, free H2SO4 is 392 mg/l and pH is 2.2 (5.5 - 8.5 for 3-rd category water). A similar case has been recorded in Navusen where in a valley the sulfate concentration is 13362 mg/l and almost 5 g/l H2SO4, which means that actually the water is leaching...In the underground water of such sites the salt content is >20 g/l, from which the sulfates are 12-15 g/l."


The Dutch have set a very high bar for their "abandonment" of nuclear abandonment and there are lots of caveats in this supposed "statement" )from a nuclear industry website)...furthermore, these were the conditions that would have to be met to build an new nuclear plant in the Netherlands - not a commitment to do so.

I call BS on the OP...
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