Best Practice in Environmental Management of Uranium Mining. report NF-T-1.2
|Classificatie||6.01.2.20/106 (URANIUM - WINNING/VOORRAAD/PRIJS)|
Uit de publicatie:
IAEA NUCLEAR ENERGY SERIES No. NF-T-1.2 INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY VIENNA, 2010 FOREWORD The modern uranium mining industry was born in the middle of the 20th century at a time of rapid industrial and social change and in an atmosphere of concern over the development of nuclear weapons. At many uranium mining operations, the need to produce uranium far outweighed the need to ensure that there were any more than vestigial efforts made in protecting the workers, the public and the environment from the impacts of the mining, both radiological and non-radiological. In the last quarter of the 20th century, the world began to take greater care of the total environment with the introduction of legislation and the development of operating procedures that took environmental protection into account. The uranium mining industry was part of this change, and standards of environmental management began to become of significance in corporate planning strategies. However, by the 1980s, as uranium mining companies began to address the issues of environment protection, the industry began to suffer a cyclical slowdown. By the 1990s, the industry was at a nadir, but the surviving uranium producers continued to develop and implement a series of procedures in environmental management that were regarded as best practices. This, in part, was necessary as a means to demonstrate to the regulators, governments and the public that the mining operations were being run with the intention of minimizing adverse impacts on the workers, people and the environment. This ensured that mining would be allowed to continue. The decline in uranium mining activity bottomed out in the 1990s, but a resurgence of activity began in the new century that is likely to continue for some time. This has been, in part, due to market conditions and concerns about the shortfall of current production from primary sources (uranium mines) against current reactor fuel demands; the anticipated decrease in future availability of secondary sources such as stockpiles; and the increased interest in nuclear power generation as an integral part of the strategy of many countries to mitigate their impacts on climate change. The existing uranium mining industry has raised environmental standards through the introduction and development of best practices. One concern is that some of the newer, junior, mining companies and producer nations entering the market in the present expansion phase may not be aware of these best practices and current international standards. Failure to maintain the current high levels of environmental management may see the uranium mining industry’s development hampered through the poor performance of a few new, but inexperienced companies, which would result in adverse reactions from the pubic and regulating authorities. This could be especially damaging to the straightforward development of the new resources demanded by the market. As part of a strategy to assist in the maintenance of standards in uranium mining and to assist in the dissemination of information on best practices, the IAEA assisted in the organization of a Technical Meeting on Best Practices in Environmental Management of Uranium Production Facilities, in Saskatoon, Canada, from 22 to 25 June 2004. This report contains the papers presented at that meeting, and the conclusions reached in discussions, together with an overall guide to what is best practice in modern uranium mining.