Characterization and disposal of radioactive effluents from uranium mining

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 72, No. 806, 1979

D. MOFFETT, Process Development Department Rio Algom Limited Elliot Lake, Ontario

Rio Algom Limited has mined uranium at Elliot Lake, Ontario for 20 years. The production of this energy-generating element results in the need to dispose of low-level radioactive solid wastes and liquid effluents. Because of the wet-temperate climate at Elliot Lake, the liquid effluents are of particular importance. Radium-226 is the isotope which requires most attention, and the current practice for its control is by addition of barium chloride and retention of the resultant precipitates in large settling ponds.Analyses of typical effluents and waste streams are discussed and typical levels of radium-226, thorium-230, thorium-232, thorium-228, lead-210, polonium-210, and uranium isotopes are presented.
Keywords: Hydrometallurgy, Uranium metallurgy, Effluents, Radioactive effluents, Rio Algom Ltd., Waste disposal, Radium, Thorium, Lead, Polonium, Barium chloride, Quirke mill.