Remediation of legacy uranium mines in northern Saskatchewan
Patty Ogilvie-Evans, Saskatchewan Research Council
Abstract: The Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) is managing the remediation of 37 cold-war era legacy uranium mines and mills in northern Saskatchewan on behalf of the Government of Saskatchewan. The program is known as Project CLEANS. Uranium mining and/or processing occurred at the sites which were abandoned in the 1960s with little to no decommissioning. The objective of Project CLEANS is to transfer the sites to the provincial Institutional Control Program (ICP) for long-term monitoring and maintenance. Thirty-five sites (also known as Satellite Sites) are former mines or exploration sites where no processing occurred – ore was processed in regional mills off-site. Tailings are therefore not present at the sites. Nevertheless, the sites pose a range of public and environmental risks such as mine openings, underground workings, and radiation. Sustainable remediation approaches used to-date include innovative closure methods for mine openings, creation of safety perimeters around unstable underground voids, mitigation of radiation-impacted areas, and assessment of environmental quality. Remediation efforts are based on the scale of the sites and on regulatory requirements to support the ultimate transfer of the sites to ICP. The approaches to assess and remediate the sites will be presented by using case study examples from the Satellite Sites.