The threat of environmental pollution and health hazards

22:57 22.08.11

Natural tailings ponds, which have no protective watertight screens, are the main threat to environmental pollution.

The largest of them is Dneprovskoye tailing. It has accumulated more than 1,600 tonnes of uranium at an average grade of 0.043%, which decay, as well as a decay of its daughter products, continues up to now, releasing radioactive gas radon.

In addition, there is a continuous increasing of waste piles originated from coking plant and Dneprovskiy Metallurgical Combine (DMC), which are close to the Dneprovskoye tailings dam. These waste piles are already 10-12 meters higher then the top level of the tailings. It creates a threat of squirting of the radioactive wastes from the tailings, their seeping into the Konoplyanka River and further out into the Dnieper River and the Black Sea.

Tailings of Pavlograd chemical plant are a pollutant source of natural radionuclides (NRN), polluting not only the surface water and ground water, but also the atmosphere, soil, ground of the cities and surrounding areas through the emission of gaseous NRN and dust from the surface of the tailings.

Coking plants and gaseous emissions of DMC also contribute in environmental contamination, since they contain NRN aerosols, generated during the conversion of the Donbass coal and processing of the Krivorozhye iron ore.

Manufacturing activities, which are carried out close to the tailings, possible natural disasters (earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, etc) and unauthorized breakup of tailings, may cause destruction of tailings dams and catastrophic pollution of vast territories and the Dnieper River by radioactive waste, as well as carry-over into the Black Sea area.

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