Abstract

Radioactive wastes often contain considerable amounts of non-radiological and potentially toxic components such as heavy metals, organics, etc. The present study discusses an impact assessment methodology applied to the surface repository located at Olen (Belgium) containing various wastes from radium and uranium production. The impact assessment considered leaching to groundwater and use of groundwater for production of drinking water and irrigation. Leaching of radionuclides and non-radiological components from the storage facility was calculated using numerical models of water flow and contaminant transport. Results showed that leaching from the waste forms containing the highest concentration in radium, uranium, lead, and arsenic (i.e., various uranium mill tailings and radium sources and needles) did not lead to unacceptable concentrations in the groundwater when a reasonable leaching period was considered.

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