Mining and conversion of uranium ore in Ukraine is carried out by the production association "East mining-concentrating combine" (EMCC) at Ingulsk, Smolensk and Novokonstantinovsk mines. Conversion of uranium ore for the purpose of obtaining the oxides of uranium is done at the hydrometallurgical plant, with bases in the industrial area in Dnipropetrovsk Region (city of Zhovti Vody).
The characteristic feature of mining and conversion of uranium is that almost all waste-dumps of mining rocks, scraps and exhausts (liquid, gaseous) represent sources of radioactive contamination of the environment. The main danger for the environment and the population is activity of “tail depositories” of large volumes. Such depositories are situated in an area of 542 hectares of RW branches, and the total amount is almost 65.5 million tons with a total activity of up to 120,000 curie.
The sources of environmental contamination are:
Radon escaping from the surface of ” tail depositories “;
Transfer of radionuclides with particles of dust at considerable distances (up to 650 m) from the main source;
Wastes of polluted mining water and washing away of radioactive substances from polluted areas by surface water in natural waters.
Thus, people who are employed in the mining industry and in plants where conversion of uranium ore takes place, are exposed to the simultaneous influence of several dangerous radiation factors.
In 1998 the number of cases where limits of permissible doses of derivatives of radon disintegration were exceeded, and the number of cases where permissible annual exposure to total alpha-activities in the organism of personnel of mines and hydro-metallurgical plants were not established.
Inadequate procedures of radioactive inspection makes it impossible to get reliable evaluations of irradiation doses of personnel and population. According to the requirements of NRBU-97 it is not possible to get a reliable evaluation of internal irradiation doses of personnel and population without a radical revision of EMCC’s "Regulations of radioactive control".
Besides, according to the examinations carried out by the Main State Ecological Inspection, it is necessary at EMCC to improve the safety level during transportation of ore materials because of violations of transportation rules have been revealed.
According to information from the Main State Ecological Inspection, in the territory of
the former areas of mining of uranium by the method of underground alkalization PV-1
"Devladovo" (Dnipropetrovsk Region) and PV-2 "Braterske" (Mykolaiv
Region) considerable chemical and radioactive contamination of soils and ground waters is
observed. To establish the real scale of the contamination, prognosis evaluations of the
development of the situation and working out correcting measures must be carried out.
Structure of power production in Ukraine in 1998
Disturbances at ukrainian nuclear power stations' (1992-1998)