1st Edition

Remediation of Uranium Mill Tailings

By Prafulla Soni Copyright 2024
    176 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    This book covers issues pertaining to uranium tailings with special reference to consolidation of radioactivity including systematic ecological strategy for consolidation of radionuclides in uranium tailings. It discusses sustainable consolidation of radioactivity and checks the migration of unextracted uranium from tailing piles to plants and atmosphere supported by a case study from a uranium mine. It provides simple ecological solutions for the remediation of radioactivity in mill tailings.


    • Provides insight into the application of applied ecology for bioremediation of radioactive wastes.
    • Discusses species selection criteria for tailings radioactivity consolidation.
    • Explains safe treatment of the tailings of radioactive ore processing plants.
    • Illustrates the role of ethnobotany in the selection of the most appropriate species to effectively use in bioremediation.
    • Focuses on experimental outcomes.

    This book is aimed at researchers and professionals in mining engineering, applied geology, nuclear tailings and environmental protection.

    1 Introduction

    1.1 Distribution of Uranium Mines Across the Globe and Their Grading

    1.2 Issues Related to Uranium Mining and Future Prospects

    1.3 Milling and Processing of Uranium Ore

    1.4 Overburden and Tailings Management and Their Restoration

    1.5 Radioactivity Consolidation in Mine Waste

    2 Ecological Strategies for Consolidation

    2.1 Identifying the Nature and Source of Radioactive Pollutants in Uranium Mill Tailings

    2.2 Pathways by Which the Pollutants May Reach Humans

    2.3 Site Selection and Design Options That May Be Implemented to Facilitate Disposal and/or Control the Extent of Releases From the Impoundment

    3 Physicochemical Analysis of Soil and Tailings

    3.1 Physical and Chemical Properties of Soil and Tailings

    3.2 Radionuclide Studies in Plants, Soil and Tailings

    4 Species Selection for Revegetation and Consolidation of Uranium Tailings

    4.1 Ecological Strategy and Criteria for Selection of Species

    4.2 Root Penetration and Soil Binding Capacity

    5 Plant Growth Studies

    6 Radionuclide Uptake in Selected Plant Species for Consolidation

    6.1 Natural Uranium, Polonium and Radium in Soil and Tailings

    6.2 Root Shoot Growth of Selected Plants

    7 Case Study: Uranium Tailings in India

    7.1 Case Study Area and Selection of Species

    7.2 Aboveground and Underground Plant Growth Performance

    7.3 Radionuclide Studies in Plants, Soil and Tailings

    7.4 Natural Uranium in Soil and Tailings

    7.5 Polonium in Soil and Tailings

    7.6 Radium in Soil and Tailings

    8 Summary


    Prafulla Soni is a forest ecologist with more than 50 years of dedicated research experience in the field of restoration ecology, biodiversity and environmental conservation of degraded landscapes. She has trained in watershed management and environmental impact assessment in forests. Through the years, she has been involved in planning, execution and coordination of research and consultancy projects on ecology and environment with particular reference to ecological restoration of derelict landscapes.

    More than 20 students have successfully completed research under her supervision on various aspects of forest ecology, including restoration technologies developed for opencast mined areas based on the ecosystem approach. These technologies incorporate the development of a stable, self-sustaining system using ecologically and socioeconomically viable plant species that assist in ecological maintenance of essential processes, restoration of biodiversity and sustainable utilization of species and ecosystems. The technology has been transferred to different mining companies, according to their site-specific requirements, through consultancy and capacity-building initiatives for senior executives and government officials.

    To share the field and research experiences, she was invited by the US Deptartment of the Interior to represent her country in international symposia on degraded lands and visited France, the Netherlands, the US and Australasian countries as a representative of the Forest Research Institute/Government of India. Prafulla has 140 research papers, four authored/edited books and various reports to her credit and is a life member of the Society of Indian Foresters, and the Indian Association of Soil and Water Conservationists. She is founder member, Fellow and president of the Society for Applied Forest Ecological Research (SAFER) and editor-in-chief of e-Journal Applied Forest Ecology (eJAFE).