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Russia (Baikal) – Romanovka Uranium Mine

the details…
Key pollutant
Uranium Mine
Population affected
Date started
June 2006
Date completed
May 2007
Cost of project

The village of Romanovka is located within the limits of a uranium province 50 km from a mine. A ferry carries cargoes including a uranium concentrate through the river Vitim. There are elevated diseases in area of oncology connected to the fact that chinks and canals from a nearby mine have remained open. A small river that inhabitants use for drinking water washes deposits of uranium close to the surface away. In the canal adjoining the river, fragments of coal and wood with a high radioactivity have been found.

The acute problem as arisen at inhabitants of the village of Romanovka (population 1500) located within the limits of a uranium province, 50 km from the mine. Uranium is transported through the Vitim river. Doctors of local hospitals complained that in the village there are elevated oncological diseases and they are inclined to connect it to the fact that chinks and canals from the nearby “Talakan” mine have remained open. Attempts to lead the analysis of disease and its connection to the mine have not been possible as documentation and archives were not kept. The small river Holoy washes Deposits of uranium close to the surface away. In a canal below the outputs of uranium deposits, fragments of coal and wood have been found with a high radioactivity of 500-600 µR/h. In water vegetation, on the Holoy river, the raised concentration of uranium – 3.3-6.8×10-4 % and thorium5.8 – 10.9×10-4 % are noted. In water of small drying up lakes, along an output of a uranium deposit, concentration of uranium is elevated. The village is located 1.5 km from deposits of uranium, where local residents mow hay, graze cattle, collect mushrooms and berries and spend vacation time.

The Project states that and ecological estimation of the area is necessary. For this estimation it is necessary to: lead an inspection of the territory with measurements of radio-activity with radiometers; rent radiometers; reveal places, canals, chinks and cracks with a high radio-activity and map them; and to rent a bulldozer, excavator and loader for transportation of soil. But the main goal of the project of course was to liquidate the danger coming from the old radioactive ditches on deposit “Talakan” near Romanovka village.

In August 2006 the specialists of the Baikal Center for Public Environmental Expertise visited and examined the site. According to their data the level of radiation in ditches was 800 and 2350 µR/h; the area 100 m around also had increased radiation level – 50-75 µR/h. On September 9, 2006 the specialists and volunteers of the Center in presence of local administration and Environmental Committee staff covered the two dangerous ditches with fresh and safe soil.

Also the teaching workshop “The civil rights to influence the decision taking on environmental and social aspects of uranium mining on Talakan deposit”