WIT Press

Risk Assessment For Hazardous Waste Disposal In Abandoned Mines


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WIT Press


R. Pusch, V. Popov & R. Adey


A significant technological challenge is the search for appropriate disposal of hazardous waste. It is evident that technologies that are simple, practical and economical for use should be developed, and they should both safeguard public health and reduce environmental pollution. Temporal disposal on the ground surface is a common approach in many European countries, a technique that could contaminate the environment in a short or long time perspective. Private enterprises and communities are responsible for the contamination but the cost for safe disposal of the waste is often estimated to be unacceptable and the critical situation may therefore become permanent. Disposal in abandoned mines is believed to be an achievable, low risk and relatively cheap way of disposal of hazardous waste. The objective of the research programme described below is to investigate the prerequisites for using this alternative, to outline suitable design and construction technology and to make a performance assessment with special respect to environmental safety and cost. 1 Introduction The cost for constructing new repositories for hazardous waste disposal is very much higher than adaptation of many existing abandoned mines. An expected outcome of the research project with respect to cost reduction is optimisation of the repository design with due respect to safety criteria. The scientific prospects of the project will be of primary use for the design and performance assessment of future mine repositories. While the project primarily deals with