A reactive transport model designed to predict the environmental footprint of an ‘in-situ recovery’ uranium exploitation - Archive ouverte HAL Accéder directement au contenu
Article Dans Une Revue Journal of Contaminant Hydrology Année : 2023

A reactive transport model designed to predict the environmental footprint of an ‘in-situ recovery’ uranium exploitation

(1, 2) , (1) , (1, 3) , (1, 3) , (2) , (1, 2)
1
2
3

Résumé

Worldwide, most uranium production relies on the ‘in situ recovery’ (ISR) extraction technique. This consists of dissolving the ore using a leaching solution (acid or alkaline) directly within the deposit through a series of injection and extraction wells. Due to the nature of the injected ISR solutions, the water quality of the aquifer could be affected. Reactive transport modeling is a powerful tool for predicting fluid flow and geochemical reactions in ISR reservoirs. In this study we present a coupled 3D environmental geochemical model (EGM) (based on the HYTEC reactive transport software), capable of predicting the physico-chemical conditions in an acid-leaching ISR uranium mine and its environmental footprint on the aquifer in the years following the closure of the production block. The model was validated at the KATCO mine (Kazakhstan) on two different and independent production blocks, over 10 years after their closure. The model shows that incorporating two main geochemical processes, (1) cationic sorption on clay surfaces (smectite-beidellite) and (2) precipitation of gypsum (CaSO4.2H2O), successfully reproduces the measured well data (pH, acidity and SO4) over short- and long-term time scales. Clay surface sites remain mostly saturated in protons during the production phase. Simulations show that sorbed protons on the clay surfaces maintains the acid conditions for a longer period of time. The environmental impact model was also compared to a pre-existing model specifically developed for production simulation purposes: differences are observed as expected for the uranium production, but also for the impact distances, due to differences in the considered reactive mineralogical paragenesis. Thus, the choice of geochemical model should be made with due regard for the desired objectives. This work will assist the mine operator by providing a tool capable of assessing both the short- and long-term environmental footprints of the ISR production operation conditions and of identifying the best remediation strategy.
Fichier non déposé

Dates et versions

hal-03937345 , version 1 (13-01-2023)

Identifiants

Citer

S. Escario, Nicolas Seigneur, Antoine Collet, O. Regnault, H. de Boissezon, et al.. A reactive transport model designed to predict the environmental footprint of an ‘in-situ recovery’ uranium exploitation. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, 2023, 254, pp.104106. ⟨10.1016/j.jconhyd.2022.104106⟩. ⟨hal-03937345⟩
0 Consultations
0 Téléchargements

Altmetric

Partager

Gmail Facebook Twitter LinkedIn More