The company Metallurgie Hoboken-Overpelt at Olen, now part of the Umicore group, was one of the most important Ra extraction plants and contributed significantly to the widespread use of Ra in medical and industrial applications.
Half of the total amount of Ra produced worldwidewas produced at the Olen facility.
The industrial activities of the Ra extraction plant have resulted in a variety of radioactive wastes, including mill tailings and dismantling and decontamination materials, which were stored in various disposal sites in the vicinity of the factory, and in non-negligible environmental contamination of the surroundings.
The current radiological impact of the historical activities of the Ra extraction plant does not require urgent countermeasures, but the radiological impact may become important if new uses for these terrains are considered, such as the integration of the contaminated sites into residential areas, mainly because
of indoor radon risk.
Umicore and the concerned authorities have been working together to define possible remediation strategies taking into account all relevant aspects (radiological evaluation, chemical and toxicological hazards, cost, public acceptance, public concern, etc.). A new Ra disposal facility has been built in
Olen to incorporate a large part of the scattered contamination.
|Title of host publication||The Environmental Behaviour of Radium: Revised Edition|
|Place of Publication||Vienna, Austria|
|Publisher||IAEA - International Atomic Energy Agency|
|State||Published - Mar 2014|