The areas in Saxony and Thuringia generally referred to as “Wismut region” were adversely affected by more than 40 years of unrestrained mining and processing of uranium ores. When uranium mining was abruptly terminated at the end of 1990, there was widespread environmental devastation affecting public health and the environment.
The mining legacy included 1.400 km of open mine workings, 311 million m³ of waste rock, and 160 million m³ of radioactive sludges (tailings) located in densely populated areas.
Remediation of this legacy is the task assigned to the federally-owned company Wismut GmbH. The remedial effort is focussed on:
- Mine decommissioning
- Mine flooding
- Water treatment
- Disassembly and demolition of contaminated buildings and structures
- Remediation of mine dumps and tailings ponds
- Environmental monitoring
The Wismut mining and environmental rehabilitation project is unique, even by international standards.