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the body of the tailings dump. According to studies that have been carried out, the lens formation mechanism to a certain degree depends on desert groundwater recharge conditions through the suspended water zone. As our studies show, a water-saturated zone can form over a very long period in the tailings mass. The zone is isolated from the surface by a mulch layer, preventing evaporative processes.

Available factual data on the dependence of tailing sediment humidity on particle size, density, and stabilization time make it possible to develop a method for predicting humidity conditions over the long term. We are currently engaged in such work. On the basis of results of the forecasting efforts, technical solutions should be taken to ensure that saturated surface egress to the downstream side of the filled-up tailings dam is impossible.

In our practice, one solution to this problem is to make an absorbing well by means of horizontal drilling. The water-saturated zone is discharged through the well. The place for drilling is determined on the basis of forecasting calculations, and the well is monitored by penetration studies.

Results of the planned efforts to create an atlas of tailing sediment charts and geochemical landscapes for the CIS countries may also be used for East European sites as well as for other industries where environmental contamination with natural radionuclides occurs.

Taking into account the large scale of the efforts and their significance, we believe that the work can be an object of international cooperation within the framework of European Commission and International Science and Technology Center programs.



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