AS ÖkoSil Ltd. and Wismut GmbH, partners of the Sillamäe Tailing Pond Remediation Project, are inviting represen-tatives of similar projects in other Central and East European countries to a workshop to be held in Toila and Sillamäe on June 27 and 28 to share their experience on utilisation of radioactive waste. There are over 700 uranium-producing sites, including 29 radiactive tailing ponds which all need environmental remediation in Central and East Europe.
Estonia was selected as the location for the workshop since the remediation of the Sillamäe Tailing Pond has developed furthest among similar projects in Central and East Europe. The workshop, to be held under the auspices of the EU Phare Programme, will bring together experts of similar uranium sites located in Bulgaria, Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary.
In addition to AS Ökosil Ltd., project management company of the Sillamäe Tailing Pond Remediation Project, Wismut GmbH, a German company that prepared the technical plan, and C & E GmbH, a German subcontractor, the workshop will be attended by representatives of the European Commission and the Nordic Environmental Finance Corporation. The Estonian delegation will include officials of the Estonian Ministry of the Environment and employees of two project subcontracting firms, AS GIB and AS Merin.
“Although an eye detects nothing different in Sillamäe, a huge amount of preparatory work has been completed to-date,” said Mr. Tõnis Kaasik, managing director of AS ÖkoSil Ltd. According to Mr. Kaasik, the tender for the provision of geotechnical surveying services will be completed in the nearest future to be followed by the start of construction works in autumn and winter. Mr. Kaasik added: “The Sillamäe Tailing Pond will be the first uranium site in Central and East Europe to enter the actual remediation phase.”
The Sillamäe Tailing Pond is the depository of radioactive waste that was generated by on-site uranium-producing process, covering 40 hectares of land and located on the imminent vicinity of the Baltic Sea coast. The depository in question is one of the most dangerous sources of pollution in the Baltic Sea region.
The project is being implemented by an international partnership of the Estonian state, Nordic countries and the European Union. The total cost of the remediation project is 312 million EEK (20 million EUR).
The project gets grant financing from the Large Scale Infrastructure Facility (LSIF) of the European Commission, the Norwegian Government, the Swedish Government, the Finnish Government, the Danish Government, the Estonian Government and Nordic Environmental Finance Corporation (NEFCO). Additional financing will be provided by the Estonian Government from the Nordic Investment Bank long-term environmental loan for Estonia.
In the framework of the remediation project, a shore protection embankment will be built in front of the depository. Also, a pile grillage for increasing the stability of the dam, a cut-off wall for blocking the spreading of the surface and ground water and a waterproof cover for the depository will be built.
The Sillamäe remediation project is managed by AS ÖkoSil, a public-private partnership company established in 1998 by the Estonian State and the Silmet Group. According to the technical design project prepared by the German company Wismut GmbH, the project will be carried out over seven years. Once the remediation is completed, the Sillamäe Tailing Pond will be the first environmentally remediated and recultivated uranium site in Central and East Europe. It is the biggest environmental remediation project in the history of Estonia.
For additional information, please contact:
Raimo Jaaksoo – Project Co-ordinator, AS ÖkoSil Ltd., Tel. +37 2 6462 984; GSM: +37 2 51 18 823;
Anti Siinmaa – Project Engineer, AS ÖkoSil Ltd., Tel. +37 2 6462 984; GSM: +37 2 51 77 218;
Toomas Kään – Project Manager, Acturus Ltd. (public relations), Tel. +37 2 6139 740; GSM: +37 2 50 10 715;