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Radiation Protection of Radioactively Contaminated Large Areas by Phytoremediation and Subsequent Utilization of the Contaminated Plant Residues (PHYTOREST)

D.Mirgorodsky, D. Ollivier, D. Merten, H. Bergmann, S. Willscher, J. Wittig, L. Jablonski, P. Werner

Much progress has been achieved over the past 20 years in remediating sites contaminated by heavy metal. However, very large contaminated areas have presented major problems to this day because of remediation costs. Phytoremediation is a new, emerging, sustainable technique of remediating areas with low heavy-metal contamination. One advantage of phytoremediation is the comparatively low cost of the process, which may make it usable also on large areas with low levels of contamination. Besides extracting and immobilizing metals, respectively, phytoremediation among other things also contributes to improving soil quality in terms of physics, chemistry, and ecology. Consequently, phytoremediation offers a great potential for the future.

Research into phytoremediation of an area contaminated by heavy metals and radionuclides is carried out on a site in a former uranium mining district in Eastern Thuringia jointly by the Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, and the Technical University of Dresden in a project funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research. The project serves to promote the introduction of soft, biocompatible methods of long-term remediation and to develop conceptual solutions to the subsequent utilization of contaminated plant residues. Optimizing area management is in the focus of phytoremediation studies.


 

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