International news within the industry of mining and metal, Apr, 24 2019
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Tornio steel mills found two radiation sources among recycled metal 

The Tornio mills in Finland utilise an effective supervision system, accurate measuring devices and the required competence to be able to usually detect radioactive materials already before the scrap metal goes into melting. Foto: Outokumpu
The Tornio mills in Finland utilise an effective supervision system, accurate measuring devices and the required competence to be able to usually detect radioactive materials already before the scrap metal goes into melting. Foto: Outokumpu
Published by
Markku Björkman - 05 Apr 2019

Two americium (Am-241) radiation sources have been found among recycled metal in the Outokumpu Tornio steel mills. The americium source made its way to melting on 18 January. On Wednesday 20 February, the radiation source was already detected at the radiation gate when a batch of recycled metal was being brought into the mill area.

Neither of this winter’s incidents caused any danger to employees or the environment, and The Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) was informed quickly.

“These cases are similar to the ones encountered last autumn when several radiation sources were discovered in Tornio among recycled metal shipped from abroad. Because of the global delivery chains, the origin of the sources is difficult to determine,” says Santtu Hellstén, Section Head of Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority’s Radiation Practices Regulation section.

The latest source ended up in Tornio in a recycled metal batch that was shipped via Rotterdam. This was probably also the route in the case of the previous sources. Rotterdam harbour is an important stopping point for recycled metal, receiving material shipments from many parts of the world.

The new Finnish law requires a safety licence for recurring processing of orphan sources

Recurring processing and storage of orphan radiation sources, i.e., radiation sources whose owner is not known, requires a safety licence granted by the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority from this spring onward. Receiving a safety licence requires, among other things, adequate preparedness and competence for radiation measurements so that the licence-holder can detect the radiation sources and act safely when such sources are found.

“The Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority has also brought up the issue of radiation source management in European radiation safety co-operation bodies. We share the same concern as also this winter, orphan sources have been found also elsewhere in Europe. Our goal is to find more efficient ways of managing the use of radiation sources and prevent the damage caused by orphan sources,” Santtu Hellstén says.

Americium does not end up in steel

Americium is a radioelement used, for instance, in soil density gauges and industrial measuring devices. The scale of the sources that have ended up in melting has been approximately 1–2 Giga becquerels. Americium does not end up in steel manufacturing even when it gets into melting, because it stays in the dross generated as a side product during processing.

Source: STUK

The property lies in the famous Cobalt province and is approximately 47 km south of the town of Cobalt. The picture shows an old mine in the town of Cobalt. In the early 1900s, the area was heavily mined for silver; the silver ore also contained cobalt. By 1910, the community was the fourth highest producer of silver in the world. Mining declined significantly by the 1930s, together with the local population. In late 2017 one publication referred to Cobalt as a ghost town, but the high demand for cobalt, used in making batteries for mobile devices and electric vehicles, is leading to great interest in the area among mining companies. Photo: Wikipedia, credit: P199
The property lies in the famous Cobalt province and is approximately 47 km south of the town of Cobalt. The picture shows an old mine in the town of Cobalt. In the early 1900s, the area was heavily mined for silver; the silver ore also contained cobalt. By 1910, the community was the fourth highest producer of silver in the world. Mining declined significantly by the 1930s, together with the local population. In late 2017 one publication referred to Cobalt as a ghost town, but the high demand for cobalt, used in making batteries for mobile devices and electric vehicles, is leading to great interest in the area among mining companies. Photo: Wikipedia, credit: P199

Quantum Cobalt Completes First Pass Exploration Near Temagami, Ontario

Sotkamo Silver consists of the parent company, Sotkamo Silver AB, with one wholly-owned subsidiary in Finland: Sotkamo Silver Oy. Sotkamo Silver develops silver, gold and zinc deposits in the Nordic region. The Company has completed the Definitive Feasibility Study for the Silver Mine project and is working on project financing issues. Photo: Sotkamo Silver
Sotkamo Silver consists of the parent company, Sotkamo Silver AB, with one wholly-owned subsidiary in Finland: Sotkamo Silver Oy. Sotkamo Silver develops silver, gold and zinc deposits in the Nordic region. The Company has completed the Definitive Feasibility Study for the Silver Mine project and is working on project financing issues. Photo: Sotkamo Silver

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The joint initiative called HYBRIT of SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall – here with their three representatives at the fair, from right, Martin Pei technology manager at SSAB, Jan Moström CEO of LKAB and Martin Lindqvist, CEO of SSAB. HYBRIT is now on exhibit as an exciting sustainability collaboration at one of the worlds largest industrial trade fairs in Hanover. The CEOs of the three companies are in Germany to show the rest of Europe that it is possible to produce fossil free steel. Photo: SSAB
The joint initiative called HYBRIT of SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall – here with their three representatives at the fair, from right, Martin Pei technology manager at SSAB, Jan Moström CEO of LKAB and Martin Lindqvist, CEO of SSAB. HYBRIT is now on exhibit as an exciting sustainability collaboration at one of the worlds largest industrial trade fairs in Hanover. The CEOs of the three companies are in Germany to show the rest of Europe that it is possible to produce fossil free steel. Photo: SSAB

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