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Hypothetical Economic Value of Environmental Damage (EVED) using the VERA methodology in the rupture of a uranium mining tailings dam: a case study in Caldas-MG - Brazil

MOJ Ecology & Environmental Sciences
Lucimar de Carvalho Medeiros, Heuryson Ferreira Araújo, Marcelo Antonio Nero


Indústrias Nucleares do Brasil (INB), arises from Brazil’s growing nuclear activity, aiming to supervise the nuclear fuel cycle. Its installation reflects the Brazilian government’s interest in nuclear energy for industrial and technological development. In Caldas INB’s presence is linked to uranium exploration whose deactivation in 1995 had an impact on its management of radioactive waste. The tailings dam, classified as High-Risk Category (CRI-Alto) and High Risk Associated Potential Damage (DPA - Alto), stores 2,5 million cubic meters of radioactive material, representing an environmental risk as well as security risk to surrounding communities. In this work, a methodology for delineating floodplains with a 250 – meters influence area was developed based on 6, 26. The areas of natural vegetation at risk in the event of tailings dam rupture were estimated. Then the methodology of Economic Value of Environmental Resources (VERA) was adopted to perform the Economic Value of Environmental Damage (VEDA), resulting in a significant value of approximately US$290 million dollars. The conclusion was a critical importance of implementing robust prevention and mitigation measures to avoid potential catastrophic consequences involving the collapse of the tailings dam. The results of the present work emphasize the need for the company to focus on preventive actions against the collapse, since the damage to the vegetation of 1 of the dams alone was estimated at approximately 290 million dollars. This value, when added to other values related to environmental damage to water, soil and air, will be much greater than the preventive measure of decommissioning 3 INB dams in Caldas, Minas Gerais.


tailings dam, INB in Caldas, georeferencing techniques, flood inundation, economic valuation of environmental damage