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Radiation Load of Inhabitants of Semipalatinsk Region


Estimation Radiation Load of Inhabitants of Semipalatinsk Region on the Base of Definition of Pu-238-241, Am-241 and Sr-90 Isotope Concentrations in Biological Tissues

Tech Area / Field

  • BIO-RAD/Radiobiology/Biotechnology

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
National Nuclear Center of the Republic of Kazakstan / Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kazakstan, Almaty

Supporting institutes

  • Research Institute for Radiation Medicine and Ecology, Kazakstan, Semipalatinsk


  • Washington State University/Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, USA, WA, Richland\nHiroshima University / Research Institute for Radiation Biology and Medicine, Japan, Hiroshima

Project summary

The purpose of the project is Concentration definition of incorporated in organisms radionuclides Pu238-241, Am241 and Sr90 and radiation load estimation of inhabitants of a number of settlements, joined to Semipalatinsk nuclear test site.

Population of these settlements is worried about possible negative influence of nuclear explosions on their health that serves a reason of hypnosis of some radiation diseases.

Nowadays radiation situation in the region is caused of isotopes Pu238-241, Am241 и Sr90. It is known that during nuclear tests at Semipalatinsk nuclear test site about 7000 Ci of plutonium (or 100 kg) and 27000 Ci of Sr90 were thrown out into atmosphere (Dubasov and others, 1994: "Nuclear explosions in the USSR", 1998). Not less than 50% of them was fallen out at the test site and its neighborhoods where many settlements are situated. Chronically entering into organism by aerogenic and peroral ways than selectively accumulating in lung, liver and bone system these dangerous radionuclides can cause cancerous growth. In spite of the threat of people health the investigations on radionuclide definition in organisms of region inhabitants did not carried out. So it isn't known what concentration and level of internal irradiation of people by Pu238-241, Am241 and Sr90 is.

P. Hill and others (NATO project of 1996) didn't revealed plutonium content in urine samples of inhabitants of the Semipalatinsk region. The cause is in small plutonium concentration isolated from organism with urine (bounds of plutonium revealing – 4 mBq in daily urine portion).

Unlike to indirect estimation the direct measurement of radionuclide concentration in organism is more right. So the detailed investigation of content of incorporated Pu238-241, Am241 and Sr90 in inhabitant organisms living in settlements with radiation risk is the task of primary importance. The realization of this task has an important scientific-practical meaning in radiation medicine and radioecology. The received results will provide of epidemiologists for hard dosimetric data for scientific sound estimation of people radiation diseases, forecast of distant stochastic effects.

The results of the project to our opinion can initiate further development of investigated works on radiation-hygienic characteristics of biotope and degree of charge of population of Semipalatinsk region by products of nuclear tests.

Competence of initiators

Scientific-technical staff attracted to realization of this project possesses a high qualification in the field of radio-ecological investigations, radiation medicine and radiobiology and also radiochemical and spectrometric analysis.

Expected results

During realization of the project the following results will be reached:

- content and concentration of radionuclides of Pu238-241, Am241 and Sr90 in separate human organs and tissues are defined;
- annual equivalent doses from Pu238-241, Am241 and Sr90 on separate organs and tissues and inpidual and collective effective doses caused by these radionuclides in studied region are calculated;
- estimation of possible influence of effective dose values from Pu238-241, Am241 and Sr90 on frequency of oncological diseases in examined regions.

After project carrying out the correct information of radionuclide content in human organism will be obtained and annual doses from investigated radionuclides will be estimated. In this connection there will be offered recommendations directed minimization of negative influence of radiation and increase of resistantion of organism on development of general and inpidual approaches of medicine people rehabilitation.

Work content

At realization of the project the following kinds of works will be fulfilled:

– choice of settlements;
– selection and primary processing of biological samples;
– sample preparation for the analysis;
– adaptation of attested method of definition of isotopes Pu238-241, Am241 and Sr90 in environmental - objects conformably to biological tissues;
– definition of content and level of concentration of isotopes Pu238-241, Am241 and Sr90 in organs and tissues of autopsy material and in tissues removed by surgical operation;
– calculation of annual effective doses;
estimation of possible negative influence of internal irradiation of Pu238-241, Am241 и Sr90 on people health of the investigated territories;
– population information distribution by the aid of information bulletins about degree of its contact with products of nuclear explosions (public release and public involvement); publication in home and foreign reviewed editions (peer reviewed journals).

Role of foreign collaborators

The project foresees the collaboration with Low Level Radioactivity Laboratory Kanazawa University and Research Institute for Radiation Biology and Medicine, Hiroshima University and discussion of investigation program, methodic problems and received results, carrying out of control analysis and publication of the project materials.

Technical approach and methodology

The inhabitants of settlements, joined to former Semipalatinsk nuclear test site are objects for investigations. The samples selection will be carried out from autopsic material (lungs, tracheobronchial lymph nodes, livers, kidneys and bones), surgically removed organs and tissues holding of ethical and legal regulations and with the consent of relatives of dead and donors lived there. Alpha-, beta- and gamma nuclides will be separated from selected samples by radiochemical analysis. Concentration of Pu238-241, Am241 and Sr90 in samples is defined using alpha- and beta-spectrometric apparatus.

The values of annual effective doses will be calculated on concentration Pu238-241, Am241 and Sr90 contained in organs and tissues according to recommendations of ICRP (publications ##43, 67, 69, 71, 82) and norms of radiation safety-99.

Radiation load on inhabitant health is estimated on the basis of calculation of annual doses and comparison of dose loading with data of oncoepidemiological materials and medicine statistics.

Correspondence to aims of ISTC

Represented project, to our opinion, corresponds to aims of ISTC. It is devoted to problem of employment of former specialists of arms field whose activity will be directed to decision of the problems of rehabilitation of people health suffered both from nuclear explosions and from influence of consequences of explosions. For carrying out of investigated works the qualified scientists, engineers and technicians, taking part in nuclear weapon test, elaboration and tests of reactors for rockets, and medicine and radiation- hygienic estimation of consequences of nuclear explosions.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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