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Migration of transuranium elements


Research of migrational peculiarities of transuranium elements in the environment

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-EHS/Environmental Health and Safety/Environment
  • ENV-MIN/Monitoring and Instrumentation/Environment

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
National Nuclear Center of the Republic of Kazakstan / Institute of Radiation Safety and Ecology, Kazakstan, Kurchatov


  • Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Germany, Jülich

Project summary

Aim of the project is to determine regularities, affecting migration of transuranium elements in basins of surface streamflows in respect of radioactive waste storages, both operating and not operated by nuclear power facilities.
The most dangerous in terms of affection degree, level and durability of adverse factors are radiation accidents. Under normal conditions the radiological situation in the country is determined by first of all natural radioactivity, including cosmic radiation; second- tests of nuclear weapons carried out; third- by presence of territories contaminated by radioactive substances resulted from previously happened accidents at nuclear industry and energy objects; the fourth, operation of nuclear- and radiation- hazardous objects (RHO).
In spite of application of combined items for increasing safety of atomic energy objects, in particular NPPS, there is still some risk of emergency situation. It’s especially important for the NPP, since even a small emission of radioactive contamination into environment, can lead to emergency situation under certain conditions. A system for detection of such situations at the earlier stage, informing respective local, regional, national and international authorities and support of adequate decision making both at the object and the surrounding territory is a necessary step in safety system of a modern NPP. Tasks of revealing emergency situations at the early stage, become topical enough for the Republic of Kazakhstan, taking into account the desire to develop modern nuclear energy in the country, and in particular by means of construction of nuclear power plants.
The former STS has several places, suitable for researches at real radiation-hazardous objects, and there is no need to create artificial (laboratory) conditions. Scientific results of this stage will additionally contribute to researches of complex processes of artificial radionuclides’ migration in the environment. Results of the research will form the base for a system of ecological monitoring of atomic energy and nuclear fuel cycle objects of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The experience gained during this work can form a base at the stage of development of atomic energy objects monitoring, as well as carrying out a complex of environmental protection measures for non- proliferation of radioactive contamination beyond sanitary protection zones of objects. Therefore based on available STS RHO, such as Shagan river and groundwaters of Degelen massaif, it is possible to model radiation-hazardous situation and to obtain the data needed.
To achieve the aim preset the following tasks should be accomplished:
1. Determination of levels and character of radioactive contamination with transuranium elements (TUE) of "soil-water" system.
2. Study of speciations, regularities of TUE distribution for different sources of their entry.
3. Determination of qualitative and quantitative parameters, affecting TUE migration to predict development of radiological situation.
During the execution of the project the following results will be obtained:
1. Character of environmental objects’ contamination with TUE at selected objects will be determined.
2. Conditions influencing TUE distribution in environmental objects will be determined.
3. Parameters influencing TUE migration will be determined.
Solving these tasks will allow in the future to carry out a complex monitoring of radiation-hazardous objects for all dangerous radionuclides, to determine their concentrations in liquid wastes, tailings of enterprises of nuclear fuel cycle. This will allow to determine and prevent in timely manner negative impacts for humans and the environment.
Obtained data on migration and distribution of transuranium elements will allow for assessment of current state of contamination of water and rocks with long-living alpha-emitting radionuclides, organizaiation of the process of hydrochemical monitoring of ground waters, assessment of possibility of secondary contamination of groundwaters as a result of radionuclides transfer from solid into liquid phase with possible change of physical and chemical conditions in water-bearing horizon, development of long-term forecast of radionuclides migration in ground waters, determining types and basic content of rehabilitation measures required
All elements of the project meet aims of the ISTC since they:
Somehow give to specialists of the RSE NNC RK, who were previously dealing with nuclear tests, opportunity to get involved into peaceful scientific work;
Support peaceful applied researches and researches in the area of environmental protection as well;
Contribute to solving such national and international technical problems as control over radioecological situation at objects with increased risk (nuclear testing sites, radioactive waste burials, NPP).
By the present time the institute has a huge experience in works on determining TUE concentrations distribution in environmental objects. The equipment used allows too analyze objects to determine concentrations of artificial radionuclides within the limits, several times below concentrations of radionuclides in soil, water, air and vegetation, preset by normative documents. Actual quality control system in laboratories assures continuous control over results of carried out researches and reliability of obtained data.
There have been developed and tested the technique for determining 241Am and 152Eu radionuclides in water samples by concentration method. The method for determining 239+240Pu, 90Sr and 137Cs artificial radionuclides content in natural waters by concentration, used in the institute, allows for determining TUE concentrations in environmental samples at the level of 1∙10-3 Bq/kg. The level achieved for minimum detectable activity of 241Am and 239+240Pu in soil samples is 0,2 Bq/kg.
Employees of the institute were trained in leading training centers of Europe. So, for example the employees attended “Geological storages: from research and development to safety provision” training courses, organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency in Mol city (Belgium), Brugg (Switzerland), Prague (Czech Republic).
The institute has scientific and methodological base for researches as follows:
Certified laboratories for radiochemical, spectrometric analysis; sampling and samples preparation.
Qualified stuff with the experience of work in ecology, radiochemistry, spectrometry.


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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