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Biological Impact of Contaminated Sites in Kyrghyz Republic

#KR-515


Environmental Contamination by Radionuclides and Heavy Metals of Waste/Tailing Sites in Kyrghyz Republic: Study of Impact on Human and Animals

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-EHS/Environmental Health and Safety/Environment

Status
3 Approved without Funding

Registration date
27.04.2000

Leading Institute
Kyrgyz State National University, Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek

Supporting institutes

  • VNIIEF, Russia, N. Novgorod reg., Sarov

Collaborators

  • Universite Montpellier II / Institut des Sciences de l'Evolution, France, Montpellier\nSouthwest Research and Information Center, USA, NM, Albuquerque

Project summary

The goal of the Project is to develop environmental control procedures based on the study of the radioactive and chemical impact of uraniferous radon waters, heavy metal salts and other pollutants on the heredity and bioproductivity of animals, and on the health of the population, residing in contaminated areas.

The priority industries in the Kyrghyz Republic concern mining, processing and power. Processing operations have, it appears, neglected all environmental control with the result that over 45 tailing storage and dumps of radioactive and toxic waste, all coming from uranium industries, are distributed now across Kyrghyzstan. The following tailing storage sites are found in the south of Kyrghyzstan (total area 432,000m2). More tailing storage sites can be found in the Chuiskaya and Keminskaya valleys and in the Issyk Kul and Naryn regions. There are mercury, antimony, arsenic, sulfur, and cyanides in tailing sites in the south of Kyrghyzstan.

These storage facilities have been constructed without adequate safety structures, and they are located near populated areas. As a result, these inefficient constructions are damaged by exposure to precipitation and other environmental influences and, thus, the rock washout that occurs will let toxic and radioactive materials contaminate water, soil and vegetation. This, in turn, impacts the fauna and people that populate the area. As a consequence, the population dynamics of water and land animals deteriorates and, most dangerously, their heredity is affected. There are early data, illustrating that some species of fish, amphibia, reptiles and mammals that occur in a radon water area have shown chromosome breaks and the development of satellite chromosomes, i.e. symptoms of aneuploidy. Some fish species have shown body distortions. Thus, uranium ore mining and processing operations have involved the generation of high quantities of solid and liquid waste that may potentially influence human health and endanger the existence of unique species of animals.

The project includes the following stages:


· Experimental study of the actual distribution and migration to the environment of radionuclides from the waste storage sites of uranium productions;
· Radiological survey of areas neighboring the waste storage sites of uranium productions;
· Inpidual dose monitoring of selected groups of the population residing in the areas of interest;
· Chromosomal aberrations of animals and humans;
· Analysis of heavy metal salts in the blood and organs of animals and humans;
· Investigation of the formed elements of blood for animals and humans;
· Study of the immune system of animals and humans;
· Investigation into the radionuclide migration by food chains and effects on the population dynamics of animals and humans;
· Evaluation of socio-economic damage due to radioactive and chemical contamination of areas in Kyrghyzstan.

Meeting each of the above goals will be of great scientific and applied value, because the project results can be further used to assess the impact of unfavorable environments on human health and the heredity and bioproductivity of animals. In addition, project results may be useful to support safe operations in the mining, processing and power industries and to address national and international environmental problems related to the effects of radioactive and other kinds of hazardous waste from industry.


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