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Pollutant Transport on the Karachai Lake


Atmospheric Transport of Radioactivity in the Vicinity of the Karachai Lake

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-MRA/Modelling and Risk Assessment/Environment

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Kulikov G G

Leading Institute
VNIITF, Russia, Chelyabinsk reg., Snezhinsk


  • Los-Alamos National Laboratory, USA, NM, Los-Alamos

Project summary

The work proposed is an extension of research on modeling of mesoscale atmospheric transport of contaminants carried out within the framework of ISTC Project # 048-94. This work has resulted in development of codes CAT3D and TREC for computing atmospheric transport of polydispersed aerosols, aimed at simulation of environmental contamination caused by accidents of explosion type (see in the Internet). For verification of the codes data were used on radioactive contamination of territory resulted from well-known accident at Production Association "Mayak" of 1957 which caused formation of Eastern-Urals Radioactive Trace.

Within the framework of the Proposed Project it is planned to update the developed codes for modeling of atmospheric transport in the following directions:

- develop more advanced models and codes for computing wind field in atmospheric boundary layer taking into account heterogeneity of underlying surface;
- select and verify models and codes for computing wind lift of aerosols from the ground surface;
- develop an effective link between the atmospheric transport codes and cartographic systems.

Implementation of this program would enable to significantly expand capabilities of CAT3D and TREC, in particular, use them for a new class of problems - computing of wind lift and transport of contaminating aerosols from the ground surface.

Verification of the models and codes are planned to be conducted using available data on radioactive contamination of territory nearby the Karachai lake caused by the notorious radiation incident of 1967. This lake was used by PO "Mayak" as an open depository of radioactive wastes. As it is known in the spring of 1967 due to warm and dry weather, the Karachai lake level went down significantly. This resulted in baring of the lake coastal area with radioactive deposits. Wind transport of radioactive dust from this area caused significant contamination of adjacent territory. According to existing assessments about 600 Ci of radioactive wastes were carried away from the Karachai lake coast. Area of the contaminated territory made up 1800 km2 by the level 0.1 Ci of Sr-90 /km2.

Analysis of data on radioactivity wind transport from the Karachai lake coast in 1967 and simulation of this accident are of obvious independent interest due to its considerable scale and sparseness of data published.

Principal results of the proposed work would be the following:

- development of data base on radioactive contamination of territory nearby the Karachai lake caused by wind transport of radioactivity in 1967, as well as data base on respective weather conditions;
- development of models and codes for computing wind lift of aerosols from the ground surface and their spread above heterogeneous underlying surface;
- verification of these models by comparing the calculation results with available measurement data on radioactive contamination in the vicinity of the Karachai lake in 1967.

The results obtained can also turn to be helpful for assessment of radioactive contamination of territory adjacent to open waste depositories caused by wind transport.

Foreign collaborators are welcome to participate in the Project. The collaboration is the most desirable on the following issues:

- discussion and selection of models of wind field in atmosphere boundary layer and models for aerosol wind lift,
- verification of these models by comparing calculation results with measurement data on contamination of territory adjacent to the Karachai lake in 1967.


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