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Groundwater Transport of Radionuclides

#K-810


Study of Radionuclides Transport with Ground Water to Predict Possible Effects of Drinking Water and Geological Environment Radioactive Contamination at Semipalatinsk Test Site

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-WPC/Water Pollution and Control/Environment

Status
8 Project completed

Registration date
01.10.2001

Completion date
06.10.2005

Senior Project Manager
Kulikov G G

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

Supporting institutes

  • Institute of Global Climate and Ecology, Russia, Moscow\nNational Nuclear Center of the Republic of Kazakstan / Institute of Geophysical Researches, Kazakstan, Kurchatov\nInstitute of Dynamics of the Geosphere, Russia, Moscow

Collaborators

  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, USA, CA, Livermore\nPacific Northwest National Laboratory / Environmental Technology Division, USA, WA, Richland

Project summary

The Project Objective is to study the groundwater transfer of radionuclides within the Semipalatinsk Test Site area. To reach the goal set it is proposed to carry out a set of office (guidance) and field studies.

A number of objects with unfavorable geoecological situation indicating the hydraulic connection between an underground nuclear explosion (UNE) cavity and ground waters will be identified based on the results of generalization and systematization of unique archival information about the geological environment response to the explosion impact at the former Semipalatinsk Test Site (STS). The basic criteria for selection of the reference measurement points – observation holes – informative for arranging the experimental investigations will be developed within the areas identified.

A mathematical model accounting for boundary conditions of the migration process changing with time will be worked out to determine spatial features of radionuclide transfer with ground waters. Changes in filtration parameters of the mountain massif of concern occurring during an UNE will also be taken into account when developing the mathematical model.

A special procedure for combining field work on representative groundwater sampling and laboratory determinations will be develop to effectively analyze samples for radionuclides. Tritium, cesium, strontium and plutonium isotopes are supposed to be “marking” components.

The field expeditions to some designated STS areas will help to identify the extent of disturbance of the hydrogeochemical and hydrogeodynamic situation that determines conditions of radionuclide transfer with ground water. The contaminated areas existing within the considered water-bearing horizons and geological structures are to be outlined during the planned work implementation.

The analysis of the information obtained will be used to identify regional patterns of radionuclide transfer with ground water within the STS.

The results of integrated studies of radionuclide migration with ground water will be laid down as a basis for elaboration of recommendations on rational nature management at the STS in order to mitigate or prevent unfavorable effects of the geological environment radioactive contamination.

The present Project is distinguished by the urgency and novelty of the issue addressed – assessment of radioactive contamination of the geological environment caused by UNE. The Project proposed has no analogues and incorporates original research.

Scientists from RAS IGD and IGCE were directly involved in field and experimental works carried out at the former Semipalatinsk Test Site during its operation. The high skill level of specialists from IRSE, IGR, IGCE, and RAS IGD experienced in assessment of nuclear test effects assures impartial statement of the given problem.

The analysis of the stock information and materials obtained by expeditions to the underground nuclear test areas will be certainly of interest for international scientific organizations solving problems related to the radioactive waste disposal.


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