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Environmental Impact of Fuel Cycles with Plutonium


Evaluation and Prognosis of radiological and Ecological Effects of Nuclear Fuel Cycles in Russia when Using Weapons- and Power- Grade Plutonium, and Definitions of Ways to Reduce These Effects

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-MRA/Modelling and Risk Assessment/Environment

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
FEI (IPPE), Russia, Kaluga reg., Obninsk

Supporting institutes

  • A.I. Burnazyan Federal Medical and Biophysical Center, Russia, Moscow\nScientific & Production Association “Typhoon”, Russia, Kaluga reg., Obninsk


  • US Department of Energy, USA, DC, Washington

Project summary

After a number of severe accidents in Russian nuclear industry and especially after the Chernobyl disaster the Russian and European public displays keen attention to the radiation exposure and environmental impact of Nuclear Power.

It is obvious that a comprehensive and competent foundation of radiological and ecological aspects of plutonium utilization is one of the main conditions for successful implementation of the strategy.

The main task of the Project being annotated consists of elaboration and application of contemporary methods of radiological and ecological danger quantitative estimation and prognosis for all nuclear fuel cycle stages necessary for uranium and plutonium mixed oxide (MOX) fuel production and its use in fast and thermal reactors of Russia, and definitions of ways to reduce the danger impacts.

Comprehensive analysis of Project tasks is being performed in Russia for the first time. Supposed consideration of ecological safety questions under large-scale weapons plutonium utilization option makes this part of the Project unique not only for Russian nuclear power but for the worldwide practice as well.

To realize specified task, technical approach is provided to perform following specific tasks:

- collection and analysis of data on radiological and chemical hazard sources, their type, composition, amount and other quantitative characteristics for all nuclear fuel cycle stages, resulting in creation of appropriate database;
- carrying out calculations and expert estimations on nuclear fuel cycle impact on human being and environment using created database and wide spectrum of radiological and ecological criteria both for normal nuclear fuel cycle operation and for some most typical and dangerous accidents;
- determination of system technological elements being of most importance for radiological and ecological safety ensuring of nuclear fuel cycle with plutonium;
- recommendations on radiological and ecological safety improvement for plutonium utilization.

The main result of Project performance will be significant contribution to plutonium handling strategy development for nuclear power in operation and being designed in Russia, taking into account economical situation in the country as well as possible science and technical support from abroad.

Project results and materials should become also a basis for public relations for ecology acceptance substantiation of plutonium involvement into the Russia nuclear fuel cycle.

Project fulfillment assumes involvement of high skilled specialists who were earlier engaged in the field of development and production of nuclear weapons. This fact will provide high scientific level of the Project and will assist in scientists’ redirection for peaceful aims.

Success of Project realization and high scientific and technical level of investigations being performed within Project framework could be significantly assisted by collaboration with foreign colleagues in the field of modernization and development of radiological and ecological impact estimation methods adopted in Russia and proper calculation codes, as well as in the field of results compliance check with European Community and Japanese ecological standards and determination of ways and efforts to approach to these standards.


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