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Risks for Population near Nuclear Industry Objects


Complex Analysis of Radiation, Technogenic and Social Risks Structure for Population of Areas of Nuclear Industry Influence

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-MRA/Modelling and Risk Assessment/Environment
  • ENV-EHS/Environmental Health and Safety/Environment

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Institute of Industrial Ecology, Russia, Sverdlovsk reg., Ekaterinburg

Supporting institutes

  • VNIITF, Russia, Chelyabinsk reg., Snezhinsk


  • Baylor College of Medicine, USA, TX, Houston\nBrookhaven National Laboratory / Environment & Waste Technology Center, USA, NY, Upton

Project summary

A number of investigations being conducted nowadays in Russia is devoted both to the estimation of radiation doses and to the epidemiology of the population inhabiting in areas of enhanced radiation exposure. For the most part they are directed to the solution of separate problems connected with certain types of exposure on inpidual territories. For example, well known are studies of the population of the Techa River, employees of PA “Mayak”, population of the East-Ural Radioactive Trace (EURT) area, and investigation of exposure to natural radiation sources.

However, along with these types of exposure, the population is affected by other important factors:

  • chemical pollutants: atmospheric pollution, surface water pollution, and foodstuff polution as a result of activity of metallurgical, chemical and nonnuclear enterprises of the power engineering complex, and using of pesticides in agriculture, etc.;
  • high- and low-frequency electromagnetic radiation from various industrial sources: power transmission lines, transformer stations, television and radio transmissions, and radiation of industrial-scale plants;
  • social: crime rate, consumption of narcotics and alcohol by population, status of law enforcement, health protection and labor protection at enterprises, etc.;
  • medical diagnostic and preventive treatments: fluorography, mammography, etc.

Now there are no data on complex damage cased to the population by all types of exposure. So it is impossible to range the risk factors and therefore to determine foreground directions of rehabilitation actions.

Goal of the presented project - development of a technique for comprehensive estimation, analysis, and management of radiation, technogenic, and social risks for the population of a zone affected by enterprises of the atomic complex on the example of the Chelyabinsk Region.

In the course of the project realizing the following results will be obtained:

1. Assessment of levels of the effect of population radiation exposure, caused by the following radiation sources:

  • nuclear power enterprises;
  • radiation contamination of the region following emergency situations at the Production Association “Mayak” (the explosion of the reservoir with radioactive waste in 1957 and the wind dispersion of radioactive sediments from the banks of the Karachay Lake in 1967);
  • sites of disposal and temporary storage of radioactive waste;
  • natural radiation sources, including radon, thoron, and natural radioaction sources;
  • medical diagnisic studies;
  • other radiation sources emerged in the process of investigations.
2. Numerical values of radiation risks caused by each of the sources, and corresponding values of expected loss of life expectancy, calculated on the base of these values.
3. Analisys of basic non-radiation techogenic factors and assessment of numerical values of oncological and non-oncological risks.
4. Analysis of basic risk factors of social origin, and determination of the effect of these factors on the structure of morbidity and mortality.

Based on the comparison between the risks from various sources and the expected loss of life expectancy, optimized approaches will be developed to compensate the negative consequences of the effect of radiation exposure on the population of the zone influenced by nuclear enterprises of the Chelyabinsk region.

Technical Approach and Methodology.

When calculating the radiation exposures of the population caused by natural and man-made radiation sources, modern models of radionuclide migration in the environment and throughout the food chains are used. Calculation of internal irradiation doses depending on the age structure of the population will be conducted with consideration of recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP). These recommendations are based on modern biokinetic models of the behavior of radionuclides in a human organism. In calculating the radiation risks, alternative approaches should be used to assess the absolute and relative risks taking into account the age at exposure, the radiation exposure duration, the region demographic characteristics, as well as the cancer morbidity specific for the region.

When assessing the medical exposure, an analysis of information will be conducted by type and amount of diagnostic investigations conducted, by parameters of radiation exposure for different procedures, as well as by age distribution of patients subjected to X-ray and radionuclide diagnostics.

To estimate the man-made population exposure, both the detailed current investigations and the analysis of available archival materials, which are usually not enough detailed and complete, are used. With incomplete initial data on the population exposure to hazards factors, it may be necessary to develop physical and mathematical models (based on the multifactor analysis procedure) that provide the estimation of the affect with the required accuracy.

The radiation and chemical risks are assessed with the use of risk extrapolation models. This approach is used due to the lack of information on consequences of the exposure of human organism to pollutants. The calculations will be conducted with the use of several independent models that have been developed to date by the following institutions: the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), ICRP, the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UN SCEAR), and others. This will make possible to assess the range of estimation uncertainty conditioned by the choice of the radiation risk assessment model. Adaptation of the models to the Russian conditions and conditions of inpidual regions will be provided by the example of the Chelyabinsk Region.

To estimate the social risks, a differentiated analysis of statistical and population data will be conducted for different territories to recognize the most significant factors affecting on the social-demographic situation. Data on life expectancy and spontaneous frequency of cancer cases of various localizations will be obtained.

It is necessary to switch from the probabilistic risk values obtained to values that allow the economic assessment of damage caused by radiation to the population health.

At the stage of risk management, based on the comparison of assessments of economical damages caused by radiation and non-radiation factors, all causes affecting on the people’s life standards in the Chelyabinsk Region should be ranged and a strategy of actions improving the situation should be worked out. At this stage it is necessary to take account of the interrelation between separate risk components and to select a parameter that allows the best comparison of damages to health, caused by different risk factors. This parameter is desired to make it possible not only to conduct a quantitative comparison, but to make economical assessments of effect of exposure to various risk factors.

The result of practical application of the risk compensation principles and practical recommendations on application of these principles, being developed in the course of project realization, will be the optimization of the strategy of rehabilitation actions that are conducted to eliminate consequences of radiation accidents and radioactive contamination of the territory. The problems of comparison and ranging of various sources of population risk may arise when solving problems connected with the chemical contamination of the territory due to the activity of chemical or metallurgy industry enterprises. The technical solutions and methodological approaches obtained in the course of project may be applied to the solution of general problems of estimation and optimization of man-made risks both in Russia and abroad.

Foreign collaborators may participate in the project in the following basic fields:

  • information exchange in the course of project realization;
  • information support of the project and preparation of joint analytical reviews (for publishing in Russian and English);
  • issue of comments for technical reports on the project (quarterly, annual, final reports, etc);
  • crosschecks of the results obtained in the course of project realization;
  • participation in technical control of project activities, conducted by ISTC officials;
  • holding of joint symposia and work seminars, etc.

Principle executors of the project: Institute of Industrial Ecology of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IIE UB RAS) and FSUE Zababakhin Russian Federal Nuclear Center – All-Russian Institute of Technical Physics (FSUE RFNC-VNIITF).

At IIE UB RAS, fundamental studies are being conducted, that are directed toward ensuring the ecological safety of activities at objects of the fuel and energy complex, including atomic industry and power engineering. These investigations in combination with the technical approaches that have been developed to solve ecological problems of power engineering are expanding to wide range of applications. The Institute has at its disposal a number of unique scientific-research installations having not analogues in the region. At present time the project executors at IIE UB RAS are participating in works on the programs: Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR), RFBR-Ural, RFBR-Yugra, Russian Humanitarian Scientific Fund (RHSF), Federal Task Program “Social and Radiation Rehabilitation of Population and Territory of the Ural Region ….”, Federal Task Program “Nuclear and Radiation Safety of Russia”, Federal Task Program “Decrease of Risks and Diminution of Consequences of Emergency Situations of Nature and Man-Made Origin in Russia”, Federal Task Program “Integration”, UB RAS Scientific-Technical Program “Yekateriburg”, Regional Task Program “Radiation Safety of Population of the Hanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Region for 2001-2006”.

At FSUE RFNC-VNIITF, the works are being conducted on the analysis of retrospective data and on the experimental estimate of the current contamination level of the territory. This is important for estimating the risk of adverse consequences of man-made population exposure. Availability of radiation monitoring service and specialists in mathematical statistics and data bases make it possible to estimate the radiation environments, to conduct map-making of the territory, and to calculate the radiation doses for various population groups. The specialists of FSUE RFNC-VNIITF have the experience of works in the following fields: - substantiation of safety of treatment of nuclear and radioactive materials;- storage and shipment of nuclear and radioactive materials;- assessment of the environmental effect of reactor complexes;-elaboration of special constructional materials at nuclear power objects;- assessment of risks of non-proliferation of nuclear materials;- protection of nuclear installations against unlawful actions, etc.


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