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Dust storm and waste tailings isotope migration in Tajikistan


Southern-Central part’s dust storm and Northern uranium wastes tailings isotope migration monitoring in Tajikistan

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-APC/Air Pollution and Control/Environment
  • ENV-MIN/Monitoring and Instrumentation/Environment

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Dikhanbayeva Z

Leading Institute
Physical-Technical Institute, Tajikistan, Dushanbe

Supporting institutes

  • Nuclear and Radiation Safety Agency (NRSA), Tajikistan, Dushanbe


  • Universite de Lille, France, Lille\nNASA / Goddard Space Flight Center, USA, MD, Greenbelt

Project summary

Southern and central part of Tajikistan from May to November undergo to periodic dust intrusions, which begin in the south-western neighbors. The dust invasion play significant role in the formation and change of climate, both regionally and globally. In the atmosphere of the arid zone the dust aerosol particles have mainly of mineral origin. Fine fraction of particles can be distributing by air flow far enough away from the source and long time remains in the atmosphere.
The territory of Tajikistan is 93% mountainous and containing more than 60% of fresh water of Central Asia, is rich of unique flora and fauna and a unique natural laboratory to study the propagation of dust intrusion caused by their climate change and migration of dust particles.
Climate warming can affect negatively on ecosystems of Central Asia. Climate warming leads to further desertification and other negative processes associated with dust intrusions. As a result of dust storms fine dust is remove from the desert areas to the alpine zone of the glaciers. During the implementation of ISTC projects T-1000 and T-1688, were found high level concentration of man-made radionuclides in some glaciers near the borders of China, India and Pakistan and even in glaciers Zeravshan Range (central Tajikistan), which could be formed as a result of nuclear tests in these countries [1-2].
In some cases, the concentration of radiogenic isotopes 100 times higher than the average for Central Asia. This process confirms that the alpine glaciers play an important role in nature as particle collectors, concentrating not only the radioactive isotopes, but the dust and soot [1-3].
Dust intrusion, starting in the neighboring countries and enriched in the desert area of Tajikistan (Shaartuz desert around the area more than 700 km2) distributed throughout the territory of Tajikistan. The spread of dust intrusion in the countries of Central Asia led to the transfer of environmentally hazardous man-made materials (radionuclides, metals, pesticides, defoliants and their decomposition products), a significant aerosol pollution of the atmosphere, reducing the direct solar radiation (about 30-50%), a significant reduction of photosynthesis in plants and other phenomena complicating the socio-economic problems [4-7].
Another problem affecting the ecology of Tajikistan is the migration of radionuclides in the waste tailings of uranium minerals processing factories in northern Tajikistan, left a legacy from the Soviet Union. Eight from the 10 tailings, partially rehabilitated and now pose no risk to the environment and public health. Two tailings – «Factory low-grade ores» (FBI) in Istiklol (former Taboshar) and the largest in Central Asia «Degmoy tailing» with an area about 90 hectares, near the village of Gozien, Gafurov district are open. It should be noted that the Northern Tajikistan is on the edge of the Fergana Valley and surrounded from two sides by mountains of medium height, forming wind tunnel, creating strong winds contribute to the spread of dust and particles of tailings, including radionuclides, across the valley.For many years, the particles of radioactive waste spread throughout the region, and from precipitation, wind and erosion of water contaminated areas around the objects gradually increasing [8-11].
[1]. A.A., Djuraev An.A., Davlatshoev T. at all. - Report on «Second International Workshop on Radiological Sciences and Applications (IWRSA)», Vienna, Austria, March, 16-18, pp.34-38.
[2]. Abdullaev S.F., Frank Wagner., Philippe Goloub., Oleg Dubovik, Ana Maria Silva, Brent.N.Holben et al., Investigation of aerosol pollution atmosphere on result of the dust storms (dust haze) and its influence on climate change under of ISTC project T-1688 // Proceeding Book of International Conference “Influence of global climate change on the ecosystem of arid and high mountain zone of Central Asia” May, 22-24, 2012, Dushanbe, P.74-77.
[3].Abdullaev S.F., B.I. Nazarov, V.A. Maslov, et al Distribution of natural and man-made radioactivity in the samples of dust haze south of Tajikistan / / Atmospheric and Ocean Optics. 2013. V. 25. N.3. PP.
[4]. Abdullaev S.F., Maslov V.A., Nazarov B.I., The study of the dust haze in arid zone / / Izvestia Russian Academy of Sciences. Atmospheric and Oceanic Physics.2013. V. 49. N. 2. C.
[5].Nazarov B. I., Maslov V. A., and Abdullaev S. F. Optical and Microphysical Parameters of Arid Dust Aerosol. Izvestiya, Atmospheric and Oceanic Physics, © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2010. V.46. N 4. P.468-474.
[6]. B.I. Nazarov, S. F. Abdullaev, and V. A. Maslov. Studies of Temperature Effects of Dust Storms Izvestiya, Atmospheric and Oceanic Physics. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. In 2010. V. 46. N.4. P. 475-481. [7].Abdullaev S.F., B.I. Nazarov, Salikhov T.H., Maslov V.A., Correlations of the temperature of the atmosphere and surface of the optical thickness of arid aerosol according to AERONET / / Atmospheric and Ocean Optics. 2012. V. 25. N. 5. PP.428-433.
[8]. Operating manuals. “Safe production waste management and recycling in the Central Asia countries” / International Atomic Energy Agency, November 2008, page 164.
[9]. Hakimov N., Voitsekhovich O.V., Saidov V.J., Khomidov F.A., Akhmedov M.Z. “Radio-ecological monitoring of tailings in Northern Tajikistan” / Materials of 4th Numanov’s readings (29-30 May, 2009), Dushanbe. 2009.
[10]. Mirsaidov U., Khakimov N., Nazarov H.M., “Nuclear legacy of the Soviet Union in Tajikistan: Problems and Solutions. Documents of the International Conference “Issues of potential terrorism and WMD proliferation in Central Asia”. Dushanbe. 2010.
[11]. Radiation Standards (RS-2006). Dushanbe, 2006. Page 172.


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