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Assessment of Radiological Consequences of Fires in Natural Ecosystems in Exclusion Zone

The SNRIU as the competent national authority and official communication center in compliance with the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident maintains 24-hour contact with the IAEA Incident and Emergency Center (details can be found at: https://www.iaea.org/ru/o-nas/centr-po-incidentam-i-avariynym-situaciyam) and with competent authorities for nuclear and radiation safety of other countries, in accordance with international treaties of Ukraine on notification and exchange of information on nuclear accidents and other radiological incidents.

 

Since 6 April 2020, the SNRIU, in cooperation with organizations of the Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Service, services that conduct radiation monitoring of licensees in the field of nuclear energy and the team of the SSTC NRS mobile radiological laboratory forecasts, assesses and informs the public on its official resources about the radiological situation and radiological risks of fires in natural ecosystems of the exclusion zone using the monitoring data and RODOS forecast system. The results of measurements with precise reference to the monitoring locations, exposure time and calculation methods are also available in uniform format of international information exchange on the USIE IAEA special secured platform.

Upon SNRIU request, the RanidSONNI mobile radiology laboratory of the State Nuclear and Radiation Safety Scientific and Technical Center has been involved since 5 April 2020 into operational monitoring over the content of man-made radionuclides in the surface layer in Kyiv and its surroundings and verification of atmospheric transfer modeled using actual weather conditions by measuring the radiological characteristics of the air. The results are posted on the official sites of the technical support organization and are available at https://sstc.ua/news.

For reference: The radiation background in the exclusion zone is continuously monitored by 39 points of the automatic radiation monitoring system (ARMS). The data are sent to the control center once an hour and every two minutes in emergencies and are available at http://www.srp.ecocentre.kiev.ua/MEDO-PS/index.php?lang=UKR

 

Radioecological data for the city of Kyiv (dose rate) and the territory of Ukraine are presented on the map of the European radiological data exchange platform in real time: EURDEP   https://remap.jrc.ec.europa.eu/GammaDoseRates.aspx

Data from points of facility-level and institutional radiation monitoring systems on the territory of Ukraine that are available for analysis indicate that equivalent gamma dose rates (gamma background in the air) have not changed since fires occurred and are within natural ranges peculiar to specific locations.   

The SNRIU conducts state oversight over nuclear and radiation safety rules and regulations to be met by entities in the field of nuclear energy and coordinates activities of central and local executive bodies responsible for nuclear and radiation safety.

In connection with prolonged fires, state inspectors of the Nuclear and Radiation Safety Inspectorate in the exclusion zone additionally checked the protection of ChNPP facilities against the effects of fires in natural ecosystems and made sure that the plant personnel were properly prepared and ready for actions.

The nuclear installations and radioactive waste management facilities of the Chornobyl NPP are in safe state. They cannot be affected by forest fires because of engineering and technical features and operational actions of personnel.


On 13 April 2020, at 14:32, according to the shift supervisor of the Chornobyl NPP, the forest fire approached the temporary site for storage of technological soil and large reinforced concrete structures that were removed in constructing the foundations for the New Safe Confinement (NSC) and in strengthening and sealing the protective structure for NSC.

 


This facility is part of the ChNPP infrastructure, but is located at some distance from nuclear installations and facilities for the treatment and storage of radioactive waste from ChNPP. The materials (remaining structures) that are temporarily stored on this site are non-combustible.

The reference levels of equivalent dose (gamma background) and other radiological indicators at places where ChNPP personnel stay permanently have not been exceeded.

 

The impact of forest fires on temporary sites for storage of radioactive waste generated in the Chornobyl accident, which are under regular maintenance of the Centralized Radioactive Waste Management Enterprise, will be assessed after the fires are extinguished. The forest fires do not pose any threat to the licensed radioactive waste storage facilities at the Vector site and Pidlisny and Chornobyl NPP State III radioactive waste storage sites.

 

Personnel of the State Emergency Service, State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management and other enterprises that are involved in the extinguishing of fires and work in the exclusion zone apply respiratory protective equipment against combustion products and are provided with individual dosimeters. ChernobylFire OSCE information module is used to calculate internal exposure doses. Internal exposure of personnel is monitored by the Ecocenter using a whole body counter.

 

Information on the forecast calculations for the movement of potentially contaminated air masses is permanently posted on the SSTC NRS website. The measured data generally confirm the forecast models developed by experts using the RODOS decision support system.