Andreeva Bay in northwest Russia hosts one of the former coastal technical bases of the Northern Fleet. Currently, this base is designated as the Andreeva Bay branch of Northwest Center for Radioactive Waste Management (SevRAO) and is a site of temporary storage (STS) for spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and other radiological waste generated during the operation and decommissioning of nuclear submarines and ships. According to an integrated expert evaluation, this site is the most dangerous nuclear facility in northwest Russia. Environmental rehabilitation of the site is currently in progress and is supported by strong international collaboration. This paper describes how the optimization principle (ALARA) has been adopted during the planning of remediation work at the Andreeva Bay STS and how Russian-Norwegian collaboration greatly contributed to ensuring the development and maintenance of a high level safety culture during this process. More specifically, this paper describes how integration of a system, specifically designed for improving the radiological safety of workers during the remediation work at Andreeva Bay, was developed in Russia. It also outlines the 3D radiological simulation and virtual reality based systems developed in Norway that have greatly facilitated effective implementation of the ALARA principle, through supporting radiological characterisation, work planning and optimization, decision making, communication between teams and with the authorities and training of field operators.
Empirical data on the behavior of radionuclides in aquatic ecosystems are needed for radioecological modeling, which is commonly used for predicting transfer of radionuclides, estimating doses, and assessing possible adverse effects on species and communities. Preliminary studies of radioecological parameters including distribution coefficients and concentration ratios, for (90)Sr and (137)Cs were not in full agreement with the default values used in the ERICA Tool and the RESRAD BIOTA codes. The unique radiation situation in the Techa River, which was contaminated by long-lived radionuclides ((90)Sr and (137)Cs) in the middle of the last century allows improved knowledge about these parameters for river systems. Therefore, the study was focused on the evaluation of radioecological parameters (distribution coefficients and concentration ratios for (90)Sr and (137)Cs) for the Techa River and the Miass River, which is assumed as a comparison waterbody. To achieve the aim the current contamination of biotic and abiotic components of the river ecosystems was studied; distribution coefficients for (90)Sr and (137)Cs were calculated; concentration ratios of (90)Sr and (137)Cs for three fish species (roach, perch and pike), gastropods and filamentous algae were evaluated. Study results were then compared with default values available for use in the well-known computer codes ERICA Tool and RESRAD BIOTA (when site-specific data are not available). We show that the concentration ratios of (137)Cs in whole fish bodies depend on the predominant type of nutrition (carnivores and phytophagous). The results presented here are useful in the context of improving of tools for assessing concentrations of radionuclides in biota, which could rely on a wider range of ecosystem information compared with the process limited the current versions of ERICA and RESRAD codes. Further, the concentration ratios of (90)Sr are species-specific and strongly dependent on Ca(2+) concentration in water. The universal characteristic allows us to combine the data of fish caught in the water with different mineralization by multiplying the concentration of Ca(2+). The concentration ratios for fishes were well-fitted by Generalized Logistic Distribution function (GLD). In conclusion, the GLD can be used for probabilistic modeling of the concentration ratios in freshwater fishes to improve the confidence in the modeling results. This is important in the context of risk assessment and regulatory.
Regulatory cooperation between the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority and the Federal Medical Biological Agency (FMBA) of the Russian Federation has the overall goal of promoting improvements in radiation protection in Northwest Russia. One of the projects in this programme has the objectives to review and improve the existing medical emergency preparedness capabilities at the sites for temporary storage of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste. These are operated by SevRAO at Andreeva Bay and in Gremikha village on the Kola Peninsula. The work is also intended to provide a better basis for regulation of emergency response and medical emergency preparedness at similar facilities elsewhere in Russia. The purpose of this paper is to present the main results of that project, implemented by the Burnasyan Federal Medical Biophysical Centre. The first task was an analysis of the regulatory requirements and the current state of preparedness for medical emergency response at the SevRAO facilities. Although Russian regulatory documents are mostly consistent with international recommendations, some distinctions lead to numerical differences in operational intervention criteria under otherwise similar conditions. Radiological threats relating to possible accidents, and related gaps in the regulation of SevRAO facilities, were also identified. As part of the project, a special exercise on emergency medical response on-site at Andreeva Bay was prepared and carried out, and recommendations were proposed after the exercise. Following fruitful dialogue among regulators, designers and operators, special regulatory guidance has been issued by FMBA to account for the specific and unusual features of the SevRAO facilities. Detailed sections relate to the prevention of accidents, and emergency preparedness and response, supplementing the basic Russian regulatory requirements. Overall it is concluded that (a) the provision of medical and sanitary components of emergency response at SevRAO facilities is a priority task within the general system of emergency preparedness; (b) there is an effective and improving interaction between SevRAO and the local medical institutions of FMBA and other territorial medical units; (c) the infrastructure of emergency response at SevRAO facilities has been created and operates within the framework of Russian legal and normative requirements. Further proposals have been made aimed at increasing the effectiveness of the available system of emergency preparedness and response, and to promote interagency cooperation.
This paper describes research aimed at improving regulatory supervision of radiation safety during work associated with the management of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste at legacy sites in northwest Russia through timely identification of employees presenting unfavourable human factor risk characteristics. The legacy sites of interest include sites of temporary storage now operated by SevRAO on behalf of Rosatom. The sites were previously operational bases for servicing nuclear powered submarines and are now subject to major remediation activities. These activities include hazardous operations for recovery of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste from sub-optimal storage conditions. The paper describes the results of analysis of methods, procedures, techniques and informational issues leading to the development of an expert-diagnostic information system for monitoring of workers involved in carrying out the most hazardous operations. The system serves as a tool for human factor and professional reliability risk monitoring and has been tested in practical working environments and implemented as part of regulatory supervision. The work has been carried out by the Burnasyan Federal Medical Biophysical Center, within the framework of the regulatory cooperation programme between the Federal Medical-Biological Agency of Russia and the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority.
In compliance with the fundamentals of the government's policy in the field of nuclear and radiation safety approved by the President of the Russian Federation, Russia has developed a national program for decommissioning of its nuclear legacy. Under this program, the State Atomic Energy Corporation 'Rosatom' is carrying out remediation of a Site for Temporary Storage of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and radioactive waste (RW) at Andreeva Bay located in Northwest Russia. The short term plan includes implementation of the most critical stage of remediation, which involves the recovery of SNF from what have historically been poorly maintained storage facilities. SNF and RW are stored in non-standard conditions in tanks designed in some cases for other purposes. It is planned to transport recovered SNF to PA 'Mayak' in the southern Urals. This article analyses the current state of the radiation safety supervision of workers and the public in terms of the regulatory preparedness to implement effective supervision of radiation safety during radiation-hazardous operations. It presents the results of long-term radiation monitoring, which serve as informative indicators of the effectiveness of the site remediation and describes the evolving radiation situation. The state of radiation protection and health care service support for emergency preparedness is characterized by the need to further study the issues of the regulator-operator interactions to prevent and mitigate consequences of a radiological accident at the facility. Having in mind the continuing intensification of practical management activities related to SNF and RW in the whole of northwest Russia, it is reasonable to coordinate the activities of the supervision bodies within a strategic master plan. Arrangements for this master plan are discussed, including a proposed programme of actions to enhance the regulatory supervision in order to support accelerated mitigation of threats related to the nuclear legacy in the area.
The Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority has been implementing a regulatory cooperation program in the Russian Federation for over 10 years, as part of the Norwegian government's Plan of Action for enhancing nuclear and radiation safety in northwest Russia. The overall long-term objective has been the enhancement of safety culture and includes a special focus on regulatory supervision of nuclear legacy sites. The initial project outputs included appropriate regulatory threat assessments, to determine the hazardous situations and activities which are most in need of enhanced regulatory supervision. In turn, this has led to the development of new and updated norms and standards, and related regulatory procedures, necessary to address the often abnormal conditions at legacy sites. This paper presents the experience gained within the above program with regard to radio-ecological characterization of Sites of Temporary Storage for spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste at Andreeva Bay and Gremikha in the Kola Peninsula in northwest Russia. Such characterization is necessary to support assessments of the current radiological situation and to support prospective assessments of its evolution. Both types of assessments contribute to regulatory supervision of the sites. Accordingly, they include assessments to support development of regulatory standards and guidance concerning: control of radiation exposures to workers during remediation operations; emergency preparedness and response; planned radionuclide releases to the environment; development of site restoration plans, and waste treatment and disposal. Examples of characterization work are presented which relate to terrestrial and marine environments at Andreeva Bay. The use of this data in assessments is illustrated by means of the visualization and assessment tool (DATAMAP) developed as part of the regulatory cooperation program, specifically to help control radiation exposure in operations and to support regulatory analysis of management options. For assessments of the current radiological situation, the types of data needed include information about the distribution of radionuclides in environmental media. For prognostic assessments, additional data are needed about the landscape features, on-shore and off-shore hydrology, geochemical properties of soils and sediments, and possible continuing source terms from continuing operations and on-site disposal. It is anticipated that shared international experience in legacy site characterization can be useful in the next steps. Although the output has been designed to support regulatory evaluation of these particular sites in northwest Russia, the methods and techniques are considered useful examples for application elsewhere, as well as providing relevant input to the International Atomic Energy Agency's international Working Forum for the Regulatory Supervision of Legacy Sites.