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.