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Risks for Population of Archangel’sk Region


GeoInformation System for Assessment of Radiation, Man-Made and Social Risks for Population of Archangel’sk Region

Tech Area / Field

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

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
VNIIEF, Russia, N. Novgorod reg., Sarov

Supporting institutes

  • Institute of Environmental Problems of the North, Russia, Arkhangelsk reg., Arkhangelsk


  • Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc., USA, CA, Redlands

Project summary

The aim of this Project is to create a geoinformation system mock-up for assessment of radiation, man-made and social risks for population of Arkhangel’sk region (GIS-RA).

The creation of GIS-RA mock-up anticipates the performance of the following activities for Arkhangel’sk region:

  • gathering, processing and systematization of information on assessment of radiation, man-made and social risks;
  • integration of heterogeneous information on assessment of radiation, man-made and social risks and electronic cartographic information;
  • database generation for spatial information on assessment of radiation, man-made and social risks;
  • creation of systems to collect and actualize the database for spatial information based on state-of-the-art information technologies;
  • creation of a special-purpose Web-server and program services to administrate, search, process spatial information being in the database;
  • creation of program services for client workstations ensuring the work via Internet with the special-purpose Web-server to inquire, search and map the areas of
    Arkhangel’sk region of different and, first of all, increased risk level.

The GIS-RA mock-up is anticipated to be created based on ArcGIS program product of the US company ESRI.

The urgency of creating the public and available-to-all information resource containing assessments of radiation, man-made and social risks is explained by the following circumstances.

Arkhangel’sk region possesses enterprises of atomic ship-building and reprocessing of the nuclear fleet, the Federal nuclear testing range in Novaya Zemlya, the space center Plesetsk. In the territory of the region, there are facilities for temporary storage of radioactive materials. Construction of a nuclear power plant is scheduled in the territory.

The territory of Arkhangel’sk region (Nenets autonomous district and offshore waters included) was subjected to radioactive contamination many times as the result of nuclear weapons testing on the testing site Novaya Zemlya, burial of radioactive wastes in sea waters.

Potential hazards of natural radiation are insufficiently studied in the region. Along with radiation impact, the population of Arkhangel’sk region is subjected to essential non-radiation man-made effects.

For instance, on the banks of the Nothern Dvina there are the largest pulp and paper plants – Kotlas, Arkhangel’sk and Solombal’ ones, which contaminate atmosphere and surface waters with chemically active chlorine-organic compounds.

A number of wood-working complexes and plants applying antiseptics to treat timber pollute water environment. Enterprises of power engineering complex, operating by using coal and black oil, release heavy metals, radioactive isotopes and carbonic acid gas into atmosphere. The potential risk for population (especially in large settlements) can be presented by high- and low-frequency electromagnetic radiation from various industrial sources (power transmission lines, transformer substations, tele- and radio-transmitters, radiation of industrial plants). All these factors are reinforced by climatic conditions: Arkhangel’sk region refers to the regions of the Far North.

The risk factors of no less importance for the population of the region are those of social origin. Among such factors are: the criminality level, the state of systems for health-care, law enforcement, the level of population’s alcohol and drugs addiction, the level of labor protection at enterprises, etc. In many cases, risk factors of social origin can be dominant for the given region or territory.

The general approach to solution of risk problems of any origin can be vividly illustrated by three sequential stages: effect assessment, risk evaluation and risk control. This approach can be equally applied to both the factors of radiation risk and those of non-radiation origin (chemical contamination, unfavorable physical fields, biological and climatic factors, etc.) including factors having social bases (criminality, drags addiction, infectious diseases, infant mortality, etc.)

This approach to analysis and risk control, by using the state-of-the-art geo-information software, provides for gathering, storage, actualization and processing of the great amount of spatial information and mapping of different and, first of all, increased risk levels.

Such an approach will enable specialists’ practical evaluation of different risks and their regular decrease.

Successful completion of the project will allow extension of obtained results, developed engineering solutions and technologies to other areas and regions of Russia rich in potentially hazardous enterprises; will ensure conditions for creation of regional databases and geo-information systems to evaluate radiation, man-made and social risks for population.

The work results are of interest to the government of Arkhangel’sk region, administration of the cities of Arkhangel’sk, Severodvinsk, Novodvinsk, the Crises management center of the Minatom of Russia, the International Ecological center.