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Radiation Monitoring at the Armenian NPP


Development of on-line radiation monitoring system in the impact zone of the Armenian NPP

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-MRA/Modelling and Risk Assessment/Environment
  • FIR-NSS/Nuclear Safety and Safeguarding/Fission Reactors
  • INF-COM/High Performance Computing and Networking/Information and Communications

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Kulikov G G

Leading Institute
Yerevan State University, Armenia, Yerevan

Supporting institutes

  • Scientific & Production Association “Typhoon”, Russia, Kaluga reg., Obninsk\nArmenian NPP, Armenia, Metsamor


  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory / National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center, USA, CA, Livermore\nSCK-CEN, Belgium, Mol

Project summary

The development of systems providing response to emergency radioactive discharges at nuclear facilities is one of principal present-day problems prompted by both the necessity to create an efficient and inexpensive source of power supply and the increased risk for the population in the vicinity of nuclear facilities. It is generally recognized that at normal operation of a NPP the risk of adverse impact on the population is minimal as compared to other sources of energy. However, a number of major accidents, particularly the Chernobyl accident, made anxious the public opinion in many countries and gave rise to negative attitude to nuclear power.

In Armenia such developments resulted in shutdown of the NPP and the following energy crisis (1989-1995), which made it necessary to resume the NPP operations. At the same time, resolution of economic and energy problems should not lead to a higher radiation risk for the population than that accepted by the international standards of radiation safety. One of the ways of reducing the risk of NPP impact on the population and environment is the creation of on-line emergency response systems based on the real-time subsystems of automated measurements, assessment of radiation situation and decision making support.

The main objective of the proposed project is the development of such system for the Armenian NPP (ANPP).

The ANPP in Medzamor has two power units with the WWR–440 type reactors put into operation in 1976 and 1980, correspondingly. At present, the second unit is being operated which was restarted in 1995 after 6 years’ downtime. The ANPP is situated in Ararat valley, the most densely populated part of the republic. The city of Yerevan, being distended only 30 km from the plant, falls into the impact zone of the Armenian NPP.

The meteorological patterns influencing the spread of contaminants from the ANPP are mainly determined by the geographic features of the territory, namely, immediate proximity to the Main Caucasian mountain ridge manifested in mountain-valley circulations which become particularly noticeable at anticyclone conditions. This fact imposes additional requirements to the meteorological and radiation monitoring in the ANPP’s near zone.

At present, the department of the NPP radiation protection carries out the monitoring of the radiation situation mainly in non-automated mode what is obviously insufficient for adequate assessment of the situation especially in emergency conditions.

To attain a new level of emergency response meeting the modern requirements of radiation safety, it is necessary to create a monitoring system allowing assessing and predicting the radiation situation in the NPP area in real-time operation mode. This implies that for observation network should be used the devices for automated recording and transmission of the parameters of radiation situation located taking into consideration both possible directions of radio-nuclides distribution in the environment and relevant meteorological data. Moreover, the structure of the radiation monitoring system data bank should provide an interaction of used databases by a network data presentation model on which basis a flexible system of inquiries and information presentation should be founded. The monitoring system software should include a set of models for diagnosis and prediction of the environmental distribution of radioactivity and assessment of the radiation exposure of population at normal and emergency operations of the ANPP. As an input data such models should use both prognostic and actual meteorological information. Besides, an algorithm for adjustment of model parameters on the basis of the measurement results of the automated monitoring system should be provided.

Projects of this kind were and are being implemented in Russia within the state program EGASKRO (in particular RECASS NT system), while in Europe the relevant activities are under way as a part of establishing the RODOS system by the initiative of the European Commission. In this context, it seems appropriate to use for the purpose of the proposed project the achievements of the organizations experienced in designing and implementation of monitoring systems.

The ultimate goal of the project is to create an on-line functioning system of radiation monitoring in the impact zone of the ANPP allowing assessing the scope of emergency discharges in real-time operation mode on the basis of automated measurements, predicting their distribution and expected consequences as well as long-term effects of regular discharges taking into account the ANPP’s specific conditions.

It is suggested to use as methodological and technical the RECASS NT system. This system was developed by the SPA “Typhoon” and is now used by the Roshydromet organizations, by the Russian Federal Agency for Atomic Energy, by the Rosenenergoatom enterprises including the Russian NPPs. The SPA “Typhoon” was the leading institution in the ISTC projects No 085 and No 513 dealing with adjacent problems. The experience gained in developing of software as well as scientific, methodical and technical tasks under the abovementioned projects should provide a basis for an efficient implementation of the present project.

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre are the world-known leaders in development of monitoring devices and modeling of environmental spread of radioactivity. Their participation in the project should guarantee the succession of methodological and technical approaches to the projected tasks.

The experience to be gained during the project implementation could be applied in the countries founding their energy policy on creating and operating the NPPs in complex geographic regions.