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Soil-Vegetable Cover Restoration of Uranium Tailing

#KR-1893


Radiation Monitoring and Soil-Vegetable Cover Restoration of Uranium Tailings in Mountain Conditions of Kadji-Sai and Issyk- Kul Biosphere Territory

Tech Area / Field

  • BIO-RAD/Radiobiology/Biotechnology
  • AGR-DIS/Disease Surveillance/Agriculture
  • AGR-PPR/Plant Protection/Agriculture
  • BIO-DIV/Biodiversity/Biotechnology
  • BIO-REM/Bioremediation/Biotechnology
  • BIO-SFS/Biosafety and BioSecurity/Biotechnology
  • CHE-CAA/Control and Accounting/Chemistry
  • CHE-SAS/Safety and Security/Chemistry
  • ENV-EHS/Environmental Health and Safety/Environment
  • ENV-WDS/Waste Disposal/Environment
  • MED-DIS/Disease Surveillance/Medicine
  • MED-RAD/Radiomedicine/Medicine

Status
3 Approved without Funding

Registration date
09.09.2010

Leading Institute
Institute of Biology and Pedology, Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek

Supporting institutes

  • Biosphere territory of “Isik-Kol”, Kyrgyzstan, Balykchy

Collaborators

  • University of Minnesota / Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, USA, MN, St Paul\nInstitute Josef Stefan, Slovenia, Ljublana

Project summary

At mining and processing of uranium ores the enormous amount of waste with high uranium and potentially hazardous chemical elements and their compounds level were dumped (747,22 million m3) in the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic (Torgoev, Aleshin, 2009). The condition of the dumps and tailings is poor, and radioactive waste, heavy metals and the toxic materials can pollute the environment (soil, air, water) and living organisms. These organisms are involved in biochemical cycles and form biogeochemical provinces.

However these uranium provinces and peculiarities of various organisms’ vital functions (organisms’ reactions for increased radionuclides content, a microbe complex state, biopersity, and man) have not been studied yet. A real biogeochemical situation is not clear too. Man-caused biogeochemical provinces evolution prognoses are absent. According to limited data of medical examiners and geologists, the man-caused uranium provinces have significantly changed in the republic for the last 60-year period.

Ecological, geochemical and biogeochemical problems of rare and rare-earth elements are of paramount importance. The most urgent is revealing of ecology-bio-geochemical peculiarities of territories enriched by uranium and assessment of organisms’ reactions in biogeocenoses for high content of radionuclides and polymetals.

Taking into account, that the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic is not adequately explored concerning uranium and other hazardous chemical elements distribution, and that public interest to this problem has increased in the world, the weapon scientists formulated the project goal - Radiation monitoring and the uranium tailings soil-vegetable cover restoration in mountain conditions (case study of Kadji-Sai, and Issyk-Kul biosphere territory). It is known, that the given territory - "Issik-Kul biosphere territory" is switched on the list the world heritage of protected territory of UNESCO (2001 y.). But, nevertheless, on this territory there is a question a problem of radioecology - uranium tails is costs.

The project aims at solution of scientific and practical problems by weapon scientists engaged in fundamental researches directed to peace purposes (real radioecological situation in area of geochemical uranium anomalies and territories restoration).

The project goal - radiation monitoring and the uranium tailings soil-vegetable cover restoration in mountain conditions (case study of Kadji-Sai, and Issyk-Kul biosphere territory).

Problems addressed (Tasks):

  1. establish a real level of radiation background and total radioactivity (isotope structure) in the uranium man-cause province Kadji-Sai and Issyk-Kul biosphere territory (in soil, water, plants, in crops and food, depending on season of the year);
  2. study of the top-soil state and establish parameters of biosphere taxons of the biological persity (flora and fauna);
  3. study of morphological, physiological and cytogenetical features of organisms in natural man-caused landscapes with a various degree of uranium enrichment and investigate issues of local cultivated flora for restoring biota in uranium tailings and dumps;
  4. medical biological examination of people, residing around uranium anomalies;
  5. comparable ecology-radiobiological assessment of natural man-caused environment of uranium anomalies in Kadji-Sai and biosphere territories of Issyk-Kul;
  6. radioecological and radiobiogeochemical zoning and mapping of territories under study, preparation of documentation for Ministry of Emergency Situations, Ministry of Ecology, Ministry of Public Health, and Ministry of Defense of the Kyrgyz Republic.

The project contributes to researches for peace purposes resulting in solution of urgent problems for fundamental and applied sciences. The research will be carried out in the uranium tailings on case study of Kadji-Sai (Issyk-Kul biosphere territory).

The foreign collaborators will coordinate the project for the development improvement, communication with foreign scientists, determination of corresponding sources on procurement of special materials and equipment, recommendations for research data information dissemination. They will also participate in conferences and workshops as well as in writing the reports.

The project refers to fundamental-applied researches. These researches will allow elaboration of methodical recommendations for ecological and radioecological assessment of natural man-caused biogeochemical provinces in mountainous conditions enriched by uranium, to prepare proposals under the project theme for their realization in territories of other states (for example, Central Asia), and to elaborate measures for risk mitigation in biosphere territories contaminated by uranium and general radioactivity.

The results of the project will be used for medical, agricultural, and other purposes for correction of unfavorable situation, carrying out of regional monitoring, and natural soil-vegetable cover restoration of uranium tailings in mountain conditions.

After completing the research the following results will be obtained:

  • a database creation on real uranium content and total radioactivity (isotopic composition) in a soil-vegetable complex, natural waters, organisms, forages and foodstuff in territory of uranium anomalies of Kadji-Sai and Issyk-Kul biosphere territory;
  • the biological reactions of plants, animals and human will be estimated in uranium anomalies and comparative territories;
  • flora, fauna and man biological reactions assessment in uranium anomalies and comparable territories;
  • spontaneous level of chromosomal disorder will be determined in flora and fauna of uranium provinces sites and natural territories;
  • ecological and biogeochemical zoning and mapping of the region on uranium, general radioactivity, and biological reactions;
  • creation of local cultivated flora for restoration of the biota in tailings;
  • development of recommendations for medical, agricultural and other purposes of the Republic for correction of unfavorable situations;
  • proposals preparation under the project theme for their realization in territories of other states;
  • preparation of methodical recommendations for radioecological assessment of provinces in mountain conditions enriched by natural and man-caused uranium.

By the end of the project implementation the inhabitants of biosphere territory (these subregions) of these sub-regions will obtain a real picture concerning modern uranium tailings (Kadji-Sai) and soil vegetable cover state, biopersity of the biosphere territory, and appropriate recommendations for their improvement. On the basis of obtained data it will be possible to set technical and economic problems on rehabilitation of territories of uranium tail deposits (restoration of the soil-vegetable cover). The recommendations will be given on fauna and flora protection in these territories (endemically kinds and kinds in the red book), plants growing (phytometers, etc.), taking actions on use of various technical methods for radioactive waste safe storage or reburial, that will allow obtaining in a future a certain technical and economic effect for the biosphere ecological conditions improvement.

Project results can be used by Ministry of Ecology and Emergency Situations, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Defense and by research entities in the Kyrgyz Republic as well as corresponding bodies of other states. So, the project has many advantages which cannot be quantitatively estimated.


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