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Radioactive Contamination of Yenisey River


Assessment and Prediction of Consequences for the Environment and Population of the Radioactive Contamination of the Yenisey River with Discharges of Krasnoyarsk Mining and Chemical Industrial Complex

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-WPC/Water Pollution and Control/Environment

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Kulikov G G

Leading Institute
Scientific & Production Association “Typhoon”, Russia, Kaluga reg., Obninsk

Supporting institutes

  • Mining and Chemical Complex, Russia, Krasnoyarsk reg., Zheleznogorsk


  • Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, UK, Cumbria\nInstitut für Strahlenschutz, Germany, Neuherberg\nNorwegian Radiation Protection Authority, Norway, Osteras

Project summary

The objective of this project is to evaluate the current and potential radioecological consequences of the radioactive contamination of the Yenisei River by discharges of Krasnoyarsk Mining and Chemical Industrial Complex (KMCIC) and to assess the input of KMCIC discharges to the contamination of the Kara sea.

For more than 30 years the cooling wters of the direct-flow reactors of KMCIC (the first reactor was put into operation in 1958, the second in 1961 and the third one with the closed ioop in 1964) were discharged to the Yenisei River. Both direct-flow reactors were shut down in 1992. Due to many-years discharges, the Yenisei river downstream and the adqacent flood plain have been contaminated to a varying degree, depending on a distance from the source and hydrological conditions of radioactivity removal from the water flow.

The contaminated part of the river is a unique testing site for investigation of radionuclides behavior in water ecosystems, intake by man through food chains, both aquatic and those associated with use of parts of the flood plain adqacent to the river, processes of removal of radionuclides from water flow. It can be used for verification of phisico-matimatical models of radionuclides migration and models evaluating radioecological consequences of the radioactive contamination as well as for trying out tools and methods of monitoring of the radiofctive contamination of water systems.

The main tasks of the project are:

— Obtaining representative data on content of manmade radionuclides from the KMCIC discharges in water, bottom sediments, flood plain, aguatic biota and food stuffs related to use of river water, in control cross sections of the river downstream Krasnoyarsk including the Yenisei gulf.

— Reconstruction of radiation dose and radiation risk over the entire KMCIC operation period and fluxes of man-made radionuclides in the river cross-sections at different distances from the source including delivery to the Kara sea.

— Long-term prediction of the radioactive contamination of water, bottom sediments and the flood plain of the Yenisei based on the dynamic river model with consideration of both current conditions of radionuclides entry to the river (with shut-down direct-flow reactors) and under possible accident scenarios.

— Development of environmental models of radionuclides transport in the river ecosystem, validation of models against experimental data and long-term prediction of population and biota doses and radiation risk with economic and recreation use of the river and adjacent areas.

— Trying out tools and methods for integrated radioecological monitoring of aquatic systems.

The foreign partner on the Project is the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA). The goverment of Norway authorize this organization to control the radiation protection on Norway and to realize the monitoring of the conditin radioactive contamination of the Arctic seas. Therefore permanently NRPA hus the interest to research of the radioactive contamination of Arctic seas in neighbouring Russia.

In frame of the project NRPA to gether with the russian scientists will take part in works on reconsfruction radionuclides out flow in to Kara Sea, evaluation of the current and potential radioecological consequances of KMCIC disharges for Arctic sea environment and population.