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25
The Experience of the Joint Environmental-Technological Scientific Research Center for Radioactive Waste Decontamination and Environmental Protection (MosNPO Radon) in Eliminating Radiation-Hazard Facilities and Rehabilitating Contaminated Sites*

V. G. Safronov, V. A. Salikov, Yu. A. Pronin, and S. V. Mikheikin


The following laws and regulations govern deactivation of contaminated areas in Russia:

  • Federal Law 3-FL On Radiation Safety for the Population, January 9, 1996

  • Federal Law 92-FL On Special Environmental Programs for the Rehabilitation of Radiation-Contaminated Parcels of Land, July 10, 2001

  • Resolution on the Development of Special Environmental Programs for the Rehabilitation of Radiation-Contaminated Parcels of Land, approved by Resolution No. 421 of the Government of the Russian Federation, June 14, 2002

  • Principles of State Policy on Ensuring Nuclear and Radiation Safety in the Russian Federation through 2010 and Beyond, approved by the President of Russia on December 4, 2003 (Pr-2196)

  • Rules for the Use of Land Subjected to Radioactive and Chemical Contamination; the Conduct of Ameliorative, Site Clearance, and Soil Treatment Efforts; the Establishment of Protected Zones; and the Preservation of Dwellings and Production, Social, Cultural, and Public Service Facilities Located Thereon;

*

Translated from the Russian by Kelly Robbins.



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25 The Experience of the Joint Environmental- Technological Scientific Research Center for Radioactive Waste Decontamination and Environmental Protection (MosNPO Radon) in Eliminating Radiation-Hazard Facilities and Rehabilitating Contaminated Sites* V. G. Safrono, V. A. Saliko, Yu. A. Pronin, and S. V. Mikheikin The following laws and regulations govern deactivation of contaminated areas in Russia: • Federal Law 3-FL On Radiation Safety for the Population, January 9, 1996 • Federal Law 92-FL On Special Environmental Programs for the Reha- bilitation of Radiation-Contaminated Parcels of Land, July 10, 2001 • Resolution on the Development of Special Environmental Programs for the Rehabilitation of Radiation-Contaminated Parcels of Land, approved by Resolution No. 421 of the Government of the Russian Federation, June 14, 2002 • Principles of State Policy on Ensuring Nuclear and Radiation Safety in the Russian Federation through 2010 and Beyond, approved by the President of Russia on December 4, 2003 (Pr-2196) • Rules for the Use of Land Subjected to Radioactive and Chemical Con- tamination; the Conduct of Ameliorative, Site Clearance, and Soil Treatment Efforts; the Establishment of Protected Zones; and the Preservation of Dwellings and Production, Social, Cultural, and Public Service Facilities Located Thereon; *Translated from the Russian by Kelly Robbins. 1

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1 ELIMINATING RADIATION-HAZARD FACILITIES approved by Resolution No. 112 of the Government of the Russian Federation, February 27, 2004 VOLGINSKY FIELD (VLADIMIR OBLAST) Volginsky Field is located on lands of the scientific testing base for experi- mental animals of the All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Agricultural Radiology and Agroecology, not far from the settlement of Volginsky, Petushki Region, Vladimir Oblast. From 1972 through 1982, the institute added cesium-137, strontium-90, thorium-232, and uranium-238 radionuclides to the soil of an experimental plot. In addition, the field also featured three buried vessels 1.5 m in diameter that were partially filled with radioactive waste. There were also two piles of soil measur- ing 10 m3 each that were contaminated with cesium-137 and strontium-90. The maximum depth to which the radionuclides had penetrated was 0.5 m. A detailed radiation study conducted by the Joint Environmental- Technological Scientific Research Center for Radioactive Waste Decontamina- tion and Environmental Protection (Radon) in the summer of 2003 indicated the following: • The area affected by radioactive contamination hot spots (experimental plots, vessels for solid and liquid radioactive waste, and adjacent plots and soil piles) totaled 2,200 m2. • The maximum depth of the contaminated soil layer was 0.3 to 0.4 m. • The gamma-irradiation exposure dose intensity at the contaminated sites ranged from 15 to 2,100 mR per hour at a distance of 0.1 m from the soil surface and from 60 to 1,250 mR per hour at 1 m from the surface. • The volume of radioactive wastes in the form of contaminated soil to- taled 670 to 1,500 m3. • The average volume of radioactive waste in the form of construction debris (concrete vessels for the storage of solid radioactive waste) and metal items (liquid radioactive waste storage vessel) was 10 to 20 m3. In early 2007, more than 450 m3 of radioactive waste was removed from this site. Work to decontaminate the site is ongoing. SOLNECHNOYE LAKE (MOSCOW OBLAST) The radioactive contamination site near Solnechnoye Lake was discovered in June 1985. It is located 50 m south of the lake near the city of Ramenskoye in Moscow Oblast and occupies an area of about 1.2 ha (150 × 80 m). The primary radionuclide contaminant is radium-226. Responsibility for the radioactive con- tamination has not yet been established.

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200 CLEANING UP SITES CONTAMINATED WITH RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS In 1994 a radiation study of a solid-refuse dump site was conducted, involv- ing the following operations: • A gamma-radiation map indicating measurements according to a 2 × 2 m grid scheme • Borehole gamma mapping • Well drilling • Spectrometric analysis of soil and water samples Several radioactive waste burial sites were discovered during this radiation study. The gamma map of the distribution of exposure dose intensity at the soil surface (that is, at a distance of 0.1 m above the surface) indicated that radioac- tive contamination at the dump site was of a dispersed nature and not localized or grouped. The gamma-irradiation exposure dose intensity at the surface of the radioac- tive contamination hot spots varied from 40 to 2,000 mR per hour. At the epi- center of one of the radioactive anomalies, the gamma-irradiation dose intensity at a depth of 0.7 m was more than 3,000 mR per hour. Radioactive waste was found buried mainly at a depth ranging from 0.5 to 4 m, with the maximum burial depth of up to 6 m. Specific radium-226 activity varied from 3 × 103 to 5 × 105 Bq/kg. In water samples taken from Solnechnoye Lake and silt deposits from its shoreline, the radium-226 content did not exceed background values. The total amount of con- taminated soil was estimated at 2,600 m3. In accordance with the Hygiene Requirements for Limitation of Public Ex- posure Due to Natural Sources of Ionizing Radiation (Sanitary Rule 2.6.1.1292- 2003), a system was instituted for classifying industrial wastes according to the effective specific activity of natural radionuclides (see Table 25-1), and radiation hygiene requirements for their handling were established. The technology for deactivation of the dump site included five stages: 1. Detailed radiation study of the site aimed at clarifying the location of surface radioactive contamination hot spots and evaluating the necessary scope of decontamination work; development of a plan for carrying out such work TABLE 25-1 Categories of Industrial Waste Containing Natural Radionuclides Waste Effective Specific Activity (Aeff) Gamma-Irradiation Dose Intensity from Category of Natural Radionuclides, kBq/kg Natural Radionuclides in Waste, mR/hr Aeff≤1.5 Category I R≤70 1.510.0 Category III R>450 SOURCE: Hygiene Requirements for Limitation of Public Exposure Due to Natural Sources of Ion- izing Radiation (Sanitary Rule 2.6.1.1292-2003)

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201 ELIMINATING RADIATION-HAZARD FACILITIES 2. Preparatory work 3. Decontamination work 4. Reclamation of decontaminated site and preparation of certificate of completion of decontamination work 5. Radiation ecology study of the dump site after elimination of surface radioactive contamination hot spots and site reclamation During decontamination of this site, localized radioactive hot spots were discovered and subsequently eliminated to the point where remaining gamma- irradiation equivalent dose intensity values exceeded background levels by no more than 0.2 μSv per hour at a distance of 0.1 m from the reclaimed surface (rule 5.3.2 RSN-99). From 2002 through 2006, Radon personnel removed about 160 m3 of con- taminated soil and sent it to long-term storage. Plans call for the removal of about 50 m3 of additional radioactive waste in 2007. BANK OF THE MOSCOW RIVER The right bank of the segment of the Moscow River from Kolomenskoye Embankment to the railway bridge across the river near the Moskvorechye platform is one of the most unfavorable sites in the city of Moscow from a ra- dioecological standpoint. This area is part of the Kolomenskoye State Museum Preserve and the Moskovorechye-Saburovo municipal district of the Southern Administrative District of the city of Moscow. In the layout of the city, the territories of the following institutions and enterprises adjoin this area (listed from north to south along the Moscow River): the Oncology Science Center, the Moscow Engineering and Physics Institute, the All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Chemical Technology, the All-Russian Scientific Research and De- sign Institute of Industrial Technology, and the Moscow Polymetals Plant State Enterprise. On the grounds of these enterprises are a research nuclear reactor and radiochemical laboratories. During their long operating histories, the industrial facilities of most of the enterprises listed above and a portion of the adjacent area along the bank of the Moscow River were contaminated by radioactive substances. In particular, be- ginning in the 1950s and through the 1980s, part of the ravines along the bank became covered with spent radioactive ores and waste (tailings) from radiochemi- cal production facilities. In recent years, work on this problem has become regular and systematic. On the whole, it is possible to point to the following types of work currently be- ing carried out on the riverbank and being directly linked to or accompanied by measures for radioecological study, radiation monitoring, and deactivation: • Efforts to decontaminate sedimentation vats at the neutralization station of the Moscow Polymetals Plant and adjacent areas

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202 CLEANING UP SITES CONTAMINATED WITH RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS • Efforts to conduct a radioecological study associated with processes of riverbank erosion that uncovered radiation-contaminated spots that had previ- ously been covered with clean soil • Efforts associated with reconstruction of facilities on the grounds of the Kolomenskoye State Museum Preserve • Land reclamation work to shore up the bank of the Moscow River • Land reclamation work at sections of the bank not previously studied In addition, there is currently no detailed and complete picture of the dis- tribution of radionuclides across the entire bank area or the depth of their penetration. Since 1997 a total of 10,548 m2 of radiation-contaminated land has been discovered and decontaminated, and more than 1,300 m3 of radioactive waste has been removed and transferred for long-term storage. As a result of the studies, it has been established that the main contaminants are radionuclides belonging to the radium (radium-226) and thorium (thorium- 232) families. The composition and specific activity values for a significant part of the contaminated soil make it possible to classify such soil as low-level and in some cases medium-level radioactive waste, which in turn makes it possible to consider this contaminated area as an uncontrolled tailings repository of a radio- chemical production facility. Based on preliminary assessments, the amount of radiation-contaminated industrial waste (soil) at this site could be up to 60,000 m3 (about 100,000 metric tons). The main radioecological and other characteristics of this site are as follows: • Large and expansive territory • Presence on the site of a world-renowned facility with state museum preserve status, which is also a place of pilgrimage by many people, including foreigners • Presence on the southern part of the riverbank in the Moscow Polymet- als Plant observation zone of large volumes of radiation-contaminated industrial waste with significant specific activity levels • Insufficient study of the remainder of the riverbank • Constant probability of the appearance of new surface hot spots and radioactive contamination sites • Possibility of pollution of the waters of the Moscow River from erosion processes and anthropogenic activities TAININSKOYE VILLAGE (MOSCOW OBLAST) A radiation-contaminated site was discovered on September 21, 2004, during a radiation ecology monitoring study in the village of Taininskoye, Mytishchi Region, Moscow Oblast. The site is located in riverside meadows, some of which

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20 ELIMINATING RADIATION-HAZARD FACILITIES are used for gardens, on the outskirts of the village on the left bank of the river Yauza. As a result of a detailed radiation study of the site, which totaled 18,500 m2 in area, it was discovered that background gamma-irradiation dose intensity levels typical for this area were within the range of 6 to 10 mR per hour, with the average background level being 8 mR per hour. A total of 25 radiation- contaminated hot spots were found during the study, with gamma-irradiation dose intensity levels of 29 to 220,000 mR per hour. All hot spots are of a localized na- ture, with the area of each not exceeding 0.01 m2. The depth of deposition of the contaminants ranged from 0.1 to 0.8 m. The primary radionuclide contaminant according to laboratory spectrometric analysis data was radium-226. Given that some of the radiation-contaminated hot spots were characterized by high levels of gamma-irradiation dose intensity (120-220,000 mR per hour), Radon specialists quickly decontaminated 12 hot spots. During this process, they separated out 240 kg of radioactive waste and subsequently sent it away for long-term storage. The main characteristics of this particular site are as follows: • Very small size of radiation-contaminated hot spots, with most being only 0.01 m2 in area • Location of contaminated soil predominately on the surface • Use of part of the contaminated site for private agricultural activities • Presence of garden plots, with access to the sites being coordinated with the plot owners • Inaccessibility of a significant part of the contamination hot spots to vehicles or equipment • Presence of dump sites for household refuse and thick vegetation, hin- dering study and deactivation efforts • Lack of homogeneity of the contamination and presence of small frag- ments (<2-3 mm) containing radium-226 In developing the deactivation plan, it was determined that deactivation would be deemed complete if the gamma-irradiation dose intensity in excess of the background level did not exceed 30 mR per hour. If the 30 mR per hour level was exceeded, another 10-cm layer of soil would be removed, and if the gamma- irradiation dose intensity at the bottom of the resulting new indentation was less than 60 mR per hour, the deactivation effort would cease. Otherwise, the decision on the need for further deactivation would be made in consultation with the Cen- ter for State Sanitary-Epidemiological Monitoring of the city of Mytishchi. The proposed deactivation completion criteria make it possible to ensure that in a 50-cm layer of contaminated soil there will be no mass greater than 5 kg and a gamma-irradiation dose intensity less than 5 mR per hour above background after rehabilitation. As a result of Radon’s activities, practically all surface contamination points

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20 CLEANING UP SITES CONTAMINATED WITH RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS discovered in Moscow have been eliminated. Meanwhile, ongoing characteristic problems still require attention. The experience Radon has acquired also attests to the city having radioactive contamination sites that have been hidden by new construction, eroded soil from ravines, and other construction work. Ensuring public safety demands that such hot spots be discovered and eliminated. The fundamental factors tangentially or directly leading to the formation of radioactive anomalies are as follows: • Absence during the 1940s through the 1960s of a legislative and legal base and scientifically founded regulations for radiation safety when dealing with radioactive materials • Use of industrial waste, slag, and other materials containing radioactive substances in construction • Lack of a centralized service for collecting and disposing of radioactive waste before 1961 • Imperfection of the system for accounting and control of radioactive substances at city enterprises • Uncontrolled reorganization of enterprises working with radioactive substances and the transfer of their territories, facilities, and equipment to or- ganizations and private individuals not associated with the use of radioactive substances All of these reasons led to a situation in which, over the course of decades, various industrial wastes containing radioactive substances were hauled away from enterprises and organizations and dumped in uncontrolled fashion in vacant lots, ravines, and forests on the outskirts of the city or taken to dumps that did not observe radiation safety norms. From 1971 through 2004, the focused efforts initiated by Radon to discover radioactive anomalies made it possible to identify and decontaminate 1,415 radioactive contamination sites in the city of Moscow and 256 sites in Moscow Oblast. The most representative examples of large sites decontaminated by Radon in the city of Moscow include the following: • A city block (approximately 0.7 km2) contaminated by slag dust hauled in to fill and grade the site (maximum exposure dose intensity up to 2 R per hour) • A site near the Moscow Ring Road (20,000 m2, maximum exposure dose intensity up to 0.72 R per hour) • Contaminated sites on kindergarten playgrounds • Sites in recreational areas in the Kolomenskoye Preserve and the Iz- mailovo and Kuzminki Forest Parks (maximum exposure dose intensity up to 30 R per hour) • A site in Victory Park on Poklonnaya Hill and the Olympic Village

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20 ELIMINATING RADIATION-HAZARD FACILITIES Deactivation efforts in the city of Moscow have been carried out on the grounds of enterprises, in apartments, on playgrounds, at construction sites, and in forest parks, cultural and recreational parks, nature preserves, museums, and other areas where large numbers of residents and guests of the city assemble for recreation. The items being decontaminated have included both individual objects (ampoules; pieces of metal, concrete, and slag; instruments and their components; household items; oil pipes; and so forth) and localized (from 1 to 10 m2) and more expansive (>10 m2) areas of radioactive contamination in buildings and on their grounds. The past 20 years have seen a serious strengthening of the regulatory and legislative base for operations involving radioactive substances. Such changes have meant that radioactive waste previously buried at industrial dump sites must be removed, processed, and buried in accordance with current requirements. Since the time when a number of nuclear industry enterprises began operating in the 1940s, the city of Moscow has increased in size many times over, meaning that historical or unauthorized radioactive waste burial sites previously located outside the city limits are now located in densely populated areas. Furthermore, the city has no complete database on enterprises that previously worked with ionizing radiation sources but were closed or restructured as a result of economic policy changes during the past 20 years. Most of them changed ownership, some exist without any owners, and documentation on ionizing radiation sources has been lost.