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Bartnicki J.,Norwegian Meteorological Institute | Bartnicki J.,Center for Environmental Radioactivity | Amundsen I.,Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority | Brown J.,Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority | And 16 more authors.
Journal of Environmental Radioactivity | Year: 2015

The Russian nuclear submarine K-27 suffered a loss of coolant accident in 1968 and with nuclear fuel in both reactors it was scuttled in 1981 in the outer part of Stepovogo Bay located on the eastern coast of Novaya Zemlya. The inventory of spent nuclear fuel on board the submarine is of concern because it represents a potential source of radioactive contamination of the Kara Sea and a criticality accident with potential for long-range atmospheric transport of radioactive particles cannot be ruled out. To address these concerns and to provide a better basis for evaluating possible radiological impacts of potential releases in case a salvage operation is initiated, we assessed the atmospheric transport of radionuclides and deposition in Norway from a hypothetical criticality accident on board the K-27. To achieve this, a long term (33 years) meteorological database has been prepared and used for selection of the worst case meteorological scenarios for each of three selected locations of the potential accident. Next, the dispersion model SNAP was run with the source term for the worst-case accident scenario and selected meteorological scenarios. The results showed predictions to be very sensitive to the estimation of the source term for the worst-case accident and especially to the sizes and densities of released radioactive particles. The results indicated that a large area of Norway could be affected, but that the deposition in Northern Norway would be considerably higher than in other areas of the country. The simulations showed that deposition from the worst-case scenario of a hypothetical K-27 accident would be at least two orders of magnitude lower than the deposition observed in Norway following the Chernobyl accident. © 2015 The Authors.

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