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Kara-Balta, Kyrgyzstan

Stegnar P.,Jozef Stefan International Postgraduate School | Shishkov I.,SOE Volkovgeologiya | Burkitbayev M.,Al-Farabi Kazakh National University | Tolongutov B.,Chui Ecological Laboratory | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Environmental Radioactivity | Year: 2013

An assessment of the radiological situation due to exposure to gamma radiation, radon and thoron was carried out at selected former uranium mining and processing sites in the Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Gamma dose rate measurements were made using various field instruments and radon/thoron measurements were carried out using discriminative radon (222Rn)/thoron (220Rn) solid state nuclear track detectors (SSNTD). The detectors were exposed for an extended period of time, including at least three seasonal periods in a year, in different outdoor and indoor public and residential environments at the selected uranium legacy sites. The results showed that gamma, Rn and Tn doses were in general low, which consequently implies a low/relatively low radiological risk. The major radiation hazard is represented by abandoned radioactive filtration material that was being used as insulation by some Minkush residents (Kyrgyzstan) for a longer period of time. Annual radiation doses of several hundred mSv could be received as a consequence of using this material domestically. In addition, the gamma and Rn/Tn dose rates at Digmai, Tajikistan, could reach values of several 10mSv/a. The doses of ionizing radiation deriving from external radiation (gamma dose rate), indoor radon and thoron with their short-lived progenies in several cases exceeded the recommended annual effective dose threshold level of 10mSv. At none of the sites investigated did the individual annual effective doses exceed 30mSv, the internationally recommended value for considering intervention. Current doses of ionizing radiation do not represent a serious hazard to the health of the resident public, but this issue should be adequately addressed to further reduce needless exposure of the resident public to ionizing radiation. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. Source


Lind O.C.,Norwegian University of Life Sciences | Stegnar P.,Jozef Stefan Institute | Tolongutov B.,Chui Ecological Laboratory | Rosseland B.O.,Norwegian University of Life Sciences | And 7 more authors.
Journal of Environmental Radioactivity | Year: 2013

During 1949-1967, a U mine, a coal-fired thermal power plant and a processing plant for the extraction of U from the produced ash were operated at the Kadji Sai U mining site in Tonsk district, Issyk-Kul County, Kyrgyzstan. The Kadji Sai U legacy site represents a source of contamination of the local environment by naturally occurring radionuclides and associated trace elements. To assess the environmental impact of radionuclides and trace metals at the site, field expeditions were performed in 2007 and 2008 by the Joint collaboration between Norway, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan (JNKKT) project and the NATO SfP RESCA project. In addition to in situ gamma and Rn dose rate measurements, sampling included at site fractionation of water and sampling of water, fish, sediment, soils and vegetation. The concentrations of radionuclides and trace metals in water from Issyk-Kul Lake were in general low, but surprisingly high for As. Uptake of U and As was also observed in fish from the lake with maximum bioconcentration factors for liver of 1.6 and 75, respectively. The concentrations of U in water within the Kadji Sai area varied from 0.01 to 0.05mg/L, except for downstream from the mining area where U reached a factor of 10 higher, 0.2mg/L. Uranium concentrations in the drinking water of Kadji Sai village were about the level recommended by the WHO for drinking water. The 234U/238U activity ratio reflected equilibrium conditions in the mining pond, but far from equilibrium outside this area (reaching 2.3 for an artesian well). Uranium, As and Ni were mainly present as low molecular mass (LMM, less than 10kDa) species in all samples, indicating that these elemental species are mobile and potentially bioavailable.The soils from the mining sites were enriched in U, As and trace metals. Hot spots with elevated radioactivity levels were easily detected in Kadji Sai and radioactive particles were observed. The presence of particles carrying significant amount of radioactivity and toxic trace elements may represent a hazard during strong wind events (wind erosion). Based on sequential extractions, most of the elements were strongly associated with mineral matter, except for U and As having a relatively high remobilization potential. Low Kd was obtained for U (3.5×102L/kgd.w.), intermediate Kds (~3×103L/kgd.w.) were obtained for 226Ra, As and Ni, while a high Kd (2.2×105L/kgd.w.) were obtained for Pb. The accumulation of metals in fish gills reflected the LMM species in the Issyk-Kul water, and did not show any bioaccumulation. The muscle Hg concentrations in all fish species were low and did not represent any health risk even for groups at risk.Total gamma and Rn dose rate to man amounted to about 12mSv/y, while the highest calculated dose rate for non-human species based on the ERICA Assessment Tool were obtained in terrestrial plants (164μGy/h) due to the Ra exposure. The results obtained showed that radiation doses to resident public at all of the investigated sites in the Kadji Sai area were in general relatively low. Low radiological risk and no detrimental health impact on resident public can be expected at these sites. However, exposure to Rn and Tn in the living environment can be further reduced by implementing simple countermeasures such as ventilation of dwelling cellars. More focus in the Kadji Sai area should probably be put on trace elements, especially the As uptake in fish in Lake Issyk-Kul. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. Source


Lespukh E.,Jozef Stefan International Postgraduate School | Stegnar P.,Jozef Stefan International Postgraduate School | Usubalieva A.,Chui Ecological Laboratory | Solomatina A.,Chui Ecological Laboratory | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Environmental Radioactivity | Year: 2013

An assessment of the radiological situation due to exposure to gamma radiation, radon and thoron was carried out at the former uranium mining and processing sites in Shekaftar, Minkush and Kadji Sai in Kyrgyzstan. Gamma dose rate measurements were made using various field instruments and radon/thoron measurements were carried out using discriminative radon (222Rn)/thoron (220Rn) solid state nuclear track detectors (SSNTD). The detectors were exposed for an extended period of time including at least three seasonal periods in a year, in different outdoor and indoor public and residential environments at the selected uranium legacy sites. The results showed that gamma, Rn and Tn doses were in general low, which consequently implies a low/relatively low radiological risk. The major radiation hazard is represented by abandoned radioactive filtration material that was being used as insulation by some Minkush residents for a longer period of time. Annual radiation doses of several hundred mSv could be received as a consequence of using this material in their houses. The radiation doses deriving from external radiation (gamma dose rate), indoor radon and thoron with their short-lived progenies in several cases exceeded national as well as international standards. Current doses of ionizing radiation do not represent any serious hazard to the health of the resident public, but this issue should be adequately addressed to further reduce needless exposure of resident public to ionizing radiation. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. Source

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