The program elaborated by NNC RK scientists concerning Test Site rehabilitation will secure radiation hazardous territories

31 July 2018

Semey. July 30, KazTAG – The National Nuclear Center (NNC) RK elaborated the Program on Test Site rehabilitation aimed at bringing of radiation hazardous territories into a safe state. In the course of its implementation, about 500 cubic meters of radioactive wastes will be removed and buried, physical barriers close to the nuclear testing locations will be created, deep plowing of radioactive hazardous lands will be carried out, etc. as reported by the Agency.

NNC RK has been conducting large-scale survey of Semipalatinsk Test Site (STS) from the northern part of the Test Site since 2009. These were the first 3000 of 18000 square kilometers of unexplored, in terms of radiation field, lands. “Currently, the major part of STS territory has been inspected, it can now confidently be said that all radiation hazardous objects are known – their location, area, scale and degrees of radiation risks that they represent”, - says Erlan Batyrbekov, Director General of RSE NNC RK.

Scientists argue that together with this knowledge there is growing awareness of the need that something must be done in relation of the Test Site. “Indeed, the major part the STS, and exactly about 90% of its area does not represent a radiation threat to people, that is, the radiation levels are comparable with the background locations outside the STS. Moreover, such a huge territory remains in demand economically. The enterprises of the extractive industry-coal, fluorite, gold, etc. carry out their activities as well as the agricultural ones at the STS territory", - noted E. Batyrbekov.

According to him, STS survey operations are scheduled to be completed in 2021, therefore it is necessary to take the future action plan concerning Test Site now. Taking into account that more than 400 nuclear tests – above-ground and air, underground tests in the mountain massif and in the deep geological formations were carried out at the test site, scientists of the National Nuclear Center state that various approaches are needed to rehabilitate the Test Site. "For example, the well-known "Atomic Lake" is a very large object (a crater with the diameter of 300 m). To remove the total volume of radioactive ground is economically unreasonable. According to the developed program, it is planned to create a physical barrier at the “Atomic Lake”, meaning that there will be ditches and fences to prevent unauthorized access of people and domestic animals" – clarified Director-General of NNC.

In other words, the rehabilitation program of the Semipalatinsk test site provides an individual approach to each radiation-hazardous location.

NNC specialists are already taking the first steps on their own efforts to develop a methodology for bringing the test site into a safe state. So, several radioactive "spots" were eliminated, about 100 cubic meters of radioactive wastes were removed and transferred to the disposal. In some areas physical barriers have already been created.

Leila Urazbayeva, Kaz TAG, Photo: IRSE NNC RK

The publication is available at the official site of RSE NNC RK,
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