Radioecological problems in the site of the former Lermontov Production Association "Almaz" for mining and processing of uranium ore. Review

«Radiation and Risk», 2023, vol. 32, No. 1, pp.131-153

DOI: 10.21870/0131-3878-2023-32-1-131-153


Panov A.V. – Chief Researcher, D. Sc., Biol., Prof. of RAS. RIRAE. Contacts: 109 km, Kievskoe Sh., Obninsk, Kaluga region, Russia, 249032. Tel. +7(484) 399-69-59; e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
Russian Institute of Radiology and Agroecology, Obninsk


This paper presents the comprehensive analysis of long-term study of radioecological situation at the site of the former Lermontov Production Association “Almaz” (LPA “Almaz”). The history of LPA and "uranium heritage" objects creation has been considered: the association consisted of two mines with adits and rock dumps, the hydrometallurgical plant and a dump. Emissions and discharges of natural radionuclides during the LPA “Almaz” operation (1950-1991) and the impact of radiation on human health and the environment after its shutdown were assessed. Though a lot of remediation work was made, in the near future radiation safety in the territory of the former LPA “Almaz” location is not guaranteed. The important radioecological problems in the territory of the enterprise location have been specified. Areas of terrestrial ecosystems, industrial and residential buildings in which the content of radon isotopes in the atmosphere exceeded the standards have been identified. Heavy natural radionuclides with high specific activity have been found in dumps, and the increased content of the radionuclides have been found in the soil of adjacent agricultural fields. Risks of exceeding the established national radiation safety standards NRB-99/2009 for natural radionuclides in underground waters of mines and in some foodstuffs produced near the tunnels have been assessed. Gaps in radioecological data for a number of radionuclides, ecosystems and food groups have been identified. The necessity of further monitoring of the radiation situation at the objects of LPA ”Almaz” and in the territory of the enterprise location is substantiated. The program for radioecological monitoring of the lowest atmospheric layer, terrestrial (natural, agricultural, anthropogenic) and aquatic (ground-water and surface water) ecosystems. Monitoring objects, parameters to be measured, list of radio-nuclides, as well as periodicity of taking samples and making measurements in objects of the LPA ”Almaz” and adjacent territory have ben specified. Monitoring will provide data for a correct assessment of human and biota radiation doses, with account for all dose-generating radionuclides and exposure pathways.

Key words
uranium mining, nuclear legacy, radiation survey, natural radionuclides, radon, local radioactive contamination, radioecological monitoring, air, terrestrial ecosystems, aquatic ecosystems, remediation, radiation safety.


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