The State Atomic Energy Corporation ROSATOM

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Environmental impact

 РОСАТОМ » Capital management efficiency » Management of natural capital, environmental safety and environmental protection » Environmental impact Radionuclide releases

In 2013, the radiation burden on the environment did not change much compared to the preceding year. The total activity of radionuclides released to the atmosphere from the Corporation’s enterprises was 4.42E+16 Bq. The total activity was 98.79 % due to releases of beta-active nuclides (4.37E+16 Bq), where the percentage of inert radioactive gases (IRG) is 98.66 % and 1 % is tritium.

The alpha-active radionuclide releases (5.34E+14 Bq) are 96.88 % due to radon-222 coming from uranium mining operations. Compared to the preceding year, releases of alpha-active nuclides grew by 15.08 % due to an increase in radon releases at JSC PIMCU. For the nuclear industry as a whole, releases of alpha-active nuclides accounted for about 28.79 % and beta-active nuclides for 3.13 % of the permissible guideline.

In 2013, permissible values of radionuclide releases were not exceeded. For the nuclear industry as a whole, the amount of released cobalt-60, strontium-90, zirconium-95, ruthenium-103 and 106, iodine-131, caesium-134, caesium-137 was less than 1 % of the established guideline.

Fig. Structure of radionuclide activity

Fig. Type of beta-active radionuclides

Fig. Actual-to-permitted ratio of radionuclide releases, Bq Radionuclide discharges

In 2013, drain water in an amount of 305.48 mln m3 and activity of 3.90E+13 Bq was discharged into surface water bodies by the enterprises. Compared to 2012, the amount of discharge of such water increased by 70.75 % and its activity increased by 15.60 %. This is due to an increase in the discharge of drain water at FSUE Aleksandrov NITI by 38.5 mln m3, JSC AECC by 12.1 mln m3, and JSC PIMCU by 0.8 mln m.3.

Fig. Actual-to-permitted ratio of radionuclide discharges, Bq

Incoming of alpha-active radionuclide (2.68E+10 Bq) to the open hydrographical network is by 56.25 % due to natural uranium.

Beta-active radionuclides, which come with drains in the surface water bodies (3.90E+13 Bq) make up 99.20 % due to tritium. The percentage of all remaining radionuclides is about 0.8 %, including strontium-90 (0.72 %) and caesium-137 (0.04 %).

On the whole, incoming of radionuclides with drain water to the open hydrographical network was: in terms of alpha-active radionuclides ~14.58 % and in terms of beta-active radionuclides less than 0.2 % of the established guidelines.

Fig. Discharge rate of drain water containing radionuclides, mln m3

Table. Discharge rate of drain water containing radionuclides

YearVolume (million m3)Activity (1013 Bq)
2011 198.5 4.1
2012 178.9 3.3
2013 305.5 3.9

Fig. Main contributions of alpha-active radionuclides in discharges, Bq

Fig. Main contributions of beta-active radionuclides in discharges, Bq Rehabilitation of contaminated and disturbed territories

As of 31 December 2013, 21 enterprises in the sector had territories contaminated with radionuclides. The total area of contaminated territories was 106.03 m2.

Fig. Area of territories contaminated with radionuclides, as of 31 December 2013, thousand m2

Radioactive contamination is mainly due to the nuclides caesium-137 and strontium-90, as well as natural uranium and its decay products. More than 87 % (93.12 m2) of territories contaminated with radionuclides are situated near FSUE PA Mayak (the consequence of the 1957 accident).

Over the past five years, 70,840 m2 of contaminated territories have been rehabilitated, including 4,400 m2 in 2013.

Fig. Area of radionuclide-contaminated land rehabilitated in 2013, thousand m2

In 2013 at the enterprise, a set of works aimed at restoring the productivity and economic value of disturbed land, as well as the improvement of environmental conditions. The total area of reclaimed land was 42.57 hectares.

Fig. Area of disturbed land, as of 31 December 2013, thousand m2

Fig. Area of reclaimed land by organisations, hectares per year Harmful atmospheric releases

Releases of harmful chemical substances (HCS) into the atmosphere in 2013 amounted to 50,200 t. The trapping rate was 84.0 %, or higher than across Russia by 9.7 % (the Russia-wide trapping rate was 74.3 %*).

Fig. HCS atmospheric releases, thousand tonnes

The total reduction of HCS releases was mainly due to their reduction at JSC SCC and JSC MCC (in total by 7,600 t). On the whole in the nuclear industry, the reduction, compared to the 2012 reporting period, of releases into the atmosphere in 2013 was noted for more than 60 organisations of the sector.

While there is a trend of reduction of HCS atmospheric releases across the sector, they have increased in a number of organisations, namely JSC PIMCU, JSC SGC, JSC RUSBURMASH, FSUE Combine EKhP, Kursk NPP, and JSC NCCP.

In 2013, the amount of HCS atmospheric releases by ROSATOM was 38.2 % of the permissible value.

The main contributors (83.9 %) to the sector-wide HCS releases were fossil fuel-fired TPPs and boiler houses. JSC SCC accounted for 44.8 % (7,300 t) of the sector total release, JSC PIMCU 41.1 % (6,700 t), FSUE MCC 12.9 % (2,100 t), JSC SGC 0.7 % (100 t); other organisations in the nuclear industry accounted for 0.5 % of the sector’s total releases.

Fig. Percentage of HCS releases resulted from burning of fuel against total amount of releases, thousand tonnes per year

Compared to the previous reporting period, in the reporting year, the amount of HCS atmospheric releases resulting from the burning of fuel was reduced across the Corporation by 6,500 t (by 13.4 %), in terms of solid substances by 1,600 t (by 9.0 %) and liquid and gaseous by 4,900 t (by 16.0 %). Of these, the largest reduction of releases resulting from the burning of fuel was noted for TPP of JSC SCC (by 17.4 %), owing to the amount of burnt coal as well as the result of a refurbishment of ash-trapping systems, and for TPP of FSUE MCC (by 40.1 %) owing to a reduction of burnt fuel.

Fig. HCS atmospheric releases resulted from burning of fuel, thousand tonnes per year

Compared to 2012, in 2013, a reduction of atmospheric releases of HCS, which are part of the greenhouse gases, by 12.2 % (by 109,300 t), including nitrogen oxide by 40.6 % (by 102,800 t) was reported. This is mainly owing to a reduction of the latter at FSUE MCC (by 55.6 % of the 2012 release).

Fig. HCS atmospheric releases by hazard classes, thousand tonnes

Fig. HCS release rate of changes, thousand tonnes

* According to data in the government report “About the State and the Protection of the Environment in the Russian Federation in 2012”. Water management

Nuclear power is a major water consumer. In 2013, it accounted for 4.4 % of the total fresh water consumption in the Russian Federation (9.3 % in 2012).

The fresh water intake from natural water sources was 6202.1 million m3. Compared to 2012, the total water intake decreased by 1047.6 million m3. The seawater intake reduction of 983.2 million m3 (93.8 %) accounted for most of the decrease, largely due to a reduction at Leningrad NPP (by 973.9 million m3 because of a decrease in electricity generation in the reporting period) and at FSUE NITI (by 9.6 million m3) in connection with changes in the institute’s test bench operating modes.

Fig. Water intake

The total amount of water used by the nuclear industry for auxiliary needs was 6073.8 million m3 in 2013. The major consumers were NPPs, enterprises of JSC TVEL and the nuclear weapon complex facilities. Compared to 2012, the total water consumption decreased by 1006.4 million m3.

Fig. Water use for auxiliary needs with a breakdown by categories, mln m3

Fig. Water use for production needs with a breakdown by category, mln m3

The amount of water used for production needs has decreased by 1004.6 million m3, largely due to a reduction in water consumption by such organisations as Leningrad NPP (by 963.8 million m3, thanks to a decrease in electricity generation), JSC SCC (by 91 million m3, thanks to changes in the cogeneration programme); Novovoronezh NPP (by 17.5 million m3, due to the operation of upgraded pumps at the onshore pump station and more rational use of artesian water); FSUE MCC (by 11.3 million m3, due to a decrease in production capacity); FSUE NITI (by 9.1 million m3, due to changes in the operating modes of its test benches); and JSC ECC (by 2.1 million m3, thanks to the implementation of an energy saving and energy efficiency programme).

Fig. Use of water from natural sources and recycle water for production needs, million m3

In total, 36058.0 million m3 of water was used, of which 30046.9 million m3 was recycled and reused water. The amount of water recycled and reused make it possible to find out if the measures taken to improve the system for rational use of water for production needs have been efficient. The water savings thanks to recycling and reuse of water amounted to 83.3 % in 2013 (92.5 % if not including seawater), which is much in excess of the Russia-average figure (71.45 %*).

Water discharge

The total wastewater discharge in 2013 was 5575.0 million m3, of which 5454.1 million m3 was partially clean water (97.8 %), 92.8 million m3 was contaminated water (1.7 %), and 28.1 million m3 was water treated to reach the standard quality (0.5 %).

Fig. Wastewater discharges into surface water bodies, mln m3

The total wastewater discharge has decreased by 950.4 million m3. The partially clean water discharge has decreased by 906.6 million m3, largely thanks to the discharge decrease at Leningrad NPP (by 954.0 million m3) and JSC SCC (by 69.5 million m3), as the result of a reduction in electricity generation.

The contaminated water discharge has decreased by 10.8 million m3 thanks to such organisations as FSUE NITI (by 9.7 million m3, due to changes in the operating modes of its test benches), and FSUE ECP (by 1.3 million m3, due to a reduction in the wash water and storm water amounts).

In the reporting year, compared to the previous year, the contaminated wastewater dump into the Baltic Sea (the Atlantic Ocean basin) decreased by 10.6 million m3. This was the result of changes in the test bench operating modes at FSUE NITI (a decrease by 9.7 million m3), and by a reduction in electricity generation at Leningrad NPP (a decrease by 0.8 million m3).

Fig. Dynamics of contaminated wastewater discharges, with a breakdown by sea basin, mln m3

Structurally, the major contributors to the contamination discharged with wastewater into natural water bodies are dry residues (43.02 thousand tonnes), sulphates (8.67 thousand tonnes), chlorides (8.69 thousand tonnes), suspended matter (2.36 thousand tonnes), and nitrates (1.07 thousand tonnes).

In the reporting year, compared to 2012, there was a decrease in the entry of the following contaminants into the open hydrographical network:

  • hazard class 2 (sodium, fluorides, strontium, aluminium): 176.1 t,
  • hazard class 3 (nitrates, zinc, copper): 140.2 t,
  • hazard class 4 (sulphates, chlorides): 462 t,
  • others: 126.7 t.

The major causes for the reduction in the entry of contaminants into surface water bodies are the following: a variation in the content of components in the initial service water (JSC PIMCU); the withdrawal of a fish farm from the company’s structure (JSC ECP); a reduction in the annual average rainfall (JSC AECC); a change in the production programme of the sublimate plant (JSC SCC); a reduction in the number of outputs (JSC UEIP); an increase in the operating efficiency of purification works (active silt loading) (JSC KMZ); use of more accurate monitoring techniques with a low detection threshold (FSUE MCC); a reduction in the amount of combusted fuel at cogeneration plant 1 (JSC CMP); an increase in the efficiency of purification works (due to the scheduled filter bed replacement) (JSC St. Petersburg ISOTOPE); a change in the boiler house operating conditions (FSUE RFNC VNIITF); and a reduction in storm water discharge (Beloyarsk NPP).

In 2013, there was an increase in the entry of the following contaminants:

  • hazard class 3 (magnesium, molybdenum): 55.3 t,
  • hazard class 4 (petroleum products): 1.8 t,
  • others: 861.8 t.

The increase in the entry of the major contaminants into surface water bodies was primarily caused by the following: an insufficient capacity and inefficient operation of purification works – additional purification works were built in the reporting period along with the subsequent retrofit of the existing structures (JSC PUMCU); changes in the operating modes and redistribution of the wastewater flows at the cogeneration plant (JSC SCC); purification process abnormalities, namely irregular wastewater input for purification and equipment wear (at ATES-Polyarnye Zori Branch); flushing of the storm water receiver chambers at the purification works (FSUE MCC); an increase in the number of heat-exchanger flushings (JSC AECC); and redistribution of the wastewater flows to be purified.

Further minimisation of the contaminated wastewater discharge is considered by the industry’s organisations to be one of the most important objectives in their environmental activities. There is a trend observed towards a reduction in the amount of contaminated wastewater disposal. In the reporting year, as compared to 2008, the discharge of the given wastewater category decreased by a factor of 1.4. Production and consumption waste

During 2013, 24.9 million tonnes of production and consumption waste was formed at the nuclear organisations, which is 3.1 million tonnes as much as in 2012, 24.8 million tonnes (99.6 %) of this being nonhazardous waste (hazard class 5). JSC PIMCU accounts for most of this waste (98 %) which is mostly overburden and enclosing rock resulting from the mining of non-metallic minerals (defined by the mining plan for the coal seam uncovering).

Fig. Management of waste, thousand tonnes

Table. Formation and storage of waste with a breakdown by hazard classes in 2013

%TotalPortionto be buried
Total 398,888.7 24,961.6 24,392.8 97.7 16.4 0.1 212.2 390.9 265.5 398,963.3

class I

0.422 0.203 0.0004 0.2 0.01 4.9 0.286 0.011 0.000 0.329

Hazard class

0.316 19.037 0.002 0.01 8.839 46.4 10.281 0.046 0.042 0.189

Hazard class

9.464 5.504 0.755 13.7 0.069 1.3 5.054 0.658 0.355 8.734

Hazard class

4,654.3 100.4 14.5 14.4 7,4 7.5 102.3 16.8 13.3 4,617.4

Hazard class

394,224.1 24,836.3 24,377.6 98.2 0,007 0.03 94.3 373.4 251.8 394,336.7

1 – Existed as of 1 January 2013 (thousand tonnes); 2 – Waste formation and receipt in the reporting period (thousand tonnes); 3 – Used, out of the waste amount formed and received in 2013; 4 – Decontaminated, out of the waste amount formed and received in 2013; 5 – Transferred to other organisations (thousand tonnes); 6 – Disposition of waste at operated sites in the reporting year (thousand tonnes); 7 – Existed as of 31 December 2013 (thousand tonnes)

The amount of waste received from other organisations was 10.3 thousand tonnes.

Out of the total waste amount as of 31 December 2013, waste of hazard classes I, II and III account for less than 0.002 % (9.253 thousand tonnes), waste of hazard class IV accounts for 1.157 % and waste of hazard class V (nonhazardous) accounts for 98.841 %.

In 2013 (as in the previous years), there were no waste imports by ROSATOM’s organisations. No data on waste exports were collected. The amount of waste transferred to other organisations was 212.2 thousand tonnes.

In the reporting year, the used and decontaminated waste accounted for 97.8 % of the total waste formed at sites and received from other organisations, of which 97.7 % was used waste and 0.1 % was contaminated waste. Of the totally available waste amount, as of the beginning of the reporting year, 0.05 % had been transferred to other organisations, and 0.1 % was disposed of at operated sites.

Radioactive waste

In 2013, 413.8 thousand m3 of LRW (total activity: 1.40E+18 Bq) was processed within the industry, including:

Fig. LRW reprocessing, thousand m3

The SRW processing in 2013 amounted to 6.68 thousand tonnes (total activity: 1.24E+16 Bq), including:

Fig. SRW reprocessing, thousand tonnes

Of the total amount of processed SRW, FSUE RADON accounts for 45 % and JSC Rosenergoatom Concern for 39 %.

As of 31 December 2013, nuclear organisations had 437.2 million m3 of LRW (total activity: 2.5E+19 Bq), and 72.6 million tonnes of SRW (total activity: 4.7E+19 Bq).

Most of the LRW (98.3 %) was low-level waste with activity of 8.4E+15 Bq or 0.03 % of the LRW’s total activity. Most of this waste (97.8 %) is at the site of FSUE PA Mayak. The amount of medium-level LRW as of the end of 2013 was 7.5 million m3 (total activity: 9.5E+18 Bq). This waste was concentrated mostly at JSC SCC, JSC SRC NIIAR, FSUE MCC and FSUE PA Mayak. The amount of high-level LRW was 83 thousand m3 (less than 0.02 % of the total amount), the total activity being 1.58Е+19 Bq (62.6 % of the total activity). Most of the high-level LRW was concentrated at two sites:

  • FSUE PA Mayak – 76.8 thousand m3 (92.5 %), with a total beta activity of 1.03E+19 Bq;
  • FSUE MCC – 6.2 m3 (7.5 %), with a total beta activity of 5.6E+18 Bq.

Most of the high-level SRW was concentrated at: PDC UGR – 20.1 thousand tonnes, activity 1.83E+18 Bq; FSUE PA Mayak – 18.6 thousand tones, activity 2.5E+19 Bq; and JSC SCC – 8.4 thousand tonnes, activity 8.5E+16 Bq. The storage sites not isolated from the environment contained 71.2 million tonnes of SRW (98.1 % of the total amount), of which 95.1 % was very low-level waste, 4.9 % was LLW, and less than 0.1 % was ILW. Most of the SRW in question (64.8 million tonnes) was concentrated at JSC PIMCU, a uranium mining company.

See also the Report section “Integrated solution to accumulated nuclear legacy problems.

ROSATOM is a partner of special projects of the President of Russia on protection of rare animals

* According to data in the government report “About the State and the Protection of the Environment in the Russian Federation in 2012”. Public exposure dose

According to the data of the Russian Federation 2012 radiological and sanitary certification, the additional exposure from nuclear site operations for the public in the nuclear installation deployment localities (2.3 million people) amounted to 0.004 mSv/year per person on the average. With such an exposure level, the risk of negative stochastic effects (malignant tumours) is below 5.7·10–7. This is 150 times as low as the tolerable risk level set by the radiation safety standards (1.0·10–5).

In Russia, in 2012, the annual average public effective exposure dose from all ionising radiation sources was 3.9 mSv/year per person. The key public exposure factors in the Russian Federation are natural and medical sources of ionising radiation. The contribution of nuclear sites is estimated at hundredths of one percent (0.04 % or 0.002 mSv/year) of the annual average public effective exposure dose from all sources. Such public exposure is representative of all areas with large radiation-hazardous facilities.

Fig. Contribution of different sources to the annual average public exposure in the Russian Federation

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