Prediction of the Impact of Severe Accidents at NPP on Radionuclide Contamination of the Near-Surface Environment

  • Vyacheslav G. Rumynin
Part of the Theory and Applications of Transport in Porous Media book series (TATP, volume 26)


The fission of uranium or plutonium isotopes normally used as the fuel in nuclear reactors generates radioactive fission products, radionuclides. For nuclear reactors under normal operation and in a number of events, these radionuclides are prevented from escaping to the environment by several physical barriers (Högberg 2013). However, as experience shows, it cannot be totally excluded that at any time events occur. If all barriers fail, there is a potential substantial release of radionuclides from the damaged reactor to the environment. These aerosol-bound radionuclides being widely dispersed in the atmosphere can be removed from the atmosphere and brought to the earth surface by dry or wet deposition. The other pathway for radionuclides is connected with radioactive wastewater leak directly from the damaged reactor to the subsurface environment.


Nuclear Power Plant Fission Product Chernobyl Accident Radioactive Contamination Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Aarkrog A, Dahlgaard H, Nielsen SP (1997) Radioactive inventories from the Kyshtym and Karachay accidents: estimates based on soil samples collected in the South Urals (1990–1995). Sci Total Environ 201:137–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Accident Analysis for Nuclear Power Plants. Safety Reports Series 23 (2020) IAEA, Vienna, p 121Google Scholar
  3. Atlas of the EURT, East Ural Radioactive Trace (2013) Izrael YA. IGCE Roshydromet and RAS, «Infosphere» Foundation, Moscow, p 140Google Scholar
  4. Beloyarsk NPP (2011) Unit 4. Final report on safety assessment. Book 4. Sect. 15.3. Analysis of the design beyond accidents. “OKBM Afrikantov”. BL4-0-0-OOOB-001/15.4Google Scholar
  5. Bixio AC, Gambolati G, Panikoni C et al (2002) Modeling groundwater–surface water interactions including effects of morphogenetic depressions in the Chenobyl exclusion zone. Environ Geol 42(2–3):162–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bublias VN, Shestopalov VM (2001) Anomaly zones and their role in redistribution of radionuclides between soils and aquifers. Water exchange in hydrogeological structures and Chernobyl catastrophe. Institute of Geological Sciences. Ukrainian Acad Sci Kiev 1:251–356Google Scholar
  7. Bulgakov AA, Konoplev AV, Shveikin YV et al (1999) Experimental study and prediction of dissolved radionuclide wash-off by surface runoff from non-agricultural watersheds/contaminated Forests. Recent developments in risk identification and future perspectives Part 1, NATO science series 2. Environ Secur 58:102–112Google Scholar
  8. Cambray RS, Playford K, Lewis GN et al (1989) Radioactive fallout in air and rain: results to the end of 1988. AERE-R-13575. Atomic energy authority report, Harwell, UKGoogle Scholar
  9. De Cort M, Dubois G, Fridman SD et al (1998) Atlas of caesium deposition on Europe after the Chernobyl accident. EUR report N 16733, EC, Official Publication of the European Communities. Luxembourg, p 65Google Scholar
  10. Downer CW, Ogden FL (2006) Gridded surface subsurface hydrologic analysis (GSSHA). User’s Manual. Version 1.43 for Watershed Modeling System 6.1, p 208Google Scholar
  11. Eakins JD, Cambray RS, Chambers KC (1984) The transfer of natural andartificial radionuclides to Brotherswater from its catchment. In: Haworth EY, Lund JWG (eds) Lake sediments and environmental history: studies in palaeolimnology and palaeoecology in honour of Winifred Tutin. Leicester University Press, Leicester, pp 125–144Google Scholar
  12. Evrard O, Chartin C, Onda Y et al (2013) Evolution of radioactive dose rates in fresh sediment deposits along coastal rivers draining Fukushima contamination plume. Scientific reports 3. Article number: 3079. doi: 10.1038/srep03079
  13. Flury M (1996) Experimental evidence of transport of pestcides through field soils. J Environ Qual 25:25–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Foster GR, Flanagan DC, Nearing MA (1995) Chapter 11. Hillslope erosion component. In: Flanagan DC, Nearing MA (eds) Technical documentation. USDA – water erosion prediction project (WEPP). NSERL. Report N10. National Soil Erosion Research Laboratory, West Lafayette, Indiana, USAGoogle Scholar
  15. Garcia-Sanchez L, Konoplev A (2009) Watershed wash-off of atmospherically deposited radionuclides: a review of normalized entrainment coefficients. J Environ Radioact 100(9):774–778CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Garcia-Sanchez L, Konoplev A, Bulgakov A (2005) Radionuclide entrainment coefficients by wash-off derived from plot experiments near Chernobyl. J Radioprot Suppl 40:519–524CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gerke HH, Dusek J, Vogel TJ et al (2007) Two-dimensional dual-permeability analyses of a bromide tracer experiment on a tile-drained field. Vadose Zone J 6:651–667CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Grant SB, Stewardson MJ, Marusic I (2012) Effective diffusivity and mass flux across the sediment-water interface in streams. Water Resour Res. doi: 10.1029/2011WR011148 Google Scholar
  19. GSSHA Wiki (2014) Gridded surface subsurface hydrologic analysis.
  20. Helton J, Muller A, Bayer A (1985) Contamination of surface-water bodies after reactor accidents by the erosion of atmospherically deposited radionuclides. Health Phys 48(6):757–771CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Högberg L (2013) Root cases and impacts of severe accidents at large nuclear power plants. Ambio 42:267–284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Israel YA, Vakulovskii SM, Vetrov VA et al (1990) Chernobyl: radioactive contamination of the environment. Hydrometeoizdat, Moscow, p 223 (in Russian)Google Scholar
  23. Ivanov YA, Kashparov VA (2003) Long-Term dynamics of the radioecological situation in Terrestrial ecosystems of the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Environ Soil Pollut Res 1(Special Issue):13–20Google Scholar
  24. Konoplev AV, Bulgakov A, Popov V et al (1992) Behaviour of long-lived Chernobyl radionuclides in a soil-water system. J Analyst 117:1041–1047CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Konz N, Baenninger D, Konz M (2010) Process identification of soil erosion in steep mountain regions. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 14:675–686CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Matsunaga T, Koarashi J, Atarashi-Andoh M et al (2013) Comparison of the vertical distributions of Fukushima nuclear accident radiocesium in soil before and after the first rainy season, with physicochemical and mineralogical interpretations. Sci Total Environ 447:301–314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Molchanova IV, Karavaeva EN, Mikchailovskaya LN (2009) Results of long-term radio-ecological investigations of the natural ecosystems in zones of liquid waste discharge from Beloyarskaya NPP. Prob Radiat Safety 4:20–27Google Scholar
  28. Monte L, Brittain JE, Håkanson L et al (2004) Review and assessment of models for predicting the migration of radionuclides from catchments. J Environ Radioact 75:83–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Nagai H, Katata G, Terada H (2014) Source term estimation of I-131 and Cs-137 discharged from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the atmosphere. In: Takahashi S (ed) Radiation monitoring and dose estimation of the Fukushima nuclear accident. Springer, Tokyo, pp 155–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Nalbandyan A, Ytre-Eide MA, Thørring H (2012) Potential consequences in Norway after a hypothetical accident at Leningrad nuclear power plant. Potential release, fallout and impacts on the environment. Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority, ØsterásGoogle Scholar
  31. Nelson EJ, McCarthy JE, Paudel M et al (2012) Watershed erosion evaluation of empirical and physical models at Aguacate Reservoir. In: Munoz RM (ed) River Flow. pp 889–896Google Scholar
  32. Nieber JL (2001) The relation of preferential flow to water quality, and its theoretical and experimental quantification. Preferential flow. Water movement and chemical transport in the environment. In: Proceedings of the 2nd international symposium. Honolulu, Hawaii, pp 1–10Google Scholar
  33. Nilsson K, Jensen SB, Carlsen L (1985) The migration chemistry of strontium. Eur Appl Res Rept Nucl Sci Technol 7(1):149–200Google Scholar
  34. Otosaka S, Kobayashi T (2013) Sedimentation and remobilization of radiocesium in the coastal area of Ibaraki, 70 km south of the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant. Environ Monit Assess 185:5419–5433CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Owens PN, Walling DE, He Q et al (1997) The use of caesium-137 measurements to establish a sediment budget for the Start catchment, Devon, UK. Hydrol Sci 42(3):405–423CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Poręba GJ (2006) Caesium-137 as a soil erosion tracer: a review. Geochronometria 25:37–46Google Scholar
  37. Pozolotina VN, Molchanova IV, Mikhaylovskaya LN et al (2012) The current state of terrestrial ecosystems in the Eastern Ural Radioactive Trace. In: Gerada JG (ed) Radionuclides: sources, properties and hazards. Nova Science Publishers, Huntington, pp 1–21Google Scholar
  38. Romanov GN, Nikipelov BV, Drozhko EG (1990) The Kyshtym accident: causes, scale and radiation characteristics. Proceedings of Seminar on Comparative Assessment of the Environmental Impact of Radionuclides Released during Three Major Nuclear Accidents: Kyshtym Windscale, Chernobyl, Commission of the European Communities, EUR 13574, 1–5 October, Luxembourg, pp 25–40Google Scholar
  39. Rumynin VG (2011) Subsurface solute transport models and case histories (with applications to radionuclide migration), vol 25, Theory and applications of transport in porous media. Springer, Dordrecht, p 815CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Smith JT, Voitsekhovitch OV, Konoplev AV et al (2005) Radioactivity in aquatic systems. In: Smith JT, Beresford NA (eds) Chernobyl catastrophe and consequences. Praxis Publishing Ltd, Chcester, pp 139–181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Shestakov VM, Pozdniakov SP (2003) Geohydrology. IKC “Academkniga”, Moscow, p 176 (in Russian)Google Scholar
  42. Shestopalov VM, Bohuslavsky AS, Bublias VN (2007) Assessment of groundwater protection with respect to preferential flow zones. Institute of Geological Sciences. Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, Kiev, p 120Google Scholar
  43. Shestopalov VM, Rudenko YF, Bohuslavsky AS et al (2006) Chernobyl-born radionuclides: groundwater protectability with respect to preferential flow zones. In: Vereecken H, Binley A, Revil A, Titov K (eds) Applied hydrogeophysics. NATO Science Series, Springer, Dordrecht, pp 341–383Google Scholar
  44. Steenhuis TS, Bodnar M, Geohring LD (1997) A simple model for predicting solute concentration in agricultural tile lines shortly after application. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 4:823–833CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. The release, dispersion and deposition of radionuclides. Chernobyl: Assessment of Radiological and Health Impact Update of Chernobyl: Ten Years On (2002)Google Scholar
  46. Ueda S, Hasegawa H, Kakiuchi H (2013) Fluvial discharges of radiocaesium from watersheds contaminated by the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, Japan. J Environ Radioact 118:96–104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Utkin VI, Chebotina MY, Evstigneev AV (2000) Radioactive disasters of the Ural. Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Ekaterinburg, p 94Google Scholar
  48. Wallach R, Jury WA, Spencer WF (1989) The concept of convective mass transfer for prediction of surface-runoff pollution by soil surface applied chemicals. J Trans ASAE 32:906–912CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Wicks JM, Bathurst JC (1996) SHESED: a physically based, distributed erosion and sediment component for the SHE Hydrological Modeling System. J Hydrol 175:213–238CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vyacheslav G. Rumynin
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Environmental GeologyThe Russian Academy of SciencesSaint PetersburgRussia
  2. 2.Institute of Earth SciencesSaint Petersburg State UniversitySaint PetersburgRussia

Personalised recommendations