Violations of radiation safety, radiation incidents and accidents in 2018 according to the SNRI of Ukraine

In February, State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate reported on the work carried out in 2018. One of the areas of Inspectorate’s activity is response to radiation incidents and accidents, detection of violations related to radiation safety, detection of radiation contaminated objects and their further transfer to specialized enterprises engaged in the collection, transportation and disposal of radioactive waste, that are essential for the radiation safety of the population

According to the results of the work of State Inspectorates for Nuclear and Radiation safety (as an independent management), namely, Central, Western, Southern, South-Eastern, Northern, North-Western and Eastern Inspectorates, most of the violations on radiation safety issues by using of ionizing radiation sources (IRS) were detected in medical institutions, which is mostly due to insufficient funding of this institutions. For instance, the main discrepancies (safety deficiencies) were in the field of providing the training on radiation safety knowledge for clinical management and responsible for radiation safety person, as well as members of the radiation safety committee; ensuring full maintenance of X-ray diagnostic equipment; insufficient individual protection, as well as ensuring the monitoring of the effectiveness of personal protective equipment in medical institutions; well-timed and full control of equivalent dose capacity at workplaces of X-ray personnel; ensuring state registration of IRS, as well as providing relevant information to the State Register of IRS of changes with IRS, untimely changes in the license for the right to exercise activities on the use of IRS.

In 2018, on the territory of the Western Inspectorate for Nuclear and Radiation Safety one case of detection of illegal radioactive materials was registered. In the metal safe of the Transcarpathian Academy of Arts in Uzhgorod in the basement, there were objects with a radiation hazard signs that could be dangerous to others. These items were identified as an IRS of type BIK-M and BIS-M-3, control sources for dosimeters DP-5, GP-12, GP-11, smoke alarms radioisotope RID-1. During the reporting period, there were no cases of radiation accidents at facilities for using IR sources.

The Southern Inspectorate for Nuclear and Radiation Safety of the SNRI took part in responding to three cases of radiation incidents involving the loss of control over radiation sources. Radiation accidents in 2018 were not recorded.

During 2018, the South-East Inspectorate for Nuclear and Radiation Safety recorded five radiation incidents at Metallurgical Combine Azovstal. In railway cars with scrap metal, parts (fragments) of equipment containing radioactive material were found.

All seized radiation-hazardous objects were transported to the storage facility of the SSE “Dnepropetrovsk State Interregional Special Combine” for temporary storage. Radioactive contamination of the territory is not recorded.

In 2018, with the participation of the South-Eastern Inspectorate for Nuclear and Radiation Safety, the SNRI monitored the environmental situation at enterprises engaged in the use of radiation sources on the territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions controlled by the Ukrainian authorities. Monitoring was carried out by analyzing the reporting documents of the licensees. According to the monitoring results, no facts have been established that indicate a deterioration in the state of radiation safety in the region when using radiation sources.

Last year, the Eastern Inspectorate for Nuclear and Radiation Safety took part in responding to one radiation incident with detection of IRS in illicit trafficking. Radiation accidents were not recorded.

In the reporting year, the North-Western Inspectorate for Nuclear and Radiation Safety recorded two incidents related to the loss of control over radiation sources:

  1. May 24, 2018 during a special operation of the Security Service of Ukraine in the city of Zdolbunov, Rivne region, during a sanctioned search was seized a suspicious metal object of a cylindrical shape 5×10 cm2 with signs of radioactivity, which was in illicit trafficking. The North-West Inspectorate conducted its on-site inspection. Directly near the object, the exposure dose rate (EDR) was 23 μSv/h. This item was transferred to the Lviv State Interregional Special Combine of the State Ukrainian Association “Radon” for temporary storage.
  2. On August 1, 2018, representative of the North-Western Inspectorate on the former military training area in the “Dubovo-2” in Khmelnitsky examined a UKT-D11 metal container with signs of radioactivity. On the surface of the container, the EDR amounted to 3 µSv/h. Inside this container was another container labeled SU\013\B(U). On the surface of the container, the EDR amounted to 6 µSv/h. The IRS, which was in illicit trafficking, was transferred to the Kiev State Interregional Special Combine of the State Ukrainian Association “Radon”.

In April and October 2018, the Central Inspectorate for Nuclear and Radiation Safety recorded 2 cases of detection the cargo with scrap metal with an increased level of γ – radiation at the entrance dosimetric control, carried out by experts of the radiation safety department of OJSC “ArcelorMittal Kryviy Rih” at Promyshlennaya station in Dnipropetrovsk region, the city of Krivoy Rog. By sorting scrap metal, intended for remelting, a metal pipe with a maximum PPD of γ – radiation at a distance of 10 cm from the surface of 3.7 μSv/h and metal pipes from a maximum PPD of γ – radiation at a distance of 10 cm from the surface of 5.0. µSv/h were seized. Radiation-contaminated objects were transferred to the Dnepropetrovsk of the State Ukrainian Association “Radon”.

In accordance with the Radiation Monitoring Program at the Dnipropetrovsk State Interregional Special Combine, coordinated with the territorial bodies of the State Sanitary and Epidemiological Surveillance, during 2018, screening analysis of the state of environmental pollution in the affected areas of the Radioactive Waste Disposal Site (RWDS) and the Dnipropetrovsk State Interregional Special Combine continued. The monitoring was carried out by specialists of the Radiation Safety Service (RSS) of the SSE Dnepropetrovsk State Interregional Special Combine”

The results of radiometric observations on the content of radionuclides in the soil, air, water and vegetation in the sanitary protection zone and the observation zone do not show growth trends and do not have noticeable differences from the background values typical for the area. The fluctuations of the readings do not go beyond the statistical limits that are usual for the measured series of values. The concentration of technogenic nuclide cesium-137 in RWDS soil samples does not exceed the limits of typical values for a given area due to global precipitation. No technogenic radionuclides were detected in air, water and vegetation at the sensitivity level of the available measuring instruments. In the indicators of air precipitation, the presence of technological radionuclides RWDS was not detected.

Dose of the personnel are at a typical level for recent years. The contribution of internal exposure is at the level of natural background exposure. This is confirmed by the control of air pollution at the working places and the “dirty” RWDS area.

The available results do not show a significant difference in the environmental situation between the sanitary protection zone and the observation zone. Investigation of air, precipitation and vegetation samples in RWDS by means of scintillation spectrometry did not reveal the presence of technogenic contamination.

In general, according to the results of environmental monitoring over the past five years, there is no increase in the values of radionuclide content in environmental objects with constant measurements. The results of radiometric observations do not show obvious tendencies to change according to the results of environmental monitoring over the past five years.

On materials of SNRI