In a new study “Evaluation of environmental safety of the people in the region of the Siberian chemical plant discharges into the river Tom,” Green Cross Russia found radioactivity levels improved but still high. The chemical plant was closed in 2008.
Done over the past year with support of Green Cross Switzerland, the study analyzed samples of the water, soil, fish and vegetation downstream on the River Tom where the Siberian chemical plant released wastewater. The analyses were done at laboratories in Tomsk, Moscow and Krasnoyarsk.
A set of samples was taken at the mouth of the chemical plant’s channel. Fish in the vicinity of the chemical plant’s wastewater discharge point still contain technogenic radioactive zinc-65. In addition, a wide range of radionuclides, including plutonium, pollutes bottom sediments and riparian vegetation.
The long-term impacts of the chemical plant, however, are still unknown. Therefore human activities are restricted in the area. Research carried out in October 2008 found that the flow of radionuclides is within permitted annual limits.
As a result of this study, residents living downstream from the chemical plant are recommended to:
– Avoid fishing in the River Romashka and the Chernilschikovskoy channel of the river Tom.
– Avoid performing any work below the mouth of the River Romashka that could lead to the lifting of bottom sediment (silt) in water.
– Avoid grazing cattle on the meadows by the river Romashka and Chernilschikovskoy channel of the river Tom.
GC Russia will also soon provide special recommendations for residents of coastal towns downstream on river Tom from the chemical plant on safe environmental management. The recommendations will also be available on GC Russia’s website.
One of the significant results of the study has been a public statement by the official speaker of the State Medical and Biological Agency about the need to enlarge the list of radionuclides for permanent state monitoring near nuclear sites. This represents a an important step toward better monitoring of the health of the environment and the, population.