SNTS AQUEOUS MEDIUM

1.Region of water discharge to local blind depressions 2. Region of water discharge towards the Irtysh river flood-lands 3.Over flood-lands terraces of the Irtysh river
Degelen mountain range. Location of wells with water outflows and springs. Numbers denote tritium contents in water (kBq/l)

SNTS territory belongs to the left-bank of the Irtysh river regional hydrological system. The main direction of groundwater motion is north-north-east. Groundwater discharge is to the Irtysh river.
The table below presents available data indicating maximal values for concentrations of artificial radionuclides in surface and ground waters on the main testing grounds of the test site providing information about the present-day situation with radioactive pollution of the SNTS aqueous medium.
Degelen testing ground. The area is characterized by two main types of groundwaters often interconnected with each other – porous and fracture waters. Porous waters are widely spread in valleys stretching at foot of Degelen mountains. The second type includes fracture waters of exogenous fracturing and connected with them fracture-vein waters originating in the zones of rupture disturbances.
Underground nuclear explosions caused dramatic deformations of mountain structures with formation of numerous crushing zones, dip holes and gap faults. As a result of penetration of atmospheric precipitations and fracture-vein waters in the crushing zones and directly in the kettle-shaped cavities, radionuclide composition of gallery waters is formed. Moving along the system of fractures and cavities of adit waters contaminated with radionuclides permeate into the basin of ground waters or appear on the day surface in the vicinity of gallery portals.
Specific features of radioactive contamination of the Degelen range waters:
1. Adit streams. All gallery streams are contaminated with artificial radionuclides. In most streams concentrations of radionuclides exceed the interference level for population (ILpop) established by NRB-99, when radionuclides penetrate into organism with water and food. The main radioactive pollutant of adit waters is 90Sr.
2. Ground waters. Concentration of 137Cs, 90Sr and 239+240Pu in ground waters does not exceed ILpop. The main radioactive pollutant of ground waters is tritium. Tritium concentration in ground waters considerably exceeds ILpop both within the mountain range and beyond it. The character of tritium spreading in water steams beyond the Degelen mountains is still not well studied. Maximal tritium concentrations up to 260 kBq/l were registered in ground waters of south-eastern direction widespread in the valley of Baitles river. Additional investigations in this direction showed that even at a distance of 10 km from the boundaries of the Delegen mountains, tritium concentration in ground waters remains rather high and goes up to 70 kBq/l, which is almost 10 times greater than maximal permissible values for drinking water.

 

Object

Water type

Specific activity of radionuclides, Bq/l

137Cs

 

 

137Cs

Degelen testing ground

well water

1070

Degelen testing ground

well water

1070

spring water

7.0

 

spring water

7.0

ground water

1.0

 

ground water

1.0

Telkem

testing ground

surface water, lake Telkem-2 (crater of the explosion)

<0.1

Telkem

testing ground

surface water, lake Telkem-2 (crater of the explosion)

<0.1

ground water

(850 m away from Telkem-2 lake)

1.0

 

ground water

(850 m away from Telkem-2 lake)

1.0

“Atomic” lake

charged» well #1004)

<1.0

“Atomic” lake

charged» well #1004)

<1.0

Sary-Uzen

testing ground

ground water

(320 m away from «charged» well #125)

0.03

Sary-Uzen

testing ground

ground water

(320 m away from «charged» well #125)

0.03

Balapan

testing ground

ground water

(950 m away from «charged» well #308)

4.0

Balapan

testing ground

ground water

(950 m away from «charged» well #308)

4.0

Uvanas

RadSafetyNorms “НРБ-99” (Appendix 2)

11

Uvanas

RadSafetyNorms “НРБ-99” (Appendix 2)

11

Degelen mountain range. Outline of hydro-geological wells. Numbers denote tritium contents in kBq/l

Special attention should be paid to the beryllium concentration. Its concentration in the studied samples exceeds standards for drinking water for an order of magnitude. Therefore, detection of ecological-geochemical  characteristics of the environmental conditions on the SNTS is at least of the same importance problem as studying consequences from nuclear tests and requires special attention.

Sary-Uzen

Wells: 1 – hydro-geological; 2 – hydro-geological appropriate for regime monitoring; 3 – hydro-geological, non-appropriate for regime monitoring; 4 – charged wells.