Ecological Risk Assessment for the Terrestrial Ecosystem under Chronic Radioactive Pollution

Document Type: Original Research Paper


Obninsk Institute for Nuclear Power Engineering, branch of the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI, Department of Ecology, Studgorodok,1, 249040 Obninsk, Kaluga region, Russian Federation


A methodology of ecological risk assessment for the terrestrial ecosystem under chronic
radioactive pollution of a biotope near a regional radioactive waste storage has been developed in terms of the
critical environmental loads analyzed. It consists of five stages: determination of effect indicators and assessment
of their values; establishment of reference species and indices; assessment and analysis of critical loads by
plotting “dose-effect” dependencies; ecological risk assessment from critical loads versus permissible values;
plotting of risk functions to calculate the expected adverse alterations in the ecosystem. Based on the results
obtained the storage risk for a terrestrial ecosystem is considered to be inadmissible and this implies unstable
conditions in the territory in the nearest future. The calculations and mapping have shown that in the territory
studied the area with excess critical loads is 48% for CFU and 61% for 90Sr accumulation coefficient. The
analyzed risk functions give evidence of highly probable negative alterations in the tested ecosystem: 85% for
CFU and 99% for 90Sr accumulation coefficient.