Swedish-Ukraine cooperation in the civil radiation area continues. With the support Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) is running a program in Ukraine consisting of four projects:
- Quality Assurance and Quality Control in Medical Radiology, phase 2 Key partner from Ukraine – Ministry of Health (MoH)
- Reduction of lung cancer risk caused by exposure to radon gas and natural radiation, phase 2 Key partner from Ukraine – Ministry of Health (MoH)
- Uranium Tailings and Remediation Planning in Ukraine, ”ENSURE”, phase 2Key partner from Ukraine – Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry (MECI)
- Radiation Protection for Workers at Operational Uranium Mining FacilitiesKey partner from Ukraine – Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry (MECI)
The total period of implementation of these projects covers 2010-2013.
During Phase 1 (2006-2009) of the three first listed projects SSM established relevant Ukrainian contacts to assess the situation and possibly start a cooperation program with concrete activities. These works resulted in the mutual agreement to continue the efforts towards phase 2 (2010-2013). The fourth project was also decided as a new product of the original cooperation.
Quality Assurance and Quality Control in Medical Radiology
The quality assurance system in Ukrainian is in need for strong support to be compatible with IAEA Standards and EU Directives were QA is required as a tool diagnostic optimisation and therapeutic precision.
Up to now the first phase of the project has led to the development of a national strategy regarding the optimal use of radiation sources in radiotherapy and diagnostic radiology. The aim is to improve education of medical physicists; to continue the development of the legislation in harmony with EC Directives; to improve institutional capacity at regulatory authorities; and to provide training and education for radiology staff in hospitals.
The development objective is to contribute to improved health of patients and staff in medical radiology by reducing the wide span of doses to patients and staff through improvement of quality of radiological procedures by introducing QA/QC as a tool for optimization.
Reduction of Risks Caused by Exposure to Radon Gas and Natural Radiation
The first phase of cooperation led to the drafting of a National Radon Programme which was later presented to the Parliament of Ukraine. The practical and theoretical parts of the projects provided the Ukrainian partners with the tools to understand how the Ukrainian national radon programmes might be established and structured.
According to an estimate by Ukrainian experts the indoor radon level in over 1 000 000 of Ukrainian dwellings exceeds the national regulatory limit of 200 Bq/m3. Today Ukraine has inadequate knowledge in radon countermeasures, radon mapping and public risk communication by authorities.
The development objective is to contribute to the development and implementation of the national strategy for protection of population exposed to radon gas and natural radiation, in harmonization with EU Directives and international recommendations through enhancement of competence and capacity of responsible agencies and organisations to perform risk assessments and radon remediation, as well as public risk communication.
Uranium Tailings and Remediation Planning in Ukraine, ”ENSURE” (phase 2)
The Ukrainian Government has made substantial efforts to improve its regulations and legal requirements in the field of environmental and radiation protection. A special Governmental programme was approved in 2008 to deal with the rehabilitation of uranium tailings located in the area of Dniprodzerzhinsk for the period 2009-2014.
The national priority is to focus on the most contaminated territory, which is the area that housed the former uranium facilities around the Pridneprovsky Chemical Plant (PChP). These efforts will constitute a pilot project for Ukraine. The Swedish assistance is fundamental to facilitate the environmental impact assessments as a basis for choosing remediation options considering socio-economical vs. technical issues.
The project is also in line with a regional IAEA project RER 3010 “Supporting of preparation for Remediation of Uranium Production Legacy Sites” .
The development objective is to contribute to the development and implementation of the national strategy for the remediation and rehabilitation of legacy waste sites from past uranium mining and milling. It is also imperative to ensure transparency and public access to knowledge about the remediation work.
Outputs of the project include an improved regulatory framework in harmonization with EC Directives and Basic Safety Standards (BSS); transfer of methodological and scientific-technical know-how; increased institutional capacity; and improved stakeholder involvement.
Radiation Protection for Workers at Operational Uranium Mining Facilities
Today there are two uranium mines in operation in Ukraine, employing more than 3000 people and two other sites are under commission. Working conditions for the workers are at an unacceptably low level, and many issues are in need of improvement.
This project is new in the sense that it addresses the exposure of workers to radiation in the work environment. One aim is to provide recommendations for measures to achieve dose reductions. Cooperation with Sweden will provide Ukrainian experts with the opportunity to gain the necessary capabilities and experiences on modern approaches to occupational radiation protection.
As a result of implementation of the project it is expected to set up an individual dosimetry system for mine workers; conduct training courses for miners on radiation protection and safety culture; introduce a methodology for dose calculations for all significant irradiation factors; provide recommendations on radiation protection to the operator; conduct seminars and study visits for regulatory bodies and operators; and publish a national regulatory guide on dose estimation.