State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management Presented Research Results for Prypiat River Bottom and Water

“The radionuclide content of the Prypiat River is several times lower than the allowable levels for drinking water. However, even so, we cannot speak about radiation safety of the Prypiat River. We will continue to take measures to keep the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone safe, since it is our priority,” Head of the State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management Vitalii Petruk said during the press conference to present the results of the comprehensive Prypiat-2019 research expedition.

During August, Ukrainian scientists: representatives of the Chornobyl Radiation and Ecological Biosphere Reserve, Hydrophysical Center of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Subsidiary of the State Hydrography Institution “Dnipro Region of State Hydrography”, and Ecocenter conducted a comprehensive research expedition within the Chornobyl Radiation and Ecological Biosphere Reserve. During the research, radiation and environmental monitoring, hydrographic, hydroacoustic and hydrological studies were conducted to identify problematic areas that could be dangerous for navigation and visiting the Exclusion Zone by water routes.

During the press conference, Deputy Head of the Hydroacoustic Research Group, the Hydrophysical Center of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine Serhii Fedoseienko noted that 24 underwater and 6 surface objects were identified in the coastland and river bed, which represent a navigation hazard (partially or completely sunk ships and barges, shallows, stones, etc.). A group of objects representing an environmental hazards related to leaks of oil product residues was also identified. Some of the objects found during acoustic survey need further study and registration on maps for monitoring and repeated study.

According to experts, for full use of the Prypiat River for navigation it is necessary to remove the sunk and abandoned objects from the river bed and coastland, if such activities will not cause additional contamination of the river with radionuclides of Chornobyl origin or oil product residues.

Moreover, to provide the necessary conditions for navigation, in some places it is necessary to deepen the bottom.

According to researchers, in order to solve these problems effectively, the method of program-oriented planning and management should be used and applied, and as a tool, it is necessary to apply an appropriate targeted comprehensive scientific and technical project, whose concept should be developed in the nearest future.

It should be noted that scientific and technical tasks of the expedition were implemented in accordance with the Decree of the President of Ukraine on developing the territories that have been radioactively contaminated resulting from the Chornobyl accident.