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Project List » Advanced Models and Methods in the Investigation of Environmental Nuclide Migration, Ecosystem and Critical Infrastructure Vulnerability, and the Health-and Environmental Impact of Nuclear and Other, Industrial, Activities.

Advanced Models and Methods in the Investigation of Environmental Nuclide Migration, Ecosystem and Critical Infrastructure Vulnerability, and the Health-and Environmental Impact of Nuclear and Other, Industrial, Activities.

Acronym: MAMIN
Number / Date of the contract: CEX-05-D11-67 / 06-10-2005
modul 1
Project Manager: Dr. Dan Vasile Vamanu
Partners: University Politehnica of Bucharest; Institute of Mining Research and Design Baia Mare; University of Bucharest; National Institute of C&D for Environmental Protection ICIM Bucharest
Starting date / finishing date: 2005-10-06 / 2008-09-30
Project value: 1500000 RON
Abstract: Advanced Models and Methods in the Investigation of Environmental Nuclide Migration, Ecosystem and Critical Infrastructure Vulnerability, and the Health-and Environmental Impact of Nuclear and Other, Industrial, Activities.
The project endeavors to develop physical analogies and mathematical models, along with new methods, knowledge and data libraries, and integrated software environments in the Decision Support System (DSS) format, meant to provide for a better understanding and quantitative documenting of the risk and vulnerabilities of critical infrastructures and ecosystems, with special emphasis on the migration in the environment, trophic chains, and the living, of nuclides and other pollutants such as the heavy metals (trace elements). One thereby aims towards a more effective and scientifically-grounded control of the health- and environmental impact of the activities in the nuclear realm, and the industrial business at large.
The sought deliverables consist of structured knowledge and skills; computer-based knowledge and data libraries; analytical methods; assessment and decision support software toolkits designed to be directly instrumental in assisting the response and mitigative action in disaters or otherwise abnormal occurences. A briefing on the ongoing work is given, in the sequel:
The year 2005 - Phase I:
- A model known as FDMH, domestically initiated back in 1998-2000 has been substantively upgraded to comprehensively predict the consequences of accidental releases of Tritium. The model has been effectively employed within IAEA’s EMRAS project. The modeling framework for a more realistic assessment of the tritiated water dynamics in the air-ground-plant system was also developed. As a result, an advanced formalism to determine the tritiated water concentration in plants, covering the water stress in the ground and the atmosphere as well as the climatic factors was made available. The physiological model of the leaf canopy resistance and its integration with a recent model of pollutant transfer in soils are counting for net innovative developments.
- A batch of 100 detectors serving 30 environmental dosimeters has been qualified by standard requisite parameters including homogeneity and the dosimetric response - its linearity and reproductibility, by panoramic irradiation from distances in the 0.25-0.5 range, using 5 mCi Cs-137 sources. The results have validated the product for effective utilization in the environmental radioactivity monitoring, as well as in the occupational screening of the radiation workers. The ground was thereby layed for proceeding to the development of a TL dosimetric system for environmental and occupational monitoring – one of project’s explicit objectives.
- The research that addressed the heavy metal migration have generated a study capturing terms of reference on how environmental factors including the geography, soils, climate, and human activity determine the concept, design, and sampling methods, for a territory-wide (national, regional) monitoring network, in tune with the norms and practices observed in reference-countries. In the topical phenomenology, the chief factors contributing to the mine acid draining and the biological soluting of heavy metals have been identified. Outstanding as a result was the drafting of an inventory of the mine waste repositories in the Baia Mare district, potentially acting as major heavy metal pollution sources.
The year 2006 – Phase 2:
- A bibliographical inventory on the issue and technical aspects of radio-Caesium in soils has been drafted, covering inter alia the dynamics-constraining factors; the interaction with clay-minerals, organic matter, and various cation species; the in-depth soil migration. The power of different models to properly evaluate ground-to-plant Caesium transfer was also assessed, in a comparative manner.
- An experimental, laboratory model for the evaluation of the spatial variability of soil-to-plant radio-Caesium transfer was developed and tested on soil sampled from known, higher-radiological risk areas. A lab setup for the controlled-environment monitoring of 100 wheet plantlets was designed and implemented in three versions, each addressing soil varieties differing by Cs-137 contamination (concentration, residence time etc.). In focus were also such physical, chemical and mineralogical features of the soils playing a part in the soil-to-plant Cs-137 tranfer like the organic/mineral fractions, the density, pH, the cationic exchange capability, the K concentration etc.; the determination of the levels of mobile Cs, and of the fraction effectively transferred to the wheat plantlets, 21 days from seeding; the determination of the standard transfer factors known as FTc and FTef, and of the correlation relationship of these with soil features. The results have evidenced a fair sensitivity of the model to the input data, which in turn provided good marks in qualifying the model as a predictive tool in assessing Caesium migration in the aftermath of accidental environmental releases, or otherwise in areas of higher radiological risk.
The year 2006 – Phase 3:
- A comprehensive bibliographical investigation favored by a standig academic communication with centres of excellence abroad has resulted in the sorting out and buildup of an inventory of alternative definitions of the concept of vulnerability, originating in, and reflective of the perceptions, attitudes and stands taken by various societal segments, vocational stakeholders, and decisional establishments. This has substantiated a multi-faceted – while however coherent - design of the approach to be adopted in modeling and quantitatevely assessing the vulnerablity of large and complex systems. The terms coined to discriminate between the varieties of vulnerability that were identified as primarily challenging were ‘structural’, ‘operational’, ‘managerial’, and ‘relational’ (vulnerability) – the first three being covered by the current project. The varieties would address, respectively, system stability; system resilience to stress from outer factors; the performance in managing the risks; and the penetrability to malicious action.
- In the trail of an established, domestic, research initiative, the interest and impact of which has been internationally confirmed over the past years, a sound and sufficient mathematical foundation was given to a generic QVA model drawing upon the Physics of cooperative phenomena, and addressing the ‘structural vulnerability’ (the acronym QVA – for ‘Quantitative Vulnerability Assessment’ being coined by the authors).
- Turning to good acount a line of research that made headway in the Decision Analysis, known as the Analytic Hierarchy Process (Saaty et al.), an innovative development was given to a couple of particular representations of the latter that were tabled by the Scandinavian school of thought in Risk Analysis, having as result ‘the Relevance Index Method’, and the ‘Hierarchic Evaluation Matrix Method’, with original implementations of these in several fields.
- An integrative, open software platform was designed and effectively incepted under the name ‘QVA – Essays in Quantitative Vulnerability Analysis’, to accommodate model implementations, as well as multimedia data and knowledge libraries and a geographical information system (GIS) that appeared as necessay I/O (input/output) requisites in an effective vulnerability assessment. Working demonstrations of the models described are currently operated on the platform.
The year 2006 – Phase 4
- The tritium modeling has seen a wrap-up of the basic principles of the aquatic radio-ecology that are relevant for the topic.
- A review on the species of fish that were employed in radioecological modeling was performed, with special emphasis on Danube species under current conditions.
- The archtypal trophic chain that would feature the radiological assessment of a tritium discharge into the Danube river was determined and defined.
- The initial model was upgraded to include aquatic plants, the zoobenthos, and the feedstock of predator fish species. The model stands among the first initiatives to realistically assess the Tritium transfer in the aquatic trophic chains, featuring the conversion to organically-bound tritium (OBT) and the evaluation of the biologically-relevant times, and drawing upon sound bioenergy-related and metabolic principles.
The Year 2006 – Phase 5:
- A software module code-named FDHYTRI was developed, dedicated to Tritium impact assessment in aquatic environments, and meant for integration with RODOS (Real-Time Online Decision Support System for the Management of Nuclear Emergencies in Europe – an EU project).
- A fulltime phase has targeted the effective RODOS integration, of FDHYTRI.
- A comprehensive investigation of the consequences of a virtual accidental Tritium discharge into the Danube river, from the nuclear power plant at Cernavoda, has been conducted. The results are intended to consolidate and upgrade the application of the RODOS system in the Romanian context – targeting Tritium as the outstanding specificity. The way it is designed, the model is expected to work well in Cernavoda emergency drills.
The Year 2006 – Phase 6:
- The investigations in the field of heavy metal environmental contamination have seen the definition of a monitoring network in tune with the pedoclimatic specificity of the country.
- The areas of paramount interest in respect with the heavy metal environmental burden have been identified.
- A database and a monitoring schedule for periodic investigations were developed.
- Maps of relevant bioindicators were drafted.
Selective results were hosted by the European Atlas of heavy metal environmental dispersion. The research as conducted stands for the first nation-wide topical study that has seen its results assimilated in referenced, authoritative international documentation.

1.  (2005-12-12)
2.  (2006-02-28)
3.  (2006-05-25)
4.  (2006-08-10)
5.  (2006-10-30)
6.  (2006-12-10)
7.  (2007-02-15)
8.  (2007-04-25)
9.  (2007-06-15)
10.  (2007-08-10)
11.  (2008-03-10)
12.  (2008-09-30)

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