Solutions to security concerns about the radioactive legacy of the cold war that remains in urban areas

Parker F, Novikov V, Kosson D, & Gorlinski Y (2004). Solutions to security concerns about the radioactive legacy of the cold war that remains in urban areas. In: "MagaCities" Workshop Proceedings.

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Abstract

Until now, assessment of the Global Nuclear Legacy has mostly focused on nuclear weapon production sites, as they contain the absolute majority of volume and activity of accumulated radioactive waste. These wastes have received detailed examination after the end of the Cold War. The production sites were generally built in unpopulated areas due to secrecy requirements and most of them remain in lightly populated areas. However, some of these sites are now in urban environments due to the growth in population and the industry attracted by such facilities.

Much of the Nuclear Legacy in what are now urban environments and densely populated areas was created by nuclear research, testing and educational centers between the 1940s- 1970s. Initially located in the suburbs of cities, they became a part of downtown as a result of growing urbanization. This legacy is less than 1% of the total amount of the nuclear legacy in countries with nuclear power plants. However, other factors, such as urban population density and proximity to operational or obsolete nuclear facilities, increase the importance of this legacy and even give priority in social considerations. Such nuclear facilities are not only a source of radioactive wastes that are often stored under inadequate conditions at the facility site, but also create dangerous targets as they have little or no protection against airplane crashes or missiles.

This legacy has only recently received the attention of environmental and anti-terrorist specialists and the local population. Obviously, there is not only a need to prevent direct impact on the population living in the vicinity of the waste disposal site and spent nuclear fuel storage, but also a need for rehabilitation and utilization of this valuable land for governmental and commercial purposes. The countries sharing similar problems of a nuclear legacy in an urban environment could benefit from sharing their experience and cooperating in this field. As a step in this direction, the International Institute for Applied System Analysis (Laxenburg, Austria) convened an International Workshop on problems and experience gained at rehabilitation of radioactively contaminated sites in urban environments before and after natural or man initiated mishaps.

The Workshop focused on how to remediate, how to ameliorate the consequences of security failures and in particular the problem of population growth around sensitive facilities. The purpose of the workshop is to look at security problems that have occurred in mega-cities. The workshop took place on the campus of Vanderbilt University during November 14-17, 2004.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
Research Programs: Radiation Safety of the Biosphere (RAD)
Bibliographic Reference: In:; "MagaCities" Workshop Proceedings; Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, USA 14-17 November 2004 [2004]
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 02:16
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2016 12:27
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/7336

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