Kara Sea Project

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Kara Sea Project


Transport and dispersion of artificial radioactivity in the Arctic Ocean (1995 - 1998)

The Kara Sea Project was a joint Project of the Institut für Meereskunde, Universität Hamburg (IfM) and the Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie (BSH). The project was funded by the Minister of Education, Research, Science and Technology (BMBF).

In 1994, a German project was initiated in order to estimate the dangers which could possibly result from the radioactive waste that had been dumped by the former USSR into the Kara Sea. Therefore, the transport and the dispersion of radioactivity in the Arctic Ocean was investigated in order to find out, if this radioactivity could contaminate not only the Barents Sea itself , but also the Northern Atlantic or even the North Sea. Modelling groups at BSH and the IfM studied the circulation and transport in the sea aereas in question by using possible transport and dispersion of artificial radioactivity from the Kara sea numerical computer models These models simulate the dispersion of radioactive substances out of the Kara Sea and potential pathways from the Arctic Ocean into the Northern Atlantic in case of a release.

In addition, radionuclide concentrations in sea water and sediments were measured in these sea aereas, and their possible sources were identified. On one hand, the analytical results were used as primary input data for the models, and on the other hand as a mean for the verification and the valuation of the modelling results.

In parallel, a sedimentological sub-project was raised at GEOMAR in Kiel, in order to evaluate the role of sea ice in large scale distribution of radionuclides.

The results of this project are summarised in "Transportmechanismen radioaktiver Substanzen im Arktischen Ozean", Berichte des Bundesamtes für Seeschiffahrt und Hydrographie, Nr. 21, 1999, (Abstract). Download complete Report (in German) including figures (5,2 MB !!)

Results of the hydrodynamic models (animated graphics):

Simulated discharge of radionuclides from nuclear dumping sites near the coast of Novaja Zemlya 185 KB.

Dispersion of the real discharge of the Sellafield reprocessing plant to the Arctic Seas 449 KB.

Further publications:

I.H. Harms: Modelling the dispersion of 137Cs and 239Pu released from dumped waste in the Kara Sea. J. Mar. Systems, Vol. 13, 1-19 (1997).

I.H. Harms, M.J. Karcher: Strahlende Stömung. GEO Heft 10, Okt. 1997.

H. Nies, C. Bahe, D. Dethleff, I.H. Harms, M.J. Karcher, E. Kleine: Transport and Dispersion of Artificial Radioactivity in the Arctic Ocean, Radioprotection - Colloques, Vol. 32, C2, 407-416 (1997).

H. Nies, I.H. Harms, M.J. Karcher, D. Dethleff, C. Bahe et al: Anthropogenic Radioactivity in the Nordic Seas, Dt. hydrogr. Z., Vol. 50, 4, 313-343 (1998).

I. Harms, P.P. Povinec: The outflow of radionuclides from Novaja Zemlya bays, The Science of the Total Environment, 237/238, 193-201 (1999).

J. Herrmann, H. Nies, I. Goroncy: Plutonium in the Deep Layers of the Norwegian and Greenland Seas, Radiation Protection Dosimetry, Vol. 75 (1-4), pp. 237-245 (1998).

H. Nies, I.H. Harms, M.J. Karcher, D. Dethleff, C. Bahe: Anthropogenic radioactivity in the Arctic Ocean, The Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 237/238, 181-191 (1999).

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