Additional program for the environmental monitoring of Konrad
Farmers in the catchment area of the Konrad mine are concerned about the possible radiological contamination of their agricultural products. Therefore, the Federal Office for Radiation Protection has installed additional environmental monitoring equipment for the Konrad mine already before the mine is into operation as a repository.
It will still take some years until the Konrad repository will be taken into operation. Based on legal requirements, the vicinity of the Konrad mine needs to be monitored two years before the first radioactive waste will reach the repository. However, on request of the Lower Saxony Regional Farmers' Association, the BfS has already now taken up environmental monitoring.
Control of exhaust air, waste water and plants
This way, all discharges are measured and controlled already before the Konrad mine will be taken into operation as a repository. This provides the "Guideline concerning Emission and Immission Monitoring of Nuclear Installations" (REI). Not only is waste water sampled and measured but also the exhaust air from the shaft and plants growing near the mine. This is done by the operator and additionally by an independent measuring institution. Thus, the actual radiation level can be determined over corresponding reference values.
Samples taken within a radius of 10 kilometres
The Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) has commissioned the IAF – Radioökologie GmbH, a laboratory for radionuclide analytics and consulting, with the external analysis of the samples. The complementary measurement programme includes the examination of samples taken from an area within a radius of 10 km around the future repository. The examination of soil, grass, crop, milk, vegetables, fruit, water and air is required by law. Furthermore, the IAF also analyses corn, oil seeds, sugar beets, leaves/needles and woodruff. Thus, 195 samples are evaluated by the independent IAF measuring laboratory, in addition to the 52 samples per year required according to REI. The samples themselves are taken by the Nuclear Control & Consulting GmbH (NCC). In order to be able to compare the results of the samples, reference measuring points were set up at the same time at a distance of ca. 60 kilometres, at the Drömling situated to the east of Wolfsburg.
Examination of 247 samples taken in different seasons
The Laboratory for Radioanalytics examined altogether 247 samples in the months of January, May, July and September/October. Some samples were taken at several times over the year, such as soil or meadow vegetation. Others such as oil seeds or vegetables were taken during the time of harvesting in July. Products such as sugar beets, corn, fruit or crop were harvested in September/October.
Searching for artificial radionuclides
The objective is to detect possibly occurring artificial radionuclides (such as tritium, cobalt-60, strontium-90, caesium-134, caesium-137 and iodine-131) that are e. g. generated in a nuclear reactor. Apart from the artificial radionuclides there is a number of naturally occurring radionuclides taken up daily, e.g. with the food.
State of 2016.04.01