The Institute of Radiation Safety and Ecology (IRSE) is located in Kurchatov city and is a branch of the Republican State Enterprise “National Nuclear Center of the Republic of Kazakhstan (RSE NNC RK). The total area of the Institute is about 21 hectares. The Institute is currently located in the territory of the former sector of military unit 52605 and deployed in five laboratory and four administrative buildings.
The main scientific line of the Institute’s activity is comprehensive research into the former Semipalatinsk Test Site (STS), development and implementation of measures for securing the radioecological situation in the STS and adjacent territories.
Strategic areas of the Institute’s activity are:
- ensuring safe conditions of venues of nuclear tests conducted in RK, drastic solution to problems of the former Semipalatinsk Test Site and other places of nuclear testing;
- establishing and providing a scientific and technical support for the personnel and RK population doses state system of accounting and inspection in order to ensure a sustainable reduction in doses for the country’s population;
- establishing and developing the state monitoring system of radiation-hazardous RK sites for the purpose of providing state authorities and the population with up-to-date information on the state of radiation-hazardous site of RK;
- implementing measures for securing radiation-hazardous sites in rk.
- the personnel strength of the Institute is 290 staff members, of them – 12 Candidates of Sciences, 38 graduate students, 198 research specialists, of who 161 employees with university degrees.
The Institute of Radiation Safety and Ecology has the following licenses for:
- handling radioactive waste including collection, sorting, storage, disposal, radiation rehabilitation, remediation of areas and sites as well as decontamination of premises, equipment and materials;
- handling radioactive substances, instruments and facilities containing radioactive substances including storage and utilization of radioactive substances, instruments and facilities containing radioactive substances;
- handling nuclear materials including storage and utilization of nuclear material;
- handling instruments and facilities that generate ionizing radiation;
- transporting including transit, nuclear materials, radioactive substances, radioisotope sources of ionizing radiation (SIR), radioactive waste within the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan;
- activities related to stages of operational lifetime of atomic energy facilities including аwork and project management when deploying, constructing, decommissioning and operating nuclear facilities, repositories of radioactive waste;
- providing services in atomic energy application including determination of radionuclide content in foodstuffs, materials, environmental sites, measurement of radon concentration;
- individual dosimetric monitoring of personnel;
- inspecting SIR operating quality as well as that of instruments, equipment, and facilities;
- radiation monitoring of areas, premises, workplaces, merchandise and materials;
- activities in territories of the former nuclear test sites contaminated due to nuclear blasts;
- physical protection of nuclear facilities and nuclear materials;
- engaging in special training of personnel who are in charge of nuclear and radiation safety. Institute’s laboratories are certified for conducting radiation, radiochemical and spectrometric tests including determination of the content of radioactive substances in various sites including tests of soil, water, building materials, raw wood, vegetation, radioactive fallout and aerosols, products of food and agricultural industry;
- performing measurements (tests) of ground and surface water; measuring a dose rate of X-rays and γ-rays, flux density of β-particles emitted by the surface contaminated with radioactive substances with required precision;
- testing soil, water products of food and agricultural industry, vegetation, building materials for activity concentrations oа α-, β-, γ-emitting radionuclides.
The Institute actively cooperates both with republican and international organizations: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), International Science and Technology Center (ISTC), NATO, research laboratories in the USA and Institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) and others.
Scientific findings are annually reported at Republican and International scientific and practical conferences, workshops on radioecology and radiobiology problems. 8 International conferences “Semipalatinsk Test Site. Radiation legacy and non-proliferation problems”, “Semipalatinsk Test Site: legacy and development prospects”, “Semipalatinsk Test Site: legacy and prospects for developing scientific and technical capacity” were held on the Institute’s basis. Staff members of the Institute delivered 125 oral and 112 poster presentations.
The enterprise performs the following functions:
- duly performs tasks under republican scientific and technical and other budget programs; performs the work on its core activity based on contracts and agreements concluded with national and foreign organizations;
- plans, arranges and implements a range of scientific and technical works and technological developments on the main lines of the Enterprise activity;
- coordinates issues of implementing methods and technologies developed by the Enterprise with the Parent enterprise, scientific research institutions and industrial enterprises of the Republic in the interests of science and national economy of the Republic of Kazakhstan;
- provides training of personnel on core lines of the Enterprise activity; renders assistance to other institutions of the Republic in training such specialists;
- develops and implements an action plan (search for partners, marketing studies, designing projects involving scientific and technical unit of the Enterprise), aimed at concluding contracts with national and foreign organizations on scientific research and other types of works according to the Enterprise’s main line;
- carries out economic activity aimed at developing the main lines of activity and solving social and economic issues of the Enterprise jointly with concerned organizations;
- duly issues scientific proceedings, guidance, information and other materials; holds workshops, meetings, conferences on the main lines of the Enterprise’s scientific and production activities.