CENS role: Project Coordinator
Executor department: RD CENS
Duration (Years): 2018 - 2020
Funding Source: Science Committee of The Ministry of Education and Science of Armenia

In 2015 radioecological monitoring was launched by the Center for Ecological-Noosphere Studies (CENS) of NAS, Armenia. The territory of present-day Armenia plays a key part in migration of naturally occurring radionuclides and long-lived fusion products in South Caucasus region due to its geographical position, unique geographic features. Hypsometrically, as compared with the rest of the South Caucasian countries, Armenia is positioned at the highest elevation and numerous tributaries of transboundary Rivers Kura and Araks originate from Armenian Highlands. Development of atomic energy and nuclear technologies in the region, continuous military actions and the terrorism threat in the Middle East determine essentiality of continuous monitoring of radionuclides in Armenia as an essential component of national security.

The Phase I of this initiative supported by State committee of science to the Ministry of Education and Science RA within the frame of research grand #15T-1E061 “Radioecological Monitoring in the Area of the Republic of Armenia – REMA”, 2015-2017.  The overall goal of this research was revealing peculiarities of radionuclide contents from atmospheric depositions, levels of accumulation in soils and plants, and distribution by altitudinal belts of Aragats massif, the highest point of Armenia (4090 m). As a result of two-years studies monitoring network was established on the Aragats massif, the distribution patterns of artificial 137Cs and naturally occurring terrestrial 238U, 232Th, 40K, and cosmogenic 7Be in environment were revealed, related human health risk was assessed. New understanding of 137Cs distribution from historic nuclear test and reactor accident fallout serves as essential information necessary to detect new inputs to the environment, and serves as the basis for an early warning system for radiation safety in Armenia.

The aim of REMA II (Scientific Committee grand #18T-1E311 “Radioecological Мonitoring in Armenia: Phase II) is the implementation of the radioecological monitoring network by altitudinal belts in main mountain ridges and massifs in Armenia where incoming air masses are discharging. Main expected results of REMA Phase II is assessment of background and baseline activities of naturally occurring and artificial radionuclides in soils by altitudinal belts and bottom sediments and/or floodplain soils of rivers originating from main watershed ridges. Comprehensive evaluation of transboundary radioactive pollution level using bioindicators (mosses) is also expected.