The accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine in April 1986 demonstrated the need for adequate radiation early warning systems that allow authorities to take appropriate and timely actions in the event of a major radiological accident.
In 1991 the National Governments of Belarus and Ukraine independently approached the European Commission seeking assistance in establishing new radiological early warning systems in these countries. The European Commission launched the Gamma-1 project under the TACIS Programme, which was implemented in three phases.
Phase 1 was the Feasibility Study, which was contracted to PA Consulting Group in October 1992 (contract 21725). The aim was to assess the feasibility of establishing the new early warning systems, reviewing technical functionality and organizational operation.
The Feasibility Study recommended the establishment of an extensive radiological early warning network known as the ‘Gamma-Curtain’ initially installed in Belarus and Ukraine but eventually being extended to other countries, spanning the Baltic to the Black Sea. The Gamma-Curtain vision would provide for radiological detection at Nuclear Power Plants, Population Centres and throughout broader National Networks. The system would provide for detection at priority NPPs in Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania and Russia and afford EU countries with early warning in the event of a major accident.
Phase 2 of the Gamma-1 project was the Technical Design Study for a Pilot Radiation Early Warning System for implementation within the republics of Belarus and Ukraine. The system comprised early warning systems around Rivne, Zaporizhya and Ignalina Power Stations (see Figure 1 in attached document) including Regional and Local Response Centres and full National Response Centres in Kiev and Minsk, as shown in Figure 2. The objectives were to prepare the detailed design of the system along with the Technical Specifications for procurement of the required equipment.
The Technical Design Study was implemented through two contracts, one with the main consultant, which was again PA Consulting Group (contract 22111), and the other with the Radiation Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII – contract 22126), which was contracted to provide an expert to PA Consulting to assist in the design of the pilot system.
Phase 3 of the project was the supply and on-site installation of the pilot system. This phase was implemented through three contracts. The first two contracts were placed again with PA Consulting Group (contract 22613) along with the same expert of the RPII (contract 22732), who together formed a Project and Technical Management Unit for the project implementation. The third contract was with SEMA Group (later Atos Origin – contract 22579) who acted as procurement agent for the European Commission, applying the EC procedures and performing contract negotiations, contracting and contract management. SEMA placed the contract for the equipment supply with Hörmann Systemtechnik.
The system provides for high density Gamma-dose rate monitoring systems around NPPs.
The Gamma-1 Network for Rivne power station (see Figure 1), comprises gamma-dose rate monitoring stations (27 around Rivne NPP, 11 around Zaporozhe NPP and 9 around Ignalina NPP), within1-30 km of the Power Plant. In addition, α/β Aerosol systems are provided for local population centres to afford especially sensitive, fast response detection. Gamma water sensors are employed for detection of waterborne releases. In addition the Gamma-1 system provides for 4 Mobile Response Vehicles, (MRVs) each able to deploy Sentinel Gamma-dose rate stations. These vehicles provide for tracking radiation plumes and as a basis for routine maintenance and background monitoring work. The MRVs will be deployed at NPPs and around National Centres. The networks at the NPPs are connected by radio link to Regional and Local Response Centres which communicate with National Centres in Kiev and Minsk.
The managers of the systems in each country were Glavhydromet the Committee for Hydrometrology (MINEERCOM) in Belarus and Ministry of Environmental Protection and Nuclear Safety (MEPNS) in Ukraine.
The aim of this project (contract 22579) was to act as Procurement Agent, on behalf of the European Commission, for the procurement of the equipment required to establish the Pilot Radiation Early Warning System in the republics of Belarus and Ukraine (see above).
The duties of the Procurement Agent included:
- Organisation of the invitation to Tender, evaluation of tenders, tender negotiations and award of contract;
- Contract management;
- Verification of satisfactory delivery;
- Payment of invoices.
The contract for the Procurement Agent was awarded to SEMA (later Atos Origin). The company Hörmann Systemtechnik was selected as equipment supplier for the pilot system.
The Procurement Agent contract was signed in June 1994.
Factory Acceptance Tests (FAT) and Integrated factory Acceptance Tests (IFAT) were performed in August 1995 and April 1996, respectively.
Site Acceptance Tests in Ukraine and Belarus, leading to signature of the Provisional Acceptance Certificates (PAC) were completed in September 1996.
The GAMMA-1 system as installed consists of the following components:
- Minsk National Centre, comprising the Response Centre and Monitoring Centre, all housed at the Headquarters of Belgydromet, linked by 4-wire leased communication channel to Braslav Local Response Centre.
- Braslav Local Response Centre (LRC), located in an incident room at Braslav Hospital, is staffed by 3 shifts, 24 hours a day.
- 9 gamma-dose rate detectors (model IGS 421) plus an automatic weather station are located within 30 km of Ignalina NPP, which is 30 km from Braslav. All are connected to the LRC by radio links operating at 154 Mhz.
- 2 response and support vehicles with 4 moveable "sentinel" monitoring stations plus ancillary monitoring equipment.
- All processing centres use 90MHz Pentium based servers and workstations configured for maximum resilience and usability. Software is based on standard Microsoft packages (MSOffice, SQL Server) as well as specific applications.
- Kiev National Centre, housed at the Headquarters of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Nuclear Safety (MEPNS) "Crisis Centre", alongside in-plant monitoring systems connected directly to the NPPs. This centre is linked by 4-wire leased lines to two Local Response Centres (LRCs), located in the regional capitals of Rivne and Zaporizhya, each providing 24 hour surveillance of the situation.
- 11 gamma-dose rate detectors (model IGS 421) plus an automatic weather station are located within 30 km of Zaporizhya NPP, on the southern side of the Dniepr. All are connected to the LRC by radio links operating at 154 Mhz. This is transmitted the 80 km by a single long range repeater station, located high on a television transmitting mast.
- Around of Rivne NPP, at ranges of 2-30 km, are located 27 gamma-dose rate detectors (model IGS 421) plus an automatic weather station. In addition, an alpha-beta aerosol detector is installed in central Kuznetsovsk at a high location facing Rivne NPP. A gamma water monitor is located in a special purpose building on the banks of the river Styr to monitor activity in the river. All stations are connected by radio links initially to a central polling station at Kuznetsovsk and then to the LRC in Rivne 100 km to the south via a long-range radio link.
- A response and support vehicle with 2 moveable "sentinel" monitoring stations plus ancillary monitoring equipment is located at both Zaporizhya and Rivne Centres.