ANTHROPIC: Assessment of climate change's impacts on radioecological safety of subpolar and Nordic marine environment
NKS-B Research Area
Radioecology and environmental assessments
For the sake of radioecological safety in the Nordic marine environment, great efforts have been dedicated to investigations of the transport and bioaccumulation of radionuclides from well-documented sources (e.g., nuclear weapon testing, nuclear reprocessing plants, and Chernobyl accident) or hypothetical accidents of the nuclear reactors and nuclear-powered vessels. However, intensifying energy crises with aging nuclear power plants and ongoing geopolitical tensions with nuclear weapon threats pose tremendous risks to the safety of the Nordic marine environment. In addition, climate change further complicates these crises. Due to the ongoing amplified ocean warming and the accompanying sea-ice loss and surface freshening in the Arctic Ocean and the Nordic Seas, the hydrology and circulation in the Nordic Seas and subpolar North Atlantic are subjected to fundamental changes. The spreading of radionuclides in the Nordic Seas with a changing climate and its impacts on the subpolar and Nordic marine environment are largely missing in the literature. It is therefore crucial and timely to fill this knowledge gap by projecting the future dispersion mode (e.g. transport pathway, transit time, and dilution rate) of radionuclides from authorised or accidental releases into the Nordic Seas under well-defined climate change scenarios.
In the project, we are aiming to use the state-of-the-art Norwegian Earth System Model (NorESM) to project the future dispersion patterns of radionuclides in the North Atlantic-Arctic Ocean and to assess the associated radioecological risks with the consideration of different climate change scenarios and potential sources of radioactive contaminants defined by the end users, i.e. Nordic nuclear safety authorities. The outcome of this project will improve our knowledge of future (radioactive) pollutant dynamics in the North Atlantic and will provide practical experiences to the Nordic authorities and institutes for better nuclear preparedness and radioecological assessment in the future. In addition to the expected scientific outcome of the project, an interdisciplinary network will be established, connecting the Nordic nuclear safety authorities and institutes, numerical-modelling groups, and ocean-observation laboratories.