KIRAS Security Research



Successes and failures of large scale decontamination at Chernobyl will be documented and made accessible in a “Handbook of experiences” with the help of the then technical director of decontamination, DI Iouli and DI Irina Andreev. Experiences in technical, procedural, structural, organisational and legal issues will contribute to better plan for future nuclear ac-cidents, to save lives and protect the health of first helpers and decontaminators

Experience in radioactivity decontamination after large scale nuclear accidents is scarce, and little is known of what experience there is, as little information has transpired after the accidents at e.g. Kyshtym, Soviet Union, or the Palomares incident. These concerned military installations and operations, but even the efforts after Windscale (1957) or Chernobyl (1986) have never been systematically documented, analysed and published in the open literature.

A 10-volume summary of official Russian reports on the measures taken in Chernobyl has only recently been declassified.

After the accident at Chernobyl the engineer Iouli Andreev was appointed to various responsible positions in the context of technical decontamination. His wife, Irina Andreeva was development and research technician at Chernobyl and also responsible for technical standards.

Both are Austrian citizen since 1999 and have agreed to make their experience as well as their personal documentation available to be catalogued and analysed to contribute to better planning of decontamination activities and to save lives and protect the health of future decontaminators.

Although technological advances have been made since the Chernobyl accident, the practical experience gained in Chernobyl is still invaluable. Experience, not only in nuclear accidents, shows that decontamination and salvation methods and instruments developed in construction bureaus and labs and tested under drill conditions do by no means always prove effective in real emergency situations with the multitude of additional unforeseen and cascading problems that arise when large scale decontamination is called for.

Undoubtedly much could be learned from Fukushima experiences in the future, although at present it is more focussed on plans than on implementation experience. Thus it is still of paramount importance to make best use of the opportunity offering itself to document and analyse the Chernobyl experience. Extensive structured interviews with both Iouli Andeev and Irina Andreeva will be at the heart of the project, with preparatory work involving the analysis of earlier information provided by the Andreevs. Documents collected and brought to Vienna by the Andreevs, as well as books, articles and films published since then will be catalogued and analysed with their help with regard to decontamination methods. The expected output is a handbook of decontamination, as derived from the Chernobyl experience, with background documentation. The Convergent Interview Method is an ideal tool to take the discussions trough an narrative, rather exploratoryphase, then deepen the information by following up on information in external sources and with the interviewees, and, in a third phase, finalize the input to the handbook.

At the latest when the first draft of the handbook is available, interaction with Austrian and international decontamination experts will take place to familiarise them with the results and trigger discussions on comparisons of methods and elicit the experience of the Andreevs to assess possible difficulties to be encountered in serious large scale contamination scenarios.

Project leader:
Mag. Richard Kromp
Universität für Bodenkultur / Zentrum für Globalen Wandel und Nachhaltigkeit

Cooperation partner:
BMLVS/Landesverteidigungsakademie / Zentraldokumentation einschließlich ABC Abwehrschule

Mag. Richard Kromp
Universität für Bodenkultur / Zentrum für Globalen Wandel und Nachhaltigkeit
Borkowskigasse 4 Baracke 4, 1190 Wien
Tel: +43 (1) 47654 - 7708
E-Mail:  richard.kromp (at)