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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 January 2023

Mykhailo Buzynnyi*
SE Marzieiev Institute of Public Health Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine, 50 Popudrenko str., Kyiv, 02094, Ukraine
Oleksandr Romanenko
Rivne Nuclear Power Plant, National Nuclear Energy Generating Company “Energoatom”, Varash City, Rivne Oblast, 34400, Ukraine
Liubov Mykhailova
SE Marzieiev Institute of Public Health Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine, 50 Popudrenko str., Kyiv, 02094, Ukraine
Alla Lytvynko
G.M.Dobrov Institute for Scientific and Technological Potential and Science History Studies NAS of Ukraine, 60, T. Shevchenko blvd., Kyiv, 01032, Ukraine
Mykola Panasiuk
Institute of Safety Problems of Nuclear Power Plants NAS of Ukraine, 12 Lysohirska St, Kyiv, 02000, Ukraine
*Corresponding author. Email:


The aim of this study was a comparative retrospective assessment of radiocarbon (14C) as a tracer, caused by operational emissions of Rivne and Chornobyl nuclear power plants (NPPs), which are equipped with different types of nuclear reactors. For this purpose, 14C was studied in annual tree rings of pine taken at a distance of 1.5 km southwest of the Rivne NPP and at a distance of 3.5 km west-northwest of the Chornobyl NPP, near the Yaniv railway station. As a background, we use the 14C in air data (Hua et al. 2013), which we continue for time interval 2009–2020 with our experimental data for pine tree rings. Tree rings were also collected in a rural area 60 km west of Kyiv, where industrial impact, in our opinion, is absent. 14C in wood samples was determined using the conventional method based on liquid scintillation counting. It was found that the 14C excess in the annual tree-ring samples of pine near the Chornobyl NPP during the observed operation period (1984–2000) was 3.0–13.0 pMC, except for the 1986, the year of the Chornobyl accident, when the 14C value rose sharply to 182.7 pMC (14C excess 62 pMC). After 2000, the content of 14C in the air near the Chornobyl nuclear power plant did not exceed the background values within the uncertainty of the measured data. The concentration of 14C in the samples of annual tree rings of pine near the Rivne NPP for the observation period (1986–2019) corresponded to the background levels within the uncertainty of the measured data. The study of environmental traces of 14C emissions from two NPPs equipped with different types of reactors showed significantly lower emissions of Rivne NPP with VVER compared with emissions from Chornobyl NPP with RBMK reactors.

Research Article
© The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press for the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona

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