Southern Urals Radiation Risk Research - the aim of this project was to study the risk of cancer in individuals exposed to ionizing radiation as children and the risk of cardiovascular disorders in individuals exposed as adults.

Project description

In the late 1940s, the Soviet Union started their nuclear project aimed at delivering an atomic bomb within a few years. Enrichment of uranium was conducted in the closed city of Ozyrsk in the southern part of the Ural Mountain. During most of the 1950s, radioactive waste was released into the Techa River, severely contaminating the water and river banks. For individuals living along the river, detailed information on health and vital status and cause of death has been gathered since the early 1950s. Information is stored at the Urals Research Centre for Radiation Medicine, Chelyabinsk. Detailed notifications of radio nuclides released into the water were kept in Ozyorsk. A large international consortium, including representatives from Japan, the US, and the European Union, evaluated the late adverse health effects associated with exposure to prolonged doses of ionizing radiation.

The overall aim of the project was to generate a Cause of Death Registry for those living by the contaminated Techa River. Instant cancers were also tracked as part of the project and the overall aim was to study the radiation associated cancer risks. There was several adjacent projects funded by other institutions, such as the National Cancer Institute, that focused on dosimetry, residency and time spent in the river area.

Project period: 1996-2009
Main financing: The European Commission, 6th framework programme, EURATOM

Project leader for the Swedish part

Per Hall

Professor/senior physician


Peter Jacob, Coordinator of SOUL, GSF - National Research Center for Environment and Health

Alexander Akleyev, Professor, Urals Research Centre for Radiation Medicine, Chelyabinsk, Russia


Mortality in the offspring of individuals living along the radioactively contaminated Techa River: a descriptive analysis.
Kossenko MM, Ostroumova Y, Akleyev A, Startsev N, Degteva M, Granath F, et al
Radiat Environ Biophys 2000 Dec;39(4):219-25

Cause-of-death registers in radiation-contaminated areas of the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan.
Winkelmann RA, Tretyakov FD, Startsev NV, Kolyado IB, Gusev BI, Grosche B, et al
Radiat Environ Biophys 2002 Mar;41(1):5-11

Studies on the Ozyorsk population: health effects.
Koshurnikova NA, Mushkacheva GS, Shilnikova NS, Rabinovich EI, Petrushkina NP, Hall P, et al
Radiat Environ Biophys 2002 Mar;41(1):37-9

Studies on the Techa river offspring cohort: health effects.
Kossenko MM, Ostroumova E, Granath F, Hall P
Radiat Environ Biophys 2002 Mar;41(1):49-52

Ostroumova EV, Akleyev AV, Hall P. Cancer incidence among a cohort of subjects exposed to low-dose chronic radiation exposure in utero and after birth in the Techa River villages. Int J Radiation Med 2003;5:73-82.

Thyroid abnormalities associated with protracted childhood exposure to 131I from atmospheric emissions from the Mayak weapons facility in Russia.
Mushkacheva G, Rabinovich E, Privalov V, Povolotskaya S, Shorokhova V, Sokolova S, et al
Radiat. Res. 2006 Nov;166(5):715-22