ARL Weekly News – March 11, 2022

Recent Events

HYSPLIT team prepares for possible releases from Ukraine Nuclear Power Plants

Tianfeng Chai, Sonny Zinn, HyunCheol Kim and Mark Cohen have been working to establish a set of computational systems to be able to forecast impacts from potential releases from nuclear power plants (NPP’s) in Ukraine. No releases have been reported, and the work has only been hypothetical, in order to prepare systems in the event they might be needed, should releases of radionuclides occur.

ARL’s HYSPLIT model and forecast meteorological data from NOAA’s National Weather Service are the backbone of these computational systems. These preparations are designed to supplement the existing capability associated with the WMO Regional Specialized Meteorological Center (RSMC) for nuclear emergency response at NOAA. The new systems being developed and tested use the Transfer Coefficient Matrix methodology (Draxler and Rolph, 2012; Draxler et al., 2015) in which unit-emissions simulations are first carried out with the HYSPLIT model, and then, these simulations are combined with the estimated emissions from the event(s) to estimate downwind concentration, deposition, and exposure impacts. The advantage of this approach is that forecasts can be updated relatively quickly as new forecast data and/or new emissions data becomes available, without having to redo all of the simulations.

As mentioned, no releases of radionuclides from Ukraine NPP’s have been reported. The systems are being put in place are a precautionary measure so that forecasts can be provided if they are needed.