Radioactivity measurements on Sakhalin

In June 2011, RIKILT Wageningen UR placed a Mobile Radiation Monitoring System on the Russian island of Sakhalin. The device measured gamma radiation in water and food.

Just off the coast, northeast of the island, the offshore company Van Oord has layed the pipes from undersea gas fields to the coast within the Arkutun-Dagi Field Development Project.

After the earthquake and tsunami in Japan a nuclear disaster followed in Fukushima. Van Oord’s staff at Sakhalin worried about possible radioactive contamination. Their concerns focused, among others, on food and sea water that is treated for drinking water on the ship. Van Oord addressed the concerns of its staff and has contacted the Nuclear Research and Consultancy Group of The Netherlands. This company has subsequently asked RIKILT Wageningen UR to utilise its technical knowledge on measuring radiation and locate a Mobile Radiation Monitoring System in Yuzhno-Sakhalin. In consultation with the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs the project was started.

Joop Weseman, radiation expert RIKILT Wageningen UR, has trained the staff of Van Oord to carry out measurements with the device and contamination monitors. The equipment stayed on the island from June to the end of October 2011 and measured sea water, fresh water, drinking water and fruit and fish samples. The results were sent by email from Yuzhno-Sakhalin to RIKILT Wageningen UR for further assessment. RIKILT Wageningen UR was involved until the end of the project to regularly advise on the detected results which were reported weekly for policy purposes and the crew on the ship.


During the project none of the samples showed contamination levels above the international norms.