VLADIVOSTOK, September 25 (RIA Novosti) - Data collected by the Russian expedition which left Vladivostok for the Sea of Japan on Thursday to study the impact of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, will be used for ensuring the safe development of nuclear energy, Stanislav Shabelev, the head of the laboratory for radio-ecological safety at the Obninsk Institute for Nuclear Power Engineering, told journalists.
"Data collected is needed for the safe development of nuclear energy. It is a question of correct assessment of the behavior of the human-made radionuclides released into environment after the disaster at [the Fukushima-1] nuclear plant, after the measures to curb their spread have been taken," Shabelev said, noting that this information is very important for Russia's state-run nuclear agency Rosatom.
"This information will be useful for designing new atomic power plants and for their reconstruction to ensure radiation safety," Shabelev added.
Russian research vessel Professor Khlyustin left Vladivostok on Thursday for the Sea of Japan and the Kuril Islands to evaluate the consequences of the Fukushima-1 nuclear accident.
During the next 28 to 30 days, Professor Khlyustin will navigate through the Sea of Japan along the eastern coasts of the Kuril Islands. The expedition is being conducted under the auspices of the Russian Geographical Society. Specialists from the Russian Defense Ministry, Russian Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring (Rosgidromet), Russian consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor and Georgy Nevelsky Maritime State University are among its participants.
According to the head of the expedition, the State Oceanographic Institute's leading specialist Yury Lukyanov, the research will be conducted in international waters, outside Japan's 200-mile exclusive economic zone.
"This is the third expedition since the Fukushima accident. The first two were conducted in 2011 and 2012. As before, we will be monitoring environmental radiation levels in the regions, impacted by the accident at the Japanese nuclear plant," Lukyanov said.
"Our vessel is equipped with dosimeters, gamma spectrometers and other equipment, which is working constantly," Shabelev added.
According to Shabelev, the expedition will measure the levels of background radiation throughout its course and take samples of sea water and fish. The scientists will also take samples of soil, fresh water and sea bed sediments from the islands of Urup and Simushir.
The final results of the research conducted during the expedition, which will be open source, will be available in six months.
On March 2011, the Fukushima nuclear power plant was hit by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and a subsequent tsunami, which caused a partial meltdown of three of the plant's nuclear reactors. The radiation from the plant leaked into the atmosphere, soil and sea.
The incident is the world's worst nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl catastrophe of 1986. A complete reversal of its consequences is expected to take about 40 years.