Radiation Protection in Former Yugoslavia and Serbia and Montenegro and Health Physics Society

M.M. Ninkovic (Institute of Nuclear Sciences - Vinca, Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro)

In this presentation some data and facts about support and knowledge that people, working on radiation protection problems in former Yugoslavia and now Serbia and Montenegro, had obtained from many members of Health Physics Society, will be described. Development of radiation protection has been tightly connected with nuclear reactor construction in former Yugoslavia. The first, a zero power RB nuclear research reactor was designed at the Vinca Institute and put into operation in May 1958. Unfortunately, six months later an accident, known as "VINCA- accident", took place. It was a warning that radiation protection should be considered more seriously. A few months after accident, the Management of Vinca Institute appointed a group of young researchers which was given a task to deal with radiation protection professionally, i.e. solely. The key problem after the accident was how to estimate individual doses received by the exposure victims. For the purpose, an international dosimetry experiment on the RB reactor was conceived under auspices of the IAEA. Among foreign scientists and experts in radiation protection fields, participated in the experiment, there was an Oak Ridge dosimetry group leading by Professor K.Z. Morgan. That was a first case of support coming from Health Physics Society Members to resolving actual radiation protection problem in that moment in former Yugoslavia. Activities in radiation protection field in former Yugoslavia diversified greatly in the beginning of 60s. As a result the first Yugoslav Radiation Protection Symposia was organized in October 1963. During the Symposium Former Yugoslav Radiation Protection Association was founded, eight years after Health Physics Society and a year before IRPA was organized. During 70s, four Summer Schools in radiation protection were organized in former Yugoslavia by Vinca Radiation Protection Laboratory. Many invited lecturers were members of Health Physics Society, like Professor K.Z. Morgan, as president of Scientific Committee and spiritual father of Summer Schools, W.S. Snyder and others. The chaos reigned in the world after the Chernobyl accident did not spare us in former Yugoslavia. Despite all kinds of difficulties, continuous measurements of the development of the gamma radiation level on Belgrade region during the active phase of accident were made. It was possible because of more than 12 years experience in using RSS-111 high-pressure-filled ionization chamber. First information concerning this, today well known and excellent instrument, came to Vinca Institute from a presentation given by L.M.Hairr et all., at 18th Annual Health Physics Society Meeting, Miami Beach, June 17-21, 1973. In this time principal occupation of radiation protection community in the Serbia and Montenegro, is in decommission of the heavy water research RA reactor at Vinca Institute. One of the most actual problems in this task is preparing for shipment, from Vinca to Russia, spent nuclear fuel. For resolving this problem it was obtained, among others, significant support from some active Health Physics Society members.

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