Khazar (formerly Cheleken) is a town of 10 000 people (once 16 000), located on the Cheleken peninsula on the Caspian shore. Iron bromide (FeBr2) production started at the Cheleken plant in 1940, followed by iodine production in 1976. The production capacity of the plant is about 250 tonnes of iodine a year. The natural water (brine) found here contains radioactive elements. During iodine processing, with the coal-absorption method, radionuclides (mostly Ra) in the brine are deposited on the surface of pipes and equipment, and in the coal used in the process itself. About 18 000 tonnes of radioactive waste have accumulated and are now deposited in an open storage area less than 200 metres from the sea.
From collection: Vital Caspian Graphics 2 - Opportunities, Aspirations and Challenges, 2012
Riccardo Pravettoni, GRID-Arendal