The Southern Urals Biophysics Institute (former Branch No. 1 of Biophysics Institute) was established in 1953. Its major research objective is investigation of medical-biological issues related to operation of the first Russian nuclear facility, Mayak PA. SUBI comprises four departments: Clinical, Radiobiological, Dosimetry and Radiation Safety. Research is focused on (1) assessment of cancer and non-cancer effects of occupational and technogenic radiation exposures; (2) assessment of deterministic effects such as chronic radiation sickness and plutonium pneumosclerosis for occupationally exposed workers to develop the dose response and dose rate-response models, and identify thresholds; (3) monitoring of internal exposure to internally deposited radionuclides, especially Pu, Am and Sr, for the Mayak workers and general population, with assessment of individual doses and uncertainties; (4) bioindication and biodosimetry of chronic radiation exposure and identification of markers for radiationinduced cancers. Currently SUBI employs 6 ScD and 36 PhD holders, 20 of whom are senior scientists. SUBI takes an active part in the international research cooperation. It has been involved in all projects of Direction 2 (studies of the Mayak workers) under the Joint Coordinating Committee for Radiation Effects Research (JCCRER) in the framework of US-Russian Intergovernmental Agreement funded by Department of Energy (US DOE), and projects funded by European Commission (particularly SOUL under FP6), National Cancer Institute (NCI, USA) and Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF, Japan).
SUBI has the following resources:
(1) Medical-Dosimetry Register of Mayak workers comprising a cohort of workers first employed at the main facilities in 1948-1982 (25,000 individuals);
(2) The Clinic Medical-Dosimetry Database (78,000 individuals);
(3) Cause-of-Death Register of Ozyorsk residents (26,000 death certificates);
(4) Childhood Exposure Register (80,000 residents of Ozyorsk exposed in childhood due to atmospheric releases from the Mayak PA);
(5) Dosimetry Database linked with the follow-up of Mayak workers exposed to plutonium with various exposure scenarios, including wound contamination. The data sources are urinary and fecal bioassays for individual workers, in vivo measurements (>10,000 workers), and post-mortem radiochemical detection of plutonium in tissues of about 1,000 workers;
(6) Archive of Primary Medical Records (medical records and case histories) from the full-scale medical follow-up of workers employed in the first days of Mayak operation; (7) Radiobiological Repository, where tissues from the deceased Mayak workers and biological material (blood and its components, buccal cells, surgical tumour dissections) from the living workers and their offspring are stored.