Previous discharges of radioactivity from Mayak Production Association plant in Urals, Russia have resulted in considerable radionuclide contamination of the Techa River, and consequent high radiation doses during the late 1940s and 1950s to residents of villages along the Techa River. The most contaminated villages were evacuated in the period 1954 - 1962.
The aim of the SOUL project was to quantify risks of late health effects associated with low-dose rate exposure to plutonium, strontium and external gamma radiation. This was done by improving, updating and analysing dosimetric and health data for the Mayak worker cohort (MWC), the extended Techa River cohort (ETRC) and the Techa River offspring cohort (TROC).
Although SOUL was expected to give significant input to the understanding of radiation risks, Southern Urals radiation risk research had to be continued beyond the project mainly because a longer follow-up is needed to fully quantify lifetime risks. Part of the work in SOUL was dedicated to supporting such future analyses.
A large part of the funds requested was allocated for emerging and existing gaps within the Southern Urals radiation risk research.
SOUL was an integrated, multi-disciplinary project with an active participation of dosimetrists, operational health physicists, statisticians and epidemiologists. The research was fully coordinated with work being carried out in the Russian-American collaboration.