BEO Moussala – Towards "Global Change – Mountain Environment" Interrelations

The Challenge of International Research Agenda



     Basic Environmental Observatory (BEO) – Moussala HistoryMoussalenski circus, Moussala peak, 2925 m.a.s.l.




    Summary of Major Activities in 1999

    Owners and users


    For contacts

1. Basic Environmental Observatory (BEO) – Moussala History

BEO Moussala was created at the end of 1999 by reconstruction of the old Cosmic Ray Laboratory of the Institute for Nuclear Research and Nuclear Energy -  Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, constructed in 1959 and burnt in 1984.Moussalenska Bistritza vally from Moussala peak

2. Location

Site characteristics: altitude: peak Moussala, 2925 m, Rila Mountain - the highest peak at the Balkans; geographical co-ordinates:  25°35¢E, 42°11¢N; mean temperature (annual): - 3.1 °C; temperature min: - 31 °C; temperature max: + 18.7 °C; precipitation (annual): 1300 mm; snow period: 8 months; wind velocity: 70 m/s; mean number of sunny days: 150 with large annual fluctuation; BEO is situated at the peak Moussala: in the middle of the Central Reserve of the Rila Mountain; mean annual number of visitors at the peak: more than 50000.
The BEO Moussala is located to the south of the Borovetz resort in the Samokov municipality. BEO is accessible by bus (car) from Sofia – 1 1/2h to Borovetz, then 30m by lift and finally 3 1/2 to 5h walking, depending on season.
The "Rila" National Park was proclaimed in 1992. It spreads on area of about 108000 ha.BEO Moussala, view from Sud-West
The specific geographic location, the vigorous geotectonic dynamics, the big paleogeographic changes in the past, the significant altitudes of the main ridge and the massive form of the Rila Mountain, the geological composition with predominating water impermeable silicate rocks and the corresponding soil cover, the clearly expressed global climatic differences at the place of opposed sub-Mediterranean and continental influence, the abundant surface flowing water making the mountain one of the richest in water mountains on the Balkan Peninsula - all these determine the extreme complexity and mosaic-like distribution of the animal and plant representatives and their communities, as well as the high degree of the present relict and endemic species that makes the Rila Mountain one of the most ancient and most important centres of species and ecosystem variety.Sunrise view from South-East side of BEO Moussala
The great concentration of cultural and historic monuments in the settlements, the orientation of local production towards natural resources, the impressive treasures of the forest fund, pastures, medicinal and fragrant herbs and fruits, the remarkable natural conditions for the development of tourism - especially of winter hiking and skiing and the modern forms of the eco- and rural tourism, are the main attributes of the future development of the region.
The Rila Mountain is an object of intensive tourism and sports and is a source of drinking water for about 1/4 of the population of the country. The region of the Moussala peak is unique as:

3. Facilities

BEO Moussala

BEO occupies 196.7 m2 with total area of 282 m2, and a volume of 970 m3. BEO consists of a main building containing living rooms for the basic staff (3 specialists) and temporary accommodation of about 15 expedition members, a kitchen, a dining room, storage area, visitor centre (24 m2) and three laboratories (40 m2), possibilities for detector with total effective area 120m2. BEO manages the basic technical infrastructure at the peak: the cargo lift, the drinking water supply system from the Ledeno Lake (pipes, pumps, etc.), the waste treatment facility and the energy supply system (cable supply and electric diesel generator).
Monitoring station (MS) at the Alinitza valley environmental reference point
MS Alinitza is situated in the Central Rila Reserve near the Levi Iskar River valley: altitude 1750 m, geographical co-ordinates 23°34'E and 42°08'N. It occupies an area of 20 m2 (total area 40m2) with short time accommodation possibility for maximum 10 people.

4. Research

4.1. Basic results (OM2 and other previous and current projects)

1. Implementation of a detection system for complex monitoring that will be connected in the near future to a telecommunication system
2. Implementation of the infrastructure of the complex monitoring via renovation and modernization of existing structures
3. Complex monitoring of the environment in the Rila Mountain
4. Extensive database and geographical information system on the environment in the Rila Mountain
5. Integrated system for mountain monitoring and management
6. Development of approaches to, techniques, equipment and models for:
7. Updating the scientific level via participation in an interdisciplinary project towards sustainable development of the socio-economic and ecological systems
8. Multivolume series OM2 "High Mountain Observatory Moussala"
9. OM2 International Symposium "Observation of Mountain Environment in Europe" - Borovetz’97, as well as two summer universities (Sofia - Melnik 1993, Semkovo 1998)
10. Scientific research popularization and educational activities
11. International political effect resulting from the creation of favourable ambience for a constructive approach to solving of trans-boundary regional problems in cooperation with teams from different European countries.View from Moussala to winter Rila and Pirin Mountains
1. OM2 project - an example of bilateral scientific co-operation at the Third Ministerial Conference "Environment for Europe" Sofia’95
2. Basic environmental observatory "Moussala"- in governmental convention between France and Bulgaria
3. NZ422 project "Monitoring and Management of High Mountain Ecosystems" was awarded by the National Science Foundation as the best project
4. BEO Moussala and OM2 Project are presenting at EXPO 2000 in Hanover at the Bulgarian exposition – Live in Nature.
5. The Basic Environmental Observatory (BEO) was constructed on the Moussala peak, 2925 m a.s.l. with the financial support of the National Fund for Environment Protection of the Bulgarian Ministry of Environment and Water.BEO Moussala inaguration, 1999

4.2. Research Prospects

BEO Moussala is an object unique for Europe.
The main ideas of BEO are:
The motto of BEO development is: "Today's Choices Determine Tomorrow's Options". BEO Moussala current development and future prospects are in the context of the 2002 International Year of Mountains.
BEO will be equipped by unique scientific apparatuses, manufactured also by Bulgarian firms and organizations: Cerenkov telescope for atmosphere transparency measurement; equipment for astrophysical climate research; UV and ozone measurements; measurements of the Earth’s magnetic field; acidity of clouds; automatic weather station; gamma background control; low background scintillation spectrometer; detectors for cosmic neutrons and radon apparatuses for chemical air pollutant monitoring.Ledeno lake - highest Bulgarien lake, Moussalenski circus
BEO basic goals and functions:
A laboratory of control for trans-boundary transfer of radionuclides, heavy and toxic elements, emissions and pollutants as well as developing of corresponding distribution models.
Role in national, regional and European ecological networks:
BEO "Moussala" is:
Radiological observing is one of the important tasks of BEO Moussala [1]:
The global changes in the ecological conditions and in their radiological parameters in particular, bring to the forth the urgent for the present days problem of building a monitoring network on Bulgarian territory, capable of operation in real time and submitting data for the more important parameters characterising the condition of environment. The Basic Environmental Observatory (BEO) "Moussala" has been designed as a centre for performance of scientific and monitoring investigations that could provide information not only about the Rila Mountain ecosystem but also about the influence of distant sources – the so called remote transfer.BEO Moussala and barrage Beli Iskar, right
Material basis ensuring normal conditions of life and operation of scientific and measuring devices and equipment has been constructed. A part of this equipment related to the radiological control is functioning and has proved its qualities. The delivery and assembly of additional instrumentation, as well as the development of BEO as a monitoring, scientific and demonstration centre are impending in the future.
The control on the basic parameters of the condition of environment in real time represents a dynamically developing area of scientific and technological research. It is of great importance for the region of the Balkan Peninsula in the present period of basic social-economic and infrastructural changes.
Ledeno lake - under the Moussala peak - 2709mThe specific geographical situation of the Moussala peak (altitude of 2925 m) is a significant factor for the choice of this place and its including in the national system for ecological monitoring. The necessity and effectiveness of the use of the observatory for recording of southern and western trans-boundary transfer and for ecological monitoring has been irrefutably proved within the framework of the Bulgarian-French Project OM2 (Observatoire de Montagne de Moussala) "Monitoring and Management of the environment in the Rila Mountain" developed in 1993-1998, the co-ordinator from the Bulgarian side being the Institute for Nuclear Research and Nuclear Energy – Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (INRNE – BAS).
A project has been developed for the creation of a complex measuring station for radiological and meteorological information, situated in the BEO "Moussala" in the Rila mountain, with the participation of the National Centre of Environment and Sustainable Development (NCESD) of the Ministry of Environment and Waters (MEW) and INRNE – BAS.
The aims of the project are:
To complement the national network for control of the radiation situation in the country with one unique with its geographical position and altitude measuring station.
To perform continuous control and early announcement in cases of accidents in nuclear power plants, etc., in the country and abroad. The example with the Chernobil accident showed the extreme importance of the radiological and meteorological information about the upper layers of the atmosphere, so that the direction of the air flows with the radioactive pollutants carried by them, and the amount of precipitation contributing to the disposal of the transferred pollution to the soil surface could be followed.
To investigate the variations of the natural radiation background of the atmosphere at a great height and to establish their relationship with the meteorological factors: atmospheric pressure, temperature, wind velocity and precipitation amounts.
To perform gamma-spectral analysis of the recorded radiation gamma-background of the air in order to determine the type and amount of radionuclides initiating it, as well as their variations in the course of time and their correlation with the meteorological factors.
The equipment with the necessary instrumentation for the complex monitoring of the environment is intended for the near future (the construction and equipment of BEO is financially supported by MEW). BEO will be included as a separate station in the "National Automated System for Constant Control on the Gamma-background Radiation" belonging to NCESD. This system has a hierarchical structure and at the present stage it comprises 26 local monitoring stations, 2 regional monitoring stations, a central station, a National Centre for Emergency Activities and an Accident station.
The next stage of the project with NCESD is the including of BEO "Moussala" of INRNE – BAS in the National System for Control on the atmospheric Air Quality.
Instrumentation has been developed for automated continuous measurement of the radiation gamma-background till the present moment on the basis of the submitted by EDF (the National Electric Company of France) 4 devices of the SBN 90 –  SAPHYMO type for continuous gamma-measurements. A methodology has been also developed for the adjustment and calibration of the measuring equipment using Americium-243 and Caesium-137. An electronic block has been developed for amplification, reception and automatic recording of the analogue signal. Software products based on Pascal and Excel have been developed for visualisation and processing of the accumulated data.
The measuring devices proved to have good exploitation qualities during a long time period. The National Centre of Hydrology and Meteorology (NCHM) and MEW were interested in the obtained data during the Kossovo crisis. One of the devices which has been under operation in Shoumen till now will be assembled as a part of the complex for radiological and meteorological monitoring in the "Moussala" BEO.
Basic technical characteristics of the automatic device for measuring the gamma-background:
Other important direction of activity is energy efficiency and energy hi-tech demonstration [2,3]:
BEO "Energetic" Basic Principles:
  • energy independence
  • reliability
  • energy efficiency
  • ecological conformity
  • compatibility with other vital BEO systems
  • BEO is like a spaceship and keeping of the above principles is vital for BEO operation and its scientific program realization
    BEO Basic Energy Subsystems:
    Winter view of Moussala peak and Basic Environmental  ObservatoryNot at the last place is the public activity and program of BEO Moussala. A project for development of a Visitor Center "Nuclear Technologies for Environmental Protection" has been submitted to the Ministry of Environment and Water and attempts are made to find other sponsors.The area of the hall envisaged for the Visitor Center is about 24 m2. It is situated immediately to the BEO entrance. It faces south and a magnificent view is seen through the windows - the Pirin Mountain, the valleys of the Marichini Lakes and the Beli Iskar River, Granchar, the Bliznatsite ridge.
    Main purposes and tasks
    The Visitor Center of BEO - Moussala has the following purposes and tasks:
    a) Providing knowledge on the basic aspects of the global climatic changes, the health aspects of the different types of radiation (UV, etc.), main methods and devices of the National System for Monitoring of Environment operating in BEO, including those using nuclear technologies, etc.;
    b) Providing knowledge on the purposes and results of the Bulgarian - French project OM2 with accent on radiological investigations;
    c) Explaining the purposes of the Protected Areas and of the "Rila" National Park in particular, as a part of the Common European Ecological Network;
    d) Close connections with the local population and society in this region of the Rila Mountain (Samokov, Beli Iskar, Mala Tsarkva and others);
    e) Development of scientific-popular tourism.
    Benefits for the preserving of environment
    - enhancing the eco-training due to the widening of the territorial and spatial range of the National System for continuous control of the gamma-background and of the system for environmental monitoring by including BEO in their network;
    - teaching and involving the local population in the study of the interactions between the mountainous environment and the global changes, as well as selecting of the possible ways of overcoming the negative effects on nature and society;
    - organizing and demonstrating effective and prospective modern approaches, methods and initiatives aimed at improving the quality of environment and solving the critical problems of the "Rila" National Park.
    Approaches and tools for construction
    The maximal use of the multimedia resources and of the synthesized and compact representing of information concerning the performed research and activities for preserving the environment, as well as the radiological monitoring and application of nuclear technologies in the ecomonitoring.

    4.3. Financial support

    Ministry of Environment and Water; Bulgarian - French OM2 Project: "Monitoring and Management of Mountain Environment" (MISECO - Interministry Mission for Central and Eastern Europe - France, CNRS - National Centre for Scientific Research of France, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France, EDF - Electrical Company of France, METEO - France, INRNE-BAS); National Science Fund; Institute for Nuclear Research and Nuclear Energy; Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
    4.4. Active members and participants
    The participants are institutes from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (Institute for Nuclear Research and Nuclear Energy, Institute of Zoology, Institute of Botany, Sunset of the Millenium, view from BEO MoussalaInstitute of Forestry), from France (National Center for Scientific Research, Environment Institute of France, Universities of Paris, Grenoble, Besanson and Lyon), National Environmental Research Institute (Denmark), Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe (Germany), Centre Universiteire de Luxembourg (Luxembourg), Joint Institute for Nuclear Research - Dubna (Russia), Ministry of Health, National Centre of Radiobiology and Radiation Protection, National Centre of Hygiene, Medical Ecology and Nutrition.

    4.5. Publications

    List of books (OM2 volumes):
    1. Jordan Stamenov, Boyko Vachev, The enviromental monitoring station "Moussala OM2" - demonstration centre for new energy technologies of the 21st century;
    2. D.Klein, M.Guelev, M.Kostova, M.Hristoskova, New radon and gamma device using TLD and SSNTD to carry out   monitoring in the environment Radiation Maesurements, Vol 31 (1999), 319-324
    3. M. Voytchev, D. Klein, A. Chambaudet and G. Georgiev (1999), "The use of silicon photodiodes for radon and radon progeny detection", Health Physics, soumise pour publication.
    4. M. Voytchev, D. Klein, A. Chambaudet, G. Georgiev and M. lovtchev (1999), "Applications of a silicon photodiode detector for radon progeny measurements", Radiation. Measurements, Vol. 31, pp. 355-359.
    5.  Tch. Lenev, M. Mitev, S. Tabakov, " Multi chanell specter & intencity analyser of natural gamma background", 1999, Annual Conference of Bulgarian Nuclear Society, 25-26 Nov., 1999, Kozlodui, Bulgaria; Reports of BNC (to be printed)
    6. M. Brankova, B. Vachev, M. Vitkova, M. Guelev, I. Kalapov, I. Kirov, Tch. Lenev, A. Mishev, E. Moskv, J. Stamenov, S. Ushev, Radiological Monitoring at Basic Environmental Observatory "Moussala", 1999, Annual Conference of Bulgarian Nuclear Society, 25-26 Nov., 1999, Kozlodui, Bulgaria; Reports of BNC (to be printed)
    7. M. Mitev, Tch. Lenev, Chart-digital logarithmic resonance converter, 8th National conference "Electronics'99", Sosopol, 24-25 Sept. 1999 (in press)

    5. Summary of Major Activities in 1999

    The development of the OM2 project " Monitoring and Management of High Mountain Ecosystems" was logically defined by: the methodology of the first project stage and project's results, first off all by the developed permanent interdisciplinary scientific team (in Bulgaria) and also the international research teams in the main two directions:
    The main results are:
    1. Development of two projects, financed by the National Science Foundation
    2. The construction of the Moussala Basic Ecological Laboratory, financed by the National Environmental Protection was completed.
    3. Active participation in the anniversary of BAS:
    4. Including of the OM2 Project new version IMMA (Integrated Monitoring in Mountain Areas) in a GTOS Project (Global Terrestrial Observing System).
    5. Regular control and measurement of gamma background and data distribution since the time of the Kosovo crisis.
    6. OM2 Web Site and INRNE on-line brochoure development and publication in the INTERNET.
    7. Participation in 4 conferences:
    8. Construction of Moussala Basic Ecological Laboratory, financed by the National Environmental Protection Fund and completed in the end of September, 1999, approved and accepted by governmental authority commission in June 2000.
    9. OM2 Project poster was awarded as the best ecologycal poster at the Annual Conference of the Bulgarian Nuclear Society - 25 NPP "Kozlodui"

    6. Owners and users

    The Basic Environmental Observatory – Moussala is owned and operated by the Institute for Nuclear Research and Nuclear Energy of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia. The BEO is governed by the Astrophysical Objects & Environment Lab. of INRNE – Sofia. The students and scientists from BAS Institutes and Sofia and Blagoevgrad Universities are among the BEO primary users.
    The Basic Environmental Observatory – Moussala is opened to all professionals and enthusiasts. The scientists and experts are welcome to participate in the international research agenda of BEO "Moussala".

    7. References

    1. Brankova, B. Vachev, M. Vitkova, M. Guelev, I. Kalapov, I. Kirov, Tch. Lenev, A. Mishev, E. Moskv, J. Stamenov, S. Ushev, Radiological Monitoring at Basic Environmental Observatory "Moussala", 1999, Annual Conference of Bulgarian Nuclear Society, 25-26 Nov., 1999, Kozlodui, Bulgaria; Reports of BNC (to be printed)
    2. Jordan Stamenov, Boyko Vachev, The enviromental monitoring station "Moussala OM2" - demonstration centre for new energy technologies of the 21st century, Second National Conference on Renewable energy Sources in Bulgaria, 22-23 April, Sofia, Bulgaria;
    3. J. Stamenov, P. Vitanov, B. Vachev, Solar Energy Use for Environmental Observatory Peak Moussala, Paneuropean Forum, Business and investment for renewable energy, International Conference, December, 1-2 1999, Sofia, Bulgaria;

    8. For contacts

    OM2 Project: "Monitoring and Management of Mountains Environment"
    tel: (395 2) 7144-393
    Institute for Nuclear Research and Nuclear Energy
    tel: (395 2) 9743761
    fax: (395 2) 9753619
    72, Tsarigradsko chaussee blvd.
    1784, Sofia, BULGARIA