03:2023 Regulatory control of naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) in the Nordic countries

Report from working group Nordic NAT


Radiological risks associated with naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) have been fully recognized in recent decades, and hence, resulted in the integration of NORM radiation protection requirements within the EU Directive 2013/59 and IAEA BSS (2014). Still, it has been internationally emphasized that NORM-related knowledge gaps and uncertainties might present issues in coping with the existing regulatory requirements during their transposition and implementation into national legislations and regulatory frameworks. Therefore, NORM is one of the main subjects in the recently formed Nordic working group on natural ionizing radiation (WG Nordic[1]Nat). NORM regulatory approaches for radiation protection control, possibilities for collaboration, scientific projects and joint research, monitoring programmes, communication issues, etc. are considered within the group, based on the defined mandate.

The current report is a result of the first joint WG Nordic-Nat activity related to NORM, and it provides an overview of national legislations, regulatory approaches and practices concerning NORM across Nordic countries i.e., Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

Denmark, Finland and Sweden are member states of the European Union (EU), and hence, the Council Directive 2013/59/Euratom (EU BSS) containing NORM specific requirements has been adopted and implemented in the legislation of these countries. Although Norway and Iceland are not member states of the EU, and thus not bound by the EU BSS, legislation and regulatory approaches for NORM have also been developed in these countries according to the international standards and specific country circumstances.

Both differences and similarities related to the legislation, adopted regulatory control approaches for handling of NORM in the industries, NORM waste management and disposal as well as for environmental discharge control have been seen across Nordic countries, and are presented in this report. Furthermore, a provided description of the approahes in regulatory control of NORM-processing industries, NORM waste and pollution in the Nordic countries allows an identification of the common interest for NORM specific issues.

The potential topics for future WG Nordic-Nat collaboration have been identified as (a) use of dose criteria for exemption and clearance of NORM and NORM industries from notification and authorization; (b) safety and environmental assessments for radioactive NORM waste disposal and discharge; (c) regulatory control of multi[1]contaminants in NORM waste; (d) environmental monitoring in NORM processing industries and disposal sites; (e) inspections in facilities involving NORM; (f) NORM legacy sites and remediation; (g) stakeholder engagement and risk communication in NORM; (h) transboundary movement of NORM waste for disposal and NORM contaminated materials for processing, and finally, (i) potential update of Nordic flag book - publication “Naturally Occurring Radiation in the Nordic Countries (Recommendations, 2000).