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Authors: K. Wichterey (BfS, Germany), H. Schulz (IAF, Germany), A. Schmitt-Hannig (BfS, Germany)

The 2nd EAN-NORM Workshop, organised and hosted by IAF, was held from 24-26 November 2009 in Dresden. More than 50 experts from 17 different countries, coming from leading European and international organisations, authorities, universities, research institutes and industry representatives shared their experiences in the NORM sector.

In the 1st Session on General Requirements of Radiation Protection against Exposures due to NORM and other natural radiation sources, Å. Wiklund (EC) presented the provisions for NORM in the new European Basic Safety Standards and G. Proehl (IAEA) gave an Overview of the IAEA Activities to Improve the Management of NORM. The session was followed by a round table discussion where the following topics were addressed:

  • Identification of exposure situations pursuant to the new draft BSS by national authorities: Which strategies, experiences?
  • Should all industries listed be considered in general or only parts of them? Does the “Positive List” describe the sectors with NORM sufficiently?
  • What are the issues at stake in the NORM sector related to ALARA? (Realistic dose assessment of NORM industries, monitoring of workers, discharge control, transport and waste management problems)
  • What the different industrial branches in the NORM sector have in common with regard to the implementation of the ALARA principle?
  • Existing or planned situations - Must work activities (resp. practices according to the draft BSS) be justified in the future? Who has to justify it and why?

Not all questions could be discussed in detail and the opinions were not always consistent, of course. Only some aspects are summarized here.

The draft BSS include in an Annex a list of industries involving NORM (the “Positive List”), which has been given as supporting guidance, although investigations of specific situations are still required. By means of ALARA, e.g. by replacement of certain materials, optimisation of technological processes, occupancy times, or paying regard to conventional health and safety measures, the need for further control procedures in some industries can also be avoided. In the future, justification should be applied to NORM, as well.

In the 2nd Session on EAN and EAN-NORM – Experience with networking, A. Schmitt-Hannig (BfS, Germany) presented the European ALARA Network - Experience with networking to support optimisation of protection in practice and K. Wichterey (BfS) shared some first thoughts about the Continuation of the EAN–NORM Network and Support by the Federal Office for Radiation Protection of Germany. H. Schulz (IAF, Germany) talked about the Optimization of the EAN-NORM Webportal as a Fundament for a more active Networking and L. Geldner (Robotron, Germany) about some Technical Aspects of the EAN-NORM Network. A. Poffijn, (FANC, Belgium) presented Past and Future of NORM meetings and the Role of the Network. The round table discussion dealt with the following topics:

  • Do we need the ALARA-NORM network? How to achieve self-sustainability: financing, human resources, maintenance of website etc.?
  • What benefits do we expect from building a group and exchanging experiences? How can this be realized?
  • Is it necessary to organize the scientific discussion (e.g. identification of issues of general interest, summarizing of the discussion results)?
  • Can one expect contributions from the different industrial sectors industries (experience, solutions, dose results)?

Here it was stated that the NORM-network is a useful instrument to get information but individual contributions are still rare. Without giving input to the network no lively discussion will take place. It does not seem to be realistic to get detailed information from the industry due to competitive concerns. No support could be achieved with regard to financing in addition to the current contract with BfS which covers the period till 08/2011.

In the 3rd session The Implementation of the BSS in the Industrial Practice was presented by different examples. K. Gehrcke (BfS) showed a graded approach to regulation in the NORM-sector and R. Gellermann (FUGRO-HGN, Germany) described his experiences in implementing NORM-legislation in several South Eastern European countries. Representatives from industrial branches in the Netherlands and Germany talked about practical issues for dealing with NORM, the organization of radiation protection in the oil and gas industry and guidelines for dose estimations. The discussion touched the following topics:

  • Provisions for NORM in the new BSS: Is this what we need? Strengths and weaknesses?
  • What is the position of the group with regard to requirements for NORM industries in the “European Commission Services considerations with regard to natural radiation sources in the BSS Directive”?
  • Is a licensing procedure for NORM activities appropriate? What does it mean for NORM industries? How could a graded approach be implemented in the authorisation process?
  • Application of the principle of exemption - who decides on exemption cases?
  • What does "significant" mean with regard to exposures of workers and members of the public? Can a general definition be established or do we need specials ones for the types of practices?
  • Does the 1 Bq/g criterion meet the requirements of radiation protection?
  • Reuse options for residues: How materials with enhanced radioactivity used as additives to building materials have to be controlled?
  • Do we need European Guidelines for dose estimations?

In addition to the BSS, there is a need for further guidance, e g. on dilution and mixing of materials. With regard to dose assessments, it was stated that RP 122 Part II is used in most cases.

In the 4th Session the Experience in Radiation Protection in NORM Industry in different Countries was discussed. Presentations from Bulgaria, Croatia, Ireland and Italy were given on the situation regarding NORM in their countries and in special fields, e.g. in thermal spas. The overview was complemented by a round table discussion on the following topics:

  • Experience with implementing NORM regulations: feedback and practical radiation protection issues. Are there differences in implementing NORM regulations between different NORM sectors?
  • To what extent is harmonisation within EU necessary? Are there parts of the NORM sector where harmonisation is more urgent than for other parts, e.g. measurements techniques or dose assessment methods? To what extent (for which parts) would harmonisation with IAEA be beneficial?
  • What kind of experience exists with methods, programmes, results, documentation etc.?

It was shown that some countries followed a different approach regarding the consequences of the BSS. Some more harmonisation of the regulations is desirable within the EU. Especially with regard to free trade (e.g. of building materials), more clarification is needed.

In the 5th Session Practical applications in NORM industry in Belgium, Germany, Norway and Poland were presented. Different problems were highlighted like the analysis of radionuclides in TENORM, transport regulations, release behaviour, activity measurements in bulk quantities, end disposal options and the control of occupational exposure. Some solutions were shown which are acceptable to industries and authorities. The round table discussion addressed the following topics:

  • How the interfaces from RP-NORM to waste management, soil protection, product declarations, etc. should be developed?
  • What are the problems regarding transport of NORM? Criteria for safe NORM transport?
  • Final disposal of NORM-residues - requirements, methods, regulatory control.
  • Practice of release from the regulatory control: feedback experience from countries.
  • Dose assessments in advance of authorizing discharges of radioactivity from NORM industry into the environment.
  • Where are the differences in different industrial branches? Are there similarities or differences between the branches with regard to awareness of radiation protection issues?
  • Inclusion of health & safety requirements: progress made, issues to be discussed.
  • How do the different branches tackle the issue of education and training of personnel?

Not all questions could be answered during the discussions. Nevertheless, useful information on NORM issues was presented and exchanged and fruitful relations were established. The manager of the EAN-NORM network, H. Schulz, encouraged all participants of the workshop to send their statements on the topics discussed and additional contributions on regulations, experiences, and scientific results to the EAN-NORM network and to participate in further discussions.

All presentations can be downloaded from the website www.ean-norm.net.