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Year: 2021
Project manager: Louise Kiel Jensen

The project “NORM in Norwegian marine areas” was granted funding in 2020 to assemble existing data on naturally occurring radionuclides in the marine environment. The purpose of the project was to establish baseline data for evaluation of possible contributions from the petroleum industry. The amount of data exceeded our expectations and we therefore apply for additional funding to further process and publish the dataset.
Radionuclides in the uranium (238U) and thorium (232Th) decay chains are natural occurring radionuclides. These radionuclides are termed NOR when the source is natural but NORM when the source is a particular industry. In the marine environment, one NORM source is the oil and gas industries via discharges of produced water containing enhanced levels of the natural radionuclides 226Ra, 228Ra and 210Pb.
Establishing good baseline data of NOR is essential to evaluate to what extent NORM released by the oil and gas industries constitutes an additional source for natural radionuclides in the marine environment. In 2020, the project group has assembled existing data. In this process, it became clear that the amount of data was greater than first assumed. This is largely thanks to valuable data on marine sediments from the MAREANO project. The large amount of data allows for a more solid assessment of background levels in marine sediments with a wider geographical coverage.
A good overview of data will strengthen the basis for decision making for the management at DSA and will also reveal genuine knowledge gaps, which are essential at the present time. In 2020, the project group communicated the data to the relevant management bodies in a short report. In 2021, the project group will further assess the data and aim to publish the results in a peer review journal.

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