Environmental Safety and Radiation Protection

The Department of Environmental Safety and Radiation Protection (MIST) is organized under the environmental technology research area and has well-equipped and modern laboratories for the analysis and measurement of low-radioactive environmental samples. The department has broad expertise in radiation protection, radioecology and handling of radioactive waste, and conducts research and commission activities both nationally and internationally within these fields.

Naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) is found in the environment and these are radioactive elements of natural origin that have been present since the beginning of the earth. NORM primarily contains uranium and thorium with decay products and potassium. The presence of NORM varies in concentrations from place to place and from country to country. It all depends on the geological history.

Industrial processes will move, change their mutual composition, concentrate and mobilize the radioactive substances. Due to the low emission limits set by the Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (DSA), it is in many cases necessary for industry, healthcare, research institutions and authorities to map waste, emissions and products. The MIST department can assist here with measurements, mapping of emissions and assistance in the process of applying for an emissions permit.

More specifically, the department provides advice to the Norwegian mineral industry in the event of emissions of polonium (Po), lead (Pb), radium (Ra), uranium (U) and thorium (Th) and give advice on how to meet national and international legal requirements.

Companies must ensure that their employees and the local population are not exposed to unnecessarily high doses of radiation. This means that companies must strive to keep the radioactivity due to processes conducted in the company as low as possible. Further, the companies must ensure that large quantities of radioactive material can be stored safely, that waste that is classified as radioactive is handled in a safe manner and that the disposal of such waste is carried out correctly. Any emissions to air and water must, in line with the radiation protection regulations (the limit is 250 µSv), keep the effective radiation dose within the limit values given for the population and the environment.

The Department for Environmental Safety and Radiation Protection offers a range of services, including: