Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM)

Low-Level Waste

High-Level Waste

Radioactive Waste

Transuranic (TRU) Waste

Uranium Mill Tailings

When nuclear materials are used for either industrial, medical or scientific processes...

In the United States HLW (High-Level Waste) is classification by the means through which...

Items that have become contaminated with radioactive material through neutron radiation or...

The mining process through which extract of uranium and thorium are sought generates a type of fine...

Transuranic waste consists of transuranic elements which are manmade radioactive elements with...

and radon are elements that have always existed in the Earth’s crust and atmosphere. Furthermore, the term NORM also allows us to distinguish between naturally radioactive material from the anthropogenic sources of radioactive material that is produced and used in nuclear power and medicine. Moreover, in cases were human contact with NORM increases the concentration of actual radionuclides, the term Technologically-Enhanced (TENORM) may be used instead of NORM.


According to the World Nuclear Association (WNA) there are two sources through which natural radiation can occur, the terrestrial source (Terrestrial NORM) – which accounts for the vast majority of radiation and comes out of the Earth’s crust – of which uranium and thorium are good examples. Then there are those which come about from the interaction of atmospheric gases and cosmic rays known as Cosmogenic NORM. However, it is worth noting that most of the cosmic radiation does not reach the Earth’s surface due to the Earth’s magnetic field; therefore, the dose of cosmogenic radionuclides is higher at low altitudes than cosmic rays are. At higher altitudes however the dose increases for both and is felt mainly by mountain dwellers or frequent flyers.

Though an average person’s exposure to naturally occurring radiation is not significant enough to pose immediate health or safety risk, this may not be always the case since there are industries that handle more NORM that eventually ends up in waste streams. In such cases some concerns have been brought forth which resulted in regulations and regular monitoring by industries and/or countries. However, there is no unified standard which can result in classifying one type as radioactive waste and another as not being radioactive waste universally; this makes regulation and monitoring difficult at times in any given industry in different countries. Not taking into account uranium mining and other fuel cycle activities according to the World Nuclear Association (WNA) some of the industries that are known to have NORM are the coal industry (mining and combustion), the oil and gas industry (production), fertilizer (phosphate) industry, building industry, and recycling to name just a few.


To learn more about Greenuke’s innovative technology and how it contributes to the reduction and concentration of radioactive waste throughout the globe click here

The term Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM), in theory, applies to all the radioactive elements that are found in the environment. However, as the term suggests the radioactive material must be naturally occurring. While humans did increase the exposure rate to ionizing radiation through alteration, elements such as uranium, thorium, and their decaying products such as radium