Decommissioning and the transportation of NORM and TENORM

Posted by Andrew Smith

Oct 3, 2018 9:56:48 AM

Underestimating the time and resource required to correctly transport NORM (Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material) or TENORM (Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material) during decommissioning could prove to be costly, not least because it is likely to cause delays in shipping. It is clear that there are many considerations required to managing the transport of NORM and TENORM. Consultation with experts at the very early stages will be essential and could lead to significant cost saving benefits.


When consigning large structures, the first issue to consider is inaccessible parts that cannot be monitored. A structure cannot be declared free from contamination in this case and it is better to assume there is contamination present. Undertaking a base line survey prior to decommissioning cannot conclude that NORM is not present. Continual surveying during decommissioning will be required to avoid contaminated items being transported incorrectly. At the contractual stages, all parties involved will need guidance and advice on how to transport structures where the NORM quantity is unknown.

shutterstock_539854030 - oil rig for web

A large structure that requires shipping may have vessels containing LSA, (Low Specific Activity). The majority of bulk NORM (such as sludge and sand) will be classed as LSA-1; however, there may be some exceptions. The same structure may also present SCO, (Surface Contaminated Objects). The majority of NORM contaminated items will be classed at SCO-l however, again, there may be some exceptions.

As well as labeling and marking, which could present problems on large structures, some of the documents required include; 

  • Dangerous good forms
  • Container packing certificate (if by sea) ADR 5.4.2
  • Instructions in writing- ADR requirement. 5.4.3 - standard set of instructions
  • DGSA contact details for the drivers
  • Emergency plans

Both Intrinsically Safe Dose Rate and Contamination Monitors, along with trained personnel will be required.

Consultation with a DGSA (Dangerous Goods Safety Adviser) will be essential to understand the provisions in the transport regulations for shipping large items and other consignments. For transporting NORM, consultation with Radiation Protection Advisers and Radiation Waste Advisers will also be essential.

To transport NORM correctly it must be analysed for specific activity. Radiochemistry facilities, such as those offered by Tracerco, offer a fast turn round service which is essential for avoiding transportation delays.


To learn more about how Tracerco can assist you with training, as well as the detection, measurement, transportation and analysis of NORM and TENORM, request more information from one of our experienced and certified Radiation Protection Advisers.

Request more information on our NORM Complete service

Topics: NORM, NORM Detection, NORM Management, Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material, TENORM, Decommissioning, Radiation Protection, Radiation Protection Adviser, Radiation Waste Adviser

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