Decommissioning and transporting NORM and TENORM

NORM (Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material) and TENORM (Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material) require careful planning and the correct resources to be transported safely and correctly. A failure to plan or execute this transportation process can be an expensive mistake in terms of both time and money. Before the process begins, it is highly recommended that an expert is consulted in order to create the smoothest procedure possible. It is also possible that an expert’s advice in the matter could translate to big savings in terms of cost.

For large structures that require consignment, a common issue revolves around parts that are inaccessible or can’t be monitored. Such a structure cannot be declared as uncontaminated with no means of proving it, so it is better to assume that contamination is present. A base line survey before decommissioning is not able to prove that NORM is not present in this situation. Therefore, ongoing surveyance throughout the decommissioning process will be needed to ensure contaminated items aren’t transported incorrectly. It is important that all parties involved receive advice and guidance on transporting potentially NORM contaminated structures.

Vessels containing LSA (Low Specific Activity) may also be present on large structures. Most bulk NORM, like sludge and sand, will be classified as LSA-1, but there are some exceptions to this. It’s also possible for the same structure to contain SCO (Surface Contaminated Objects). Like the LSA vessels, these NORM contaminated SCOs will be classed as SCO-I more often than not, but there are some exceptions to this.

The process demands marking and labelling, which can be difficult to achieve with larger structures. In addition to this, the following documents are also required:

  • Emergency plans
  • Instructions in writing — ADR requirement. 5.4.3 — standard set of instructions
  • A dangerous goods form
  • DGSA contact details for the drivers
  • The container packing certificate, if being transported by sea, ADR 5.4.2

There are other requirements too. Trained personnel, Intrinsically Safe Dose Rate Monitors, and Contamination Monitors will also be needed.

It is also recommended to speak to a DGSA (Dangerous Goods Safety Advisor) when shipping large items, in order to fully understand the regulations involved. Consulting with Radiation Waste Advisers and Radiation Protection Advisers will also be required when transporting NORM. Before transporting NORM, specific activity needs to be analysed. This can be done at a radiochemistry facility, and a fast turnaround service will help to avoid transportation delays.

Detection, measurement, transportation, training, and analysis of NORM and TENORM is crucial for the process of transportation and decommission. Speak to an experienced and certified Radiation Protection Adviser to help maintain a smooth procedure.

This article was brought to you by subsea technologies experts, Tracerco.