Research and analysis

NORM wastes: conditional exemption limits

This report (HPA-CRCE-001) includes Health Protecton Agency (HPA) recommendations for naturally occurring radioactive wastes (NORM).

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The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), in conjunction with the Devolved Administrations, was reviewing the Radioactive Substances Act 1993 (RSA93) Exemption Order regime and proposed to replace all the existing exemption orders with a single, conditional exemption order. Under the existing regime, disposal of some naturally occurring radioactive waste (NORM) was exempt from the RSA93 registration and authorisation requirements. DECC asked the Health Protection Agency (HPA) to investigate the amount of NORM waste, with a head of chain activity concentration of up to 5 Bq g-1, that can be disposed of to landfill without exceeding specified dose criteria.

The HPA recommended that it would be appropriate to specify a generic upper limit on the annual mass of NORM waste that can be disposed of to a landfill site, per consignor, of 104 t. This generic upper limit could be used in a UK exemption order for NORM wastes and would ensure that the specified dose criteria were not exceeded, as long as the annual mass capacity of the landfill site was 5,104 t or greater.