Identification and characterization of NORM industries in Belgium

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An overview of the NORM issue in the Belgium industry is given, mainly based on a study on behalf of ONDRAF/NIRAS, the Belgian agency for radioactive waste. The phosphate industry was identified as the main source of enhanced natural radioactivity. In the non-ferro industry high activity-concentrations of the thorium decay series were identified with cassiterite (tin ore). Zircon sands with high uranium concentrations are applied for the production of precision casting molds. Almost every industry with a large turnover of materials has some problems with NORM. Examples of a blast furnace and a coal-fired power plant are given. In these cases the natural radioactivity is concentrated in blast furnace slag or fly ash, both of which are used as input material in the cement industry. The extraction and purification of ground water was also identified as a potential source for generating NORM sludges. Finally, ample remains from past NORM practices exist. A number of historical sites, including a former mining area of alum shale in the valley of the Meuse, several coal mining sites, a coltan processing site in Ghent and a radium facility in Olen were contaminated before present standards of radiological protection were developed.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCD rom, IRPA 12 proceedings
Place of PublicationBuenos Aires, Argentina
Publication statusPublished - 24 Oct 2008
EventIRPA 2008 - 12th International Radiation Protection Association Congress - International Radiation Protection Association, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Duration: 19 Oct 200824 Oct 2008


ConferenceIRPA 2008 - 12th International Radiation Protection Association Congress
CityBuenos Aires


  • NORM, enhanced natural radioactivity, Belgium, non-nuclear industry, phosphate industry, steel industry, coal-fired power plant, radium

ID: 213096