What is NORM?

Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM), also known as Low Specific Activity (LSA) material, is the term used to describe radioactive materials that exist naturally in the geological environment.

NORM is found in a variety of bulk commodities, process wastes and commercial items, such as sands, china clays, soils, granite, coal, groundwater, oil and gas.

Although levels of NORM in most natural substances is low, almost any operation in which material is extracted from the earth and processed can result in the build up and concentration of NORM residues.

NORM occurs in small quantities in the oil and gas industry and builds up within the pipes and components in much the same way as natural limescale develops in a kettle over a period of time.

  • Illustration of North Sea Oil Rig

    During oil and gas extraction in the North Sea, a mineral scale builds up within the pipes, pumps and valves that may be radioactive. The radioactive material is called NORM.

  • Illustration of boat with NORM onboard

    The North Sea oilfields production process means that some of the offshore pipework will be contaminated with NORM.

  • Illustration of MODUCONS™ system

    The contaminated equipment will be transferred into a ModuCon® enclosure where specialist operators remove the NORM scale with high pressure jetting equipment.

    • Illustration of testing steel goods

      Once out of the ModuCon® enclosure, the steel goods will be tested to ensure they are no longer contaminated.

    • Illustration of truck carrying metals

      Once tested, the equipment can either be returned for re-use or recycled by SITA UK.

  • Illustration of drums containing NORM waste

    The residual NORM waste will then be collected, treated and solidified in drums.

  • Illustration of landfill site

    These drums can then be safely disposed of at the Stoneyhill landfill site.