Dating uranium 238
Excluding uranium mining and all associated fuel cycle activities, industries known to have NORM issues include: Another NORM issue relates to radon exposure in homes, particularly those built on granitic ground.
Occupational health issues include the exposure of flight crew to higher levels of cosmic radiation, the exposure of tour guides to radon in caves, exposure of miners to radon underground, and exposure of workers in the oil & gas and mineral sands industries to elevated radiation levels in the materials they handle.
It is found in many foodstuffs (bananas for example), and indeed fills an important dietary requirement, ending up in our bones.
(Humans have about 65 Bq/kg of K-40 and along with those foods are therefore correspondingly radioactive to a small degree.
This means that material which is considered radioactive waste in one context may not be considered so in another.
Also, that which may constitute low-level waste in the nuclear industry might go entirely unregulated in another industry (see section below on recycling and NORM).
Since most cosmic radiation is deflected by the Earth’s magnetic field or absorbed by the atmosphere, very little reaches the Earth’s surface and cosmogenic radionuclides contribute more to dose at low altitudes than cosmic rays as such.
At higher altitudes, the dose due to both increases, meaning that mountain dwellers and frequent flyers are exposed to higher doses than others.
For most people, cosmogenic NORM barely contributes to dose – perhaps a few tens of microsieverts per year.
However, the term is used more specifically for all naturally occurring radioactive materials where human activities have increased the potential for exposure compared with the unaltered situation.
Concentrations of actual radionuclides may or may not have been increased; if they have, the term Technologically-Enhanced (TENORM) may be used.