RADONORM - Naturally occurring radionuclides in work and the natural environment - establishing the problem definition, finding sources and exposure assessment - the two weeks training course



Naturally occurring radionuclides in work and the natural environment - establishing the problem definition, finding sources and exposure assessment

 the two weeks training course organized by:

Silesian Centre for Environmental Radioactivity

together with Competence Development Centre of the GIG Research Institute.

Place and date of training: Katowice (Poland), 12th to 23rd April 2021 – on-line.


This project has received funding from the Euratom research and training programme 2014-2018 under grant agreement No 900009.


  What the course is about ?

Primordial and cosmogenic natural radioactive elements are found throughout all environmental compartments and they are present elsewhere. They are the source of natural background radiation that in general is not considered to be harmful either to humans or to other organisms. However, selective accumulation of radionuclides caused either by forces of nature or human activity often occurs, leading to significant increases in the amount of the radioactive elements enclosed in some materials. When such materials are exposed to the accessible environment as a result of human activities, exposure to radiation can reach a level that cannot be neglected from the radiation protection point of view.

When considering the origin of natural radioactive elements and their physical properties possible exposure scenarios cover almost all aspects of human everyday life, especially including some industrial activities where naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) are processed. Radon, natural radioactive gas emerging after radium decay is considered by WHO to be the second, after tobacco smoking, agent responsible for lung cancer among whole human population. Since nineties of the twentieth century some efforts have been spent to cope with these problems and the first European regulation were established governing activities involving NORM (Council Directive 96/29/Euratom). In 2013 problems of radiation risk caused by NORM was elucidated to a certain degree by the Council Directive 2013/59/Euratom as well as IAEA recommendations (GSR Part 3) that both cover several NORM occurrence aspects, including not only occupational exposure but also possible NORM interaction with environment. Importance of natural radioactive elements presence in water (among other ones) has been underlined by the European Commission in the Directive Euratom/51/2013, issued in October 2013 related to the monitoring of radioactivity of drinking water supplies. This directive has forced all EU Member States to regularly monitor radioactivity content in drinking water under normal circumstances. Additionally, Council Directive 2013/59/Euratom set as obligatory for Members States monitoring of natural radionuclides activity concentration in building and construction materials.

Ultimately all resultant requirements need not only the assessment of (immediate) exposure to workers as well as members of the public but shall also demonstrate that environmental criteria for long-term human health protection are met. However, general lack of well systematised knowledge in this matter is observed to date. Hence enforcement of appropriate monitoring and management system based on radiation protection principles as justification, optimisation, and dose evaluation into NORM issues needs well justified scientific guidance.


  For whom?

The expected target group are PhD students, researchers with different background involved in NORM and radon investigations, authorities’ representatives, and practitioners from industries of concern. The group of max 16 trainees assure full interaction with lecturers, effective execution of exercises planned and reasonable time for individual/group works results presentation, discussion and final evaluation. The background in nuclear physics, ionising radiation and radiation protection is expected. 


  The programme

The main goal of the proposed training course is to systematise and harmonise RadoNorm team members’ knowledge in the field of natural radioactivity, and create unified, solid foundations for future activities aimed at different aspects on natural radionuclides occurrence. The training course focuses on most aspects related to NORM and radon from the perspective of potential human and overall biota exposure and covers:

  • basic information about NORM, including sources and processes leading to natural radionuclides accumulation,
  • necessary knowledge to understand all mechanisms leading to the situation when natural radionuclides should be considered as a source of radiation risk,
  • clarification of all features of NORM/radon derived radiation risk and identifies differences from radiation risk present in either nuclear industry or medicine,
  • key processes controlling the behaviour of naturally occurring radionuclides in different ecosystems, including basic concepts, variables/parameters and kinetics needed for proper evaluation of existing exposure situation,
  • overview of measurement/monitoring methods with the special attention paid to features and difficulties specific to measurement of natural radionuclides subject to successive decay, results interpretation, and criteria for management decisions,
  • identification of cases of concern, by industry type as well as by technological processes applied,
  • legal context and the inconclusiveness of existing regulation.


  How the classes will be held

The programme combines lectures and practical exercises based on investigation and solutions applied in existing situations, including NORM observatory site at Upper Silesian Coal basin (https://radioecology-exchange.org/content/upper-silesian-coal-basin) as well as individual/group works on course specific topics, multiple choice test and quizzes to facilitate use of theoretical knowledge gathered in future practice.

The training course lasts 2 weeks, consists of 60 hours in total, lectures 39 and exercises/tutorship 21 hours.

Classes will be conducted on-line. Each qualified participant will receive instructions on how to join the classes and to get access to the training course supporting material.


Programme framework

  Important information

  • Course participation is free of charge for participants.
  • The training course is conducted on-line, in English.
  • The deadline for the submission of applications is: March 5th, 2021. Notification of acceptance or rejection will be sent by March12th, 2021 at the latest.
  • A certificate of attendance will be issued at the end of the course.



Participants can register by completing the required documents and submitting them (via e-mail to):


  Required documents:

  • Brief CV
  • Application (Registration) form

Registration Form

  Contact and information:     

Boguslaw Michalik, bmichalik@gig.eu
Place Gwarkow 1, 40-166 Katowice
Phone: 0048 32 259 2380