Consultation on Canadian Guidelines for the Management of Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM)

From: Health Canada

Current status: Closed

This consultation ran from July 27, 2018 to October 1, 2018.

Health Canada, on behalf of the Federal Provincial Territorial Radiation Protection Committee, is revising the Canadian Guidelines for the Management of Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM). We are seeking feedback on the current guidelines before we begin this process.

Who was the focus of this consultation

We engaged with:

  • Industry stakeholders
  • Government stakeholders
  • General public

Key questions for discussion

Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) is made up of radioactive elements found in the environment. These elements have always been present in the earth's crust and within the tissues of all living beings.

Although the concentration of NORM in most natural substances is low, higher concentrations may arise as the result of human activities. For example, the processing of raw materials by many resource-based industries may increase the concentration of NORM to levels at which special precautions are needed to protect workers from radiation exposure.

NORM is regulated by the provinces and territories. The purpose of the guideline is to ensure adequate control of NORM encountered by affected industries and harmonization of radiation protection standards across Canada.

Ideas and inputs were sought around 3 themes/topics:

  • Does the guideline as it currently exists meet the needs of stakeholders?
  • Is there any additional information that should be included?
  • Is the current information relevant?

The input that was gathered through this process will be used to update the guideline.

What we heard

16 individuals from government, industry, and the public submitted comments, which are summarized as follows:

  • Stakeholders pointed out that the document is used by many industries other than those listed in the current guidelines. They recommended making this list broader in the updated guidelines and including more specific detail on the different industries involving NORM.
  • Stakeholders requested more guidance on disposal and waste management of NORM.
  • Stakeholders recommended making the guidelines more practical and easier to use, with less technical (more general) guidance on NORM.
  • Many comments were regulatory in nature, regarding consistency in approach among provincial, territorial and federal regulators.
  • Stakeholders recommended updating references throughout the document, in particular from the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) Publication 126: Radiological Protection against Radon Exposure.
  • Stakeholders suggested several clarifications regarding transportation of NORM.

As a result of the consultation, the revised guidelines will be separated into three volumes:

  • Volume I: Radiation Protection
  • Volume II: Radon
  • Volume III: Transportation of NORM

Related information

Once published, you can view the updated Guidelines for the Management of Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM).

Contact us

Radiological and Nuclear Assessment Section
Radiation Protection Bureau
775 Brookfield Road, AL6302D
Ottawa, ON K1A 1C1

Telephone: 613-954-6647

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