CERAD CoE Consortium at the Annual Meeting at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, 9-10th of February 2017
CERAD CoE Consortium at the Annual Meeting at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, 9-10th of February 2017

CERAD provides scientific knowledge and tools for better protection of people and environment from harmful effects of radiation.

2013 - 2022

The Research Council of Norway

About us

  • The Centre for Environmental Radioactivity (CERAD) studies the harmful effects of radiation on organisms and the ecosystem as a whole, to improve the protection of people and environment.

    CERAD’s fundamental research into sources of radiation, transfer in ecosystems and biological responses provides new insights into the environmental impacts of low radiation (without or in combination with other environmental stressors). In particular, the centre has developed tools and methods to address key uncertainties in risk assessment. A more accurate assessment of the risks from environmental radioactivity will greatly assist their management and mitigation.

    CERAD receives long-term funding (2013-2022) under the Centre of Excellence (CoE) scheme of the Norwegian Research Council. This scheme supports collaboration between scientists through generous funding of ambitious and innovative research projects. The CoEs work on complex problems that require coordinated, multidisciplinairy and long-term research activities to achieve their objectives.

    CERAD is a partnership of NMBU, DSANIVAMET and FHI, based at NMBU.

    CERAD scientists work on research questions such as:

    • What determines the movement of radioactive particles through air and water?
    • What determines the way that radioactive particles are transferred in an ecosystem, and are taken up and accumulated by living organisms?
    • Can effects at the organism level be correlated with responses at the cellular or molecular biomarker level?
    • Can we improve the modelling of transfer and exposure of radioactive particles by taking account of time- and temperature dependent changes? 
    • What is the effect of multiple stressors (ionising radiation, UV and chemical stressors). Are there additive, synergistic or antagonistic effects?
  • CERAD is a partnership of various NMBU departments, DSA, NIVA, FHI and MET, based at the Isotope laboratory of NMBU’s Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management.

    Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)

    Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (DSA)

    Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA)

    Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI)

    Norwegian Meteorological Institute (MET)

    CERAD is supported by an international network of world-leading experts, who collaborate with us on several projects:

    CERAD collaborates with many other research institutes, in Norway and beyond, and participates in international organisations and fora.

    International collaboration

    CERAD's international collaboration
    CERAD's international collaboration Photo: Yevgenia Tomkiv

    National collaboration

    National collaboration on essential elements such as selenium and iodine within husbandry (cows, pigs) is extensive.

    CERAD is a partner in the Fram Center in Tromsø. National collaboration on NORM, especially related to road construction work in alum shale areas, has been strengthened.

  • For all inquirires, please contact CERAD's administration manager:

    • The daily operation of CERAD is in the hands of the Management Group, consisting of directors and administration manager.

      The MG prepares strategic issues, handles significant operations and ensures internal communication. The MG prepares and guides the development of processes and business operations of CERAD. In particular, the MG handles the centre's strategy, budget, major procurements and projects, organisational structure, administration and HR policies.

      Centre Director:

      Research director:

      Educational Director:

      Administration manager:

    • The Board establishes CERAD's strategy and policies, and oversees the centre's activities. All institutions that take part in CERAD are represented on the Board:

      bildet viser Finn-Arne Weltzien 
Universitetsledelsen , NMBU

      Finn-Arne Weltzien

      Pro-rector for Research, NMBU (chair)

      Anne Liv Rudjord DSA

      Anne Liv Rudjord

      Acting Head of Section for Research and Development DSA (deputy chair)

      bildet viser Hans Fredrik Hoen 
Fakultet for miljøvitenskap og naturforvaltning  , NMBU

      Hans Fredrik Hoen

      Dean (NMBU/MINA)

      Christine Instanes

      Christine Instanes


      Tor-Petter Johnsen

      Tor-Petter Johnsen

      Dep. managing director, NIVA

      Lars Anders Breivik

      Lars-Anders Breivik

      Research Director, MET

      Dag Anders Brede

      Dag Anders Brede

      Professor, NMBU

      bildet viser Deborah H Oughton 
Miljøvitenskap (IMV), NMBU

      Deborah Oughton

      Centre Director

    • CERAD is supported by a Scientific Advisory Committee consisting of the following experts:

      Valery Kashparov

      Dr. Valery Kashparov

      Ukrainian Institute of Agric. Radiology (UIAR)

      Clare Bradshow

      Dr. Clare Bradshaw

      University of Stockholm, Sweden

      Thomas Hinton

      Prof. Tom Hinton

      Fukushima University, Japan

      Koen Janssens

      Prof. Koen Janssens

      University of Antwerp, Belgium

      Prof. Colin Seymour

      Prof. Colin Seymour

      McMaster University, Canada

      Prof. Carmel Mothersill, McMaster University, Canada

      Prof. Carmel Mothersill

      McMaster University, Canada

      Janet Bornman

      Prof. Janet Bornman

      Curtin University, Australia

      David Clarke

      Glenn Seaborg Institute, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, (LLNL), USA

    • The Relevance Advisory Committee meets once a year at the CERAD conference. In 2020, the committee consisted of

      • Kristin Frogg, of the Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority  
      • Espen Andresen, of the Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services
      • Anja Polden, of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
      • Ingvild Swensen, of the Ministry of Climate and Environment
  • CERAD consists of dedicated scientists, engineers and administrative staff from different institutes.

    More than 70 scientists, 13 PhD students and 3 Postdocs have collaborated in CERAD. In addition, about 15 guest researchers from other institutions and countries have spent time working at the center.

    Participants of the February 2020 Annual CERAD Conference
    Participants of the February 2020 Annual CERAD Conference Photo: Yevgenya Tomkiv
    • At NMBU

      • The Isotope Laboratory has various instruments to determine gamma-, beta- and alpha-emitting radionuclides.
      • Three Agilent Triple Quadrupole ICP-MS (ICP-QQQ-MS) are available to determine long-lived radionuclides, assess isotope ratios, and a large range of other elements in the periodic table.
      • A Bruker M4 Tornado micro-XRF can provide fast, non-destructive analysis of elemental composition and 2D distribution in a wide range of samples at microscopic spatial resolution.

      At laboratories of our Norwegian partners

      • DSA has additional instruments and methods for determination of gamma-, beta- and alpha-emitting radionuclides

      At laboratories of international collaborators

      • AMS facilities for determinations at very low concentration levels may be utilised at the Australian National University in Canberra and the Centro Acceleradores at the University of Seville in Spain.
    • CERAD has 30 years of experience with speciation and fractionation of radionuclides and other elements in the environment. Equipment available at NMBU for in situ and in lab speciation analysis include the following:

      • Archive of particles (sub-micrometre to millimetre-sized, from different sources, of varying composition, size, crystalline structure and oxidation states)
      • Chromatography-hollow fibre and tangential flow systems, for use in aquatic field expeditions
      • FIFFF-ICP-MS (flow field flow fractionation), to study speciation
      • HPLC-ICP-MS to determine selenium species, including GPx

    • Through collaboration with Norwegian and international research institutes, CERAD has access to the following:

      • ESEM-EDX, TEM, TOF-SIMS, nano-CT, synchrotron radiation nano-and microscopic techniques. A combination of SR techniques (i.e., 2D/3D µ-XRF – elemental distributions, µ-XRD - structure, µ-XANES – oxidation state) has been developed by NMBU and the University of Antwerp in collaboration with synchrotron beamline scientists. These techniques are utilized for particle research at facilities such as PETRA in Germany, and ESRF in France.
      • The Imaging Centre of NMBU is developing a state-of-the-art facility for microscopy (ESEM-EDX, TEM, confocal laser SEM, light microscopy, live cell imaging and spectroscopy (x-ray, RAMAN micro imaging etc). CERAD acts as an important node for the further development of expertise and instrumentation (stereo microscope with micromanipulation, micro-XRF, micro-XRD).
    • At NMBU

      • The low-medium dose gamma radiation exposure facility (Figaro), providing a continuous dose-rate field from 3 Gy/hr down to 400 μGy/hr, and allowing for simultaneous chronic exposure of samples of various test organisms over the whole dose-rate field.
      • The Fish laboratory – transfer and effect experiments on freshwater and marine fish species.
      • The Zebrafish platform– for transfer and effect studies on Zebrafish.
      • Phytotron: greenhouses for experiments on plant uptake and effects.
      • Climate chambers for combined UV and gamma exposure experiments

      At NIPH

      • The Mouse platform– for transfer and effect studies on mice.
    • CERAD has created a toolbox for the systematic interspecies comparison of the harmful effects of chronic exposure to radioactivity, allowing additional stressors such as radionuclides, toxic metals and UV. Model species selected so far include mammals, fish, invertebrates and plants.

      CERAD has created a toolbox for the systematic interspecies comparison of the harmful effects of chronic exposure to radioactivity, allowing additional stressors such as radionuclides, toxic metals and UV. Model species selected so far include mammals, fish, invertebrates and plants.

    • To improve the assessment of impacts and risks from radioactivity, CERAD partners have interfaced several of their models:

      • Models of air/marine transport and real time/historic/future prognostic meteorological data are further developed by MET and DSA.
      • Ecosystem transport models: Advanced fresh water (NIVA) and terrestrial (DSA) models, advanced models on dosimetry (DSA), as well as models of human and wild life food chains (DSA) have been interfaced.
      • Tools for Environmental Risk from Ionising Contaminants: Assessment and Management(ERICA) and Cumulative Risk Assessment (CRA) are used to predict the hazard and risk of single as well as multiple stressors (DSA, NMBU and NIVA).
      • CERAD has so far created two parts of an economic model for consequences of radioactive contamination due to nuclear events: 1) consequences for agriculture and 2) for recreational fisheries.

  • Visitor accommodation in Ås is limited. We can recommend Ås guesthouse, a 15-20 minutes walk from NMBU.

    Alternatively, visitors may stay in Oslo (30 minutes by train), Ski (5 minutes by train or 15 minutes by bus) or Drøbak (25 minutes by bus). Use booking.comhotelopia or hotell.no to find good deals. For hotels in Oslo, make sure that they are close to train station Oslo S/Jernbanetorget or Nationalteatret.


    Oslo Airport to Ås

    There is a direct bus from the airport (Flybussen) that leaves at 10 minutes past the hour, approximately every hour (every two hours on Saturday) and takes about 55 minutes. This is bus F11 to Fredrikstad, leaving in front of the arrival hall. You will get out at the first stop Korsegården. Ask the bus driver to order a taxi from Korsegården busstop to Ås/NMBU. Alternatively, it is an easy 20 minute walk from Korsegården to NMBU.

    Oslo Airport to Oslo

    The airport express train (Flytoget) from Oslo Airport to Oslo S leaves every 10 minutes, and takes ca 20 minutes. Tickets can be bought at the machines, or you can swipe a credit card at the gate. Note: these tickets will only get you to Oslo S; you must buy a separate ticket Oslo to Ås.

    Alternatively, there are local trains from the airport to Oslo: the R11 (towards Skien/Larvik), L12 (towards Kongsberg) and R10 train (towards Drammen). These are less frequent, but are half the price and you can buy a ticket straight from the airport to Ås. Tickets can be bought at machines, with credit card or cash payment. More information can be found on the Ruter website.

    Oslo S to Ås

    From Oslo S, take the L21 train to Ås (the final destination of the train is Moss). These depart every hour at 18 minutes past the hour from platform 9 or 10. The journey takes 29 minutes. You can plan your journey here.

    From Ski to NMBU

    The L21 train leaves Ski for Ås every hour at .42 and takes only 5 minutes. There is also a bus (510 towards Drøbak/Seiersten/Frogn vgs, every 10 minutes). The bus stops at the NMBU campus (the stop is called Universitetet i Ås). The journey takes about 20 minutes.

    From Ås station to NMBU

    The university is a short walk from the train station. A map for walking is found here. One can also get the bus 510 towards Drøbak/Seiersten/Frogn vgs from the nearest bus stop (Ås VGS) and get off at the stop called Universitetet i Ås (see on the map). The Isotope laboratory is in building number 16 on the NMBU campus map.

    Useful links

    Ruter - public transportation in Oslo and Akershus (schedules, prices, etc)

    Flytoget - Airport express train

    Flybussen - Airport bus



  • The Centre for Environmental Radioactivity (CERAD) studies the harmful effects of radiation on organisms and the ecosystem as a whole, to improve the protection of people and environment.

    CERAD's fundamental research into sources of radiation, transfer in ecosystems and biological responses provides new insights into the environmental impacts of low radiation (alone and in combination with other environmental stressors). In particular, the centre has developed tools and methods to address key uncertainties in risk assessment. A more accurate assessment of the risks from environmental radioactivity will greatly assist their management and mitigation.

    Our research encompasses man-made as well as naturally-occurring radionuclides, released in the past or the present. New insights will help to prevent and predict effects of future releases from the nuclear fuel cycle .

    CERAD's Strategic Research Agenda

    The Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) forms the basis for priority setting, organisation and management of personnel, experiments, and equipment within CERAD and was updated in 2017. You can download CERAD's Strategic Research Agenda here (pdf).

    The SRA defines four research areas (RA):

    RA1 SOURCE terms and release scenarios:

    We aim to characterize radionuclides released from different sources, under different release scenarios. This will allow modelling of radionuclide dispersal in air/water and further transfer in the environment.

    RA2 Dynamic Ecosystem TRANSFER:

    We aim to specify how speciation, co-contaminants, climate conditions and biological factors influence radionuclide transfer through ecosystems in a Nordic context.  This will allow for improved modelling of radionuclide movements.

    RA3 Biological RESPONSEs:

    We aim to identify the responses induced in biota exposed to medium - low radiation doses, in combination with other stressors such as UV radiation, metals and antioxidant deficiency, under varying climatic conditions.

    RA4 RISK assessments and ecosystem approach:

    We aim to evaluate and improve the assessment of environmental and societal impact and risk from radiation exposure, and to develop evidence-based decision criteria for handling radiation emergencies.

    See individual descriptions below for details.

    Profilbilder fra Cerad , NMBU Emil Jarosz preparing water fractionation samples from fish experiment in Solbergstrand
    • RA2 aims to improve our understanding of how radionuclides are transferred within aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Both naturally radionuclides as well as transuranic and fission products are in focus. To improve impact assessment models transfer constants based on equilibrium concepts hitherto used are replaced with more environmental realistic dynamic, process-based models.  Such improved characterization of transfer processes (and their variability) reduces uncertainties in predicting radionuclide behaviour.

      To characterise dynamic ecosystem transfer of radionuclides our research specifically focuses on:

      • The mobility of radionuclides, taking speciation into account,
      • The influence of environmental factors on the uptake by and accumulation in organisms
      • The influence of biological factors on the uptake by and accumulation in organisms including the use of extrapolation approaches like ‘phylogenetic’ analysis,

      RA2 links with all other RAs : transfer is on inputs from Source Term and Release Scenarios (RA1),  studying transfer occurs in tandem with Biological response (RA3) to quantify external and internal exposures, and transfer forms an integral part of Risk Assessment (RA4).

      A large part of data are collected during field work in Norway and in many other locations globally, both at  high natural background and contaminated sites.  Furthermore, controlled experiments are conducted under laboratory and field conditions and findings are compared with those from well described, contaminated areas to derive parameters and validate (dynamic) models.  

    • Since 2013, RA2 has focused on improving models towards a more dynamic approach instead of assuming steady-state, and to link speciation, mobility, transfer and biological uptake to effects in environmental organisms (RA3).

      The prevailing view is that further substantial progress can be made by parameterizing and validating (dynamic) models under controlled, experimental conditions and by comparative studies of areas with well described contamination. The key priorities for RA2 includes:

      • Characterize the transfer of radionuclides under field conditions, identifying factors (physico-chemical, biological etc.) that influence the dynamics of transfer (e.g., observatory sites, field tracer studies). Thus, future studies within contaminated sites (observatory sites) such as Chernobyl and Fukushima, and NORM sites will be important to characterize transfer to both aquatic and terrestrial organism groups. Alongside field studies, controlled field experiments will be performed; 1) Controlled aquatic field experiment in contaminated lakes to study uptake and depuration rates of radionuclides in aquatic organisms, and 2) Controlled tracer field experiments to simulate deposition of I-131 and other RN/elements on agricultural land and study tracer redistribution between biological compartments.
      • Investigate climate change impacts on transfer of radionuclides (characterize transfer at different temperatures) in different ecosystems and characterize transformation processes affecting radionuclides and stable analogues in aquatic mixing zones or estuaries where changes in speciation occurs, having major influence on biological uptake and effects.
      • Quantify the effects of radionuclide speciation on dynamic uptake and biological half-life under controlled laboratory conditions (e.g., Kd, CR, TF/TC/Tag, BCR, tissue distribution and protein interaction). Thus, toxicokinetic studies in aquatic and terrestrial organisms will be prioritized to identify the impact of environmental parameters and competing ions along with studies of internal distribution in environmental organisms.
      • Further development of models which describe the dynamics of transfer within different ecosystems and accounting for the findings (e.g., ERICA dynamic tool).
      • Perform comparative investigations related to speciation, mobility and biological uptake as observed in Chernobyl and Fukushima

      There are close connections between these priorities, and the model set up will be used in the experimental design: identifying what are the important parameters required by the model and how might these be derived through experimentation. The models can be used to make predictions and these can be tested through lab experiments and field observation. These considerations still hold true for the next 5 years.

    • Fieldwork:

      Several fieldwork campaigns have been arranged to characterise radionuclides/stable analogues and key influencing factors:

      • NORM sites: focused on both Uranium-rich sites (i.e. sites with alum shale) and the Thorium-rich Fen site in Norway.
      • Various sites in Norway – Tjøtta, Jotunheimen, Vikedal, TOV (NINA’s terrestrial monitoring sites)
      • Sites contaminated after nuclear accidents: Chernobyl (Ukraine), Fukushima (Japan) and Palomares (Spain), and sites in Norway with fallout from accidents, all characterised by different source terms and ecosystem transfer.
      • Objects; sunken nuclear submarines in the Kara, Barents and Norwegian Sea, and dumped radioactive material in the Kara Sea.

      In addition, samples are received from partners world-wide.

      Model experiments: 

      Several model experiments in the laboratory and controlled experiments in the field have been performed to obtain information on:

      • Key factors influencing speciation (UV; pH, complexing ligands etc.)
      • Bioavailability and uptake of radionuclides in different organisms at different life stages
      • Tissue distributions of radionuclides
      • Uptake rates of radionuclides directly from the water and via diet from primary producers to primary and secondary consumers
      • the effects of radionuclide speciation on dynamic uptake and biological half-life under controlled laboratory conditions (e.g., Kd, CR, TF/TC/Tag, BCR, tissue distribution and protein interaction).
      • Depuration rates of radionuclides and body retention time
      • Field tracer experiments to simulate deposition and redistribution of Iodine and strontium in agricultural systems
      • Impact of environmental factors (competing ions, pH, temperature etc) and mixture effects with other stressors e.g., trace metals


      • Several publications in international peer review journals, reports/ proceeding
      • Key factors such as pH, complexing ligands, UV and ionic strength have been identified to influence radionuclide speciation and bioavailability
      • Analyses of transportation and uptake of Cs and Sr in the Chernobyl exclusion zone (Bondar et al., 2015), Cs in Scandinavian wolf, Lynx and wolverine (Gjelsvik et al., 2016)
      • Field experiments demonstrate that uptake and depuration rates of Cs and Sr in fish are season dependent
      • Distribution of I-129 in sediment-freshwater and fish have been determined; Comparison between results from Fukushima and Chernobyl have been made
      • The link between bioaccumulation and effects differs between life stages and radionuclides
      • Concentrations, speciation and uptake of NORM (U and Po) and metals from alum shale (Road and Tunnel Construction areas) have been determined
      • Elemental distributions at a reference site in Norway were characterised (Thørring et al., 2016); Whole body concentration ratios (CRs) for all Reference Animal Plant (RAP)-element combinations were quantified. Selected data were described for each RAP with information about the importance of various organs/tissues on the whole-body concentration (or CR) for vertebrates and crabs


      • A new version of a risk assessment tool (ERICA) to determine the impact of radionuclides on the environment has been developed drawing upon development made in RA2/UMB2 (Brown et al., 2016).
      • Dynamic models for predicting the transfer of radionuclides in terrestrial and marine systems have been developed and applied to actual releases from the Fukushima-Daiichi accident (Strand et al., 2014) and to hypothetical accidents involving dumped nuclear objects (e.g. the Russian submarine K-27) in the Arctic.
      • An ‘Extrapolation approach’ based upon a phylogenetic analysis has been developed to predict radionuclide transfer to marine organisms although subsequent testing showed low efficacy.
      • Ongoing studies on reindeer in the Jotunheimen area of Norway has allowed transfer to be modelled accounting for spatial and temporal factors.
      • Studies on Iodine in cow and uranium in fish have generated data allowing the modelling of dynamic tissue distribution
      • The types of dynamic models that have been developed and applied in CERAD have generally drawn upon generic parameter values
    • Key papers:

      Strand P., Sundell-Bergman S., Brown J.E., Dowdall M. (2017). On the divergence in assessment of environmental impacts from ionising radiation following the Fukushima accident. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity 169–170, 159-173.

      Brown, J.E., Alfonso, B., Avila, R., Beresford, N.A., Copplestone, D., Hosseini A. (2016). A new version of the ERICA tool to facilitate impact assessments of radioactivity on wild plants and animalsJournal of Environmental Radioactivity 153, 141-148.

      Thørring, H., Brown, J.E., Aanensen, L., Hosseini, A. (2016). Tjøtta – ICRP reference site in Norway. Strålevern Rapport 2016:9. Østerås: Statens strålevern.

      Gjelsvik, R., et al. Organ distribution of 210Po and 137Cs in lynx (Lynx lynx), wolverine (Gulo gulo) and wolves (Canis lupus). II International Conference On Radioecological Concentration Processes (50 years later), November 2016, Seville, Spain.

      Bondar, Y.I., Nenashev, R.A., Kalinichenko, S.A., Marchenko, Y.D., Dowdall, M., Standring, W.J.F., Brown, J., Pettersen, M.N., Skipperud, L., Zabrotski, V.N. (2015). The distribution of 137Cs, 90Sr, and 241Am in waterbodies of different origins in the Belarusian part of Chernobyl exclusion zoneWater, Air and Soil Pollution 226(3), 63.

      Strand, P., Aono T., Brown, J.E., Garnier-Laplace, J., Hosseini, A., Sazykina, T., Steenhuisen, F., Vives i Batlle, J. (2014). Assessment of Fukushima-derived radiation doses and effects on wildlife in Japan. Environmental Science & Technology Letters 1 (3), 198-203. 



  • CERAD offers an attractive research environment for education and training. We aim to deliver internationally competitive degree holders within radioecology and ecotoxicology.

    Providing education is an important part of CERAD’s activities. The EU Commission, national authorities, the nuclear industry and research institutes need post-graduates in radiochemistry, radioecology, environmental modelling, radiation protection, radiobiology and dosimetry. The training programme at NMBU and collaborating universities is to provide this future workforce. We consider networking during education crucial for future employment opportunities and stimulate that students interact with research projects, potential employers and the wider radioecology community.

    Radioecology is a two-year, Bologna-accredited MSc programme (120 ECTS) and is the only one of its kind in Europe. Apart from CERAD staff, experts from other European as well as North American institutions teach on our courses. In the first year, compulsory and optional courses are offered. The main ones focus on radioecology, radiochemistry and ecotoxicology (see full list of courses in the column on the right). All courses are taught in English and are run as blocks, to make it easier for students from abroad to attend only selected ones. In the second year, MSc students work on research questions associated with CERAD’s projects.

    The MSc programme is hosted at NMBU, where students can take all courses required for the degree. However, students may also obtain credits from courses at specified collaborating universities and other collaborating institutions.

    The PhD course in Environmental Radiobiology (MINA 410) aims to give students an introduction of the fundamental principles of radiobiology, within the context of research on radioecology and the environmental effects of radiation. The course covers up-to-date knowledge about the biological effects of radiation on humans, including recent epidemiological studies, as well as how research into bystander and non-targeted effects are challenging established paradigms on mechanisms of radiation effects. Areas covered include fundamental radiobiology, biological responses to ionising radiation, the use of biomarkers and toxicogenomics, factors linked to differences in radiation sensitivity, non-targeted effects (bystander, genomic instability, adaptive response, etc.) and multiple stressors.

    So far, 14 PhD students have completed their PhD education with CERAD and a further 16 PhD defences are expected in the coming years. 11 PostDocs have been or still are part of CERAD.

    Director of education:

  • CERAD is co-organizing a field course in Ukraine on June 2018. The aim of the course is to obtain practical skills of working in radiation-contaminated territories like Chernobyl exclusion zone (ChEZ), through solving actual problems in radiation ecology.

    During the couse participants are expected to work on the following problems:

    1. Forest fires in ChEZ: risk and consequences estimation, developing recommendations for prevention.
    2. Nuclear power plant cooling pound drainage: estimation on the influence on environment, providing recommendations for further implementation.

    Participants are expected to choose problems (either (1) or (2)), and to contribute to a group report on one of the topics, that will be given in a further synopsis.


    You will be able to get 5 ECTS credit points from this course.

    Location and time frame

    Overall course duration will be two weeks, including:

    • lectures in UIAR labs, preparation for a field trip;
    • fieldtrip to Chernobyl exclusion zone, working on the chosen research topic;
    • lectures in UIAR labs, preparation of a course report.

    If you are

    Master or PhD student;

    interested in studying environmental problems of nuclear power and how to overcome the consequences of Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents;

    We encourage you to apply!

    Travel and accommodation for NUBiP and NMBU students will be covered by CPEA-2015/10108 project.  

    Participants are asked to bring their laptops;

    How to apply

    In order to apply for the course, please fill in the registration form. Application deadline is May 25th 2018!

    Contact persons

    Looking forward to meeting you in Kiev!

  • Training and education of young researchers is an important task for CERAD. Radioecology is a multidisciplinary science and provides students with a wide range of career opportunities. Here are some MSc projects we propose. All topics are available in both Norwegian and English.

    • Contact person: Ole Christian Lind - ole-christian.lind@nmbu.no

      One of the main objectives of CERAD is to characterize radionuclides released from different sources under different release scenarios with respect to physico-chemical forms, and to use such information to better determine the potential implication for air/water dispersal and further environmental transfer through development of integrated models.

      Several master projects are possible, for example but not limited to:

      • characterization of nanometer-micrometer sized radioactive particles using techniques such as digital autoradiography, electron microscopy and micro X-ray fluorescence
      • source identification of radionuclides such as uranium or plutonium in water, soil, sediment or biota by means of alpha and mass spectrometry
      • sequential extraction of radionuclides and trace elements to determine potential mobility and bioavailability.
    • Contact person: Hans-Christian Teien, Lindis Skipperud - hans-christian.teien@nmbu.no; lindis.skipperud@nmbu.no

      The overall objective is to improve the parameterisation of radionuclide transfer in the environment through a systematic implementation of dynamic approaches and to refine extrapolation methods. The initial strategy involved the formulation of three research themes encompassing bespoke research questions and hypotheses. It was anticipated that addressing these themes would facilitate a reduction in uncertainty and allow better characterization of variability in the parameters defining radionuclide transfer. The research focused especially on:

      • Mobility of radionuclides, taking speciation into account;
      • Uptake and accumulation in organisms - influence of environmental factors, and
      • Uptake and accumulation in organisms - influence of biological factors,
        covering naturally occurring radionuclides as well as transuranics and fission products.

      Thus, this work might include field work performed in Norway or other countries, and is focused on improved understanding of dynamic transfers in relation to aquatic ecosystems and terrestrial ecosystems, to replace transfer constants based on equilibrium concepts with time functions.

    • Contact person: Ole Christian Lind - ole-christian.lind@nmbu.no

      To assess environmental impact of radioactive contamination of ecosystems, information on the source term (including the isotopic composition and radionuclide speciation) and ecosystem characteristics is needed. A major fraction of refractory radionuclides released from nuclear sources such as nuclear weapons tests and reactor accidents will be present as radioactive particles. To assess the impact of radioactive particle contamination of the ecosystem and to implement cost-efficient measures, information is needed on particle characteristics and on the behaviour of particles and associated radionuclides in the ecosystem.

      The main objective is to identify, isolate and analyse environmental low level radioactive particles from soil and sediments contaminated by different sources (e.g. Europe, Central Asia, North America, Polar regions). Evaluation criteria are:

      • Identification of particles containing radionuclides and various metals
      • Determine size, structure and elemental composition of particles using nano- and microanalytical techniques
      • Spatial distribution of radionuclides such as U and fission products in soil, sediment or biota using digital autoradiography and nano- and microanalytical techniques
      • Determination of bioconcentration factors
      • Identification of possible effects

      Methods to be used are typically: light microscopy, alpha-,beta-, gamma-detectors, scanning electron microscopy with x-ray microanalysis (ESEM-EDX), micro-x-ray fluorescence, gamma spectrometry, radiochemical separations, alpha spectrophotometry and/or ICP-MS. Lab experiments will be performed at NMBU.

      NB! Shorter or longer stays in Ukraine to participate in courses or laboratory experiments in Kiev and/or field work in the Chernobyl exclusion zone is possible through a SiU project that can cover the costs.

      Radiochemistry, inorganic and/or analytical chemistry

    • Contact person: Master med Mening, Ingeniører Uten Grenser - nmbu.master@iug.no

      Master med Mening er et prosjekt i regi av Ingeniører Uten Grenser (IUG), der formålet er at studenter kan skrive sin mastergrad med fokus på humanitære utfordringer. Programmet er hovedsakelig rettet mot studenter som tar en grad innen realfag, teknologi eller naturvitenskap, og som ønsker å skrive en master med bistandsfokus. Det finnes utfordringer innen mange ulike fagfelt knyttet til bistandsarbeid, og her kan masterstudenter bidra med fagkunnskap fra studiene til noen som virkelig har behov for det.

      Det finnes et bredt spekter av temaer det går an å skrive masteroppgave om, og eksempler er solenergi, bioenergi fra ulike kilder og ressurser i kretsløp. Problemstillingen kan spisses til hvilket ønske og hvilken studieretning man går.

      For mer informasjon, og mer spesifikke oppgaver og organisasjoner dette kan gjøres i samarbeid med, ta en titt på http://www.iug.no/nmbu/mastermedmening/, eller send en mail til nmbu.master@iug.no, så hjelper vi gjerne til med å finne en oppgave som passer deg.

    • Contact person: Ole Christian Lind, Sondre Meland og Elisabeth S. Rødland - ole-christian.lind@nmbu.no

      Road-Associated Microplastic Particles (RAMP) are identified as one of the biggest sources to microplastic pollution in the aquatic environment. There are mainly three sources from roads; tire wear particles, road paint particles and polymer modified bitumen in asphalt. These particles are washed off from the roads during rain events. In addition, they are discharged into the environment during washing of tunnels. The amount of RAMP discharged to the environment is based on estimates of e.g. weight loss between a new tire and an old used tire. Real chemical analyses of RAMP in environmental samples are unfortunately lacking. New analytical tools are therefore warranted to better identify and quantify RAMP in environmental samples. The main objective of the work is to explore the possibility to use elements as a proxy for RAMP in environmental samples such as tunnel wash water, sediment from treatment systems and biota. Methods to be used are typically: micro-x-ray fluorescence and/or ICP-MS. The project will require both field work and laboratory work. The laboratory work will be conducted at NMBU and NIVA. 

      Inorganic and/or analytical chemistry


      Contact person: Hans-Christian Teien - hans-christian.teien@nmbu.no

      In July 2019, a research cruise to “Komsomolets” was carried out using the advanced Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Ægir 6000. The expedition was organized under the Joint Norwegian Russian Expert Group for investigation of radioactive contamination in Northern Areas. Using the ROV, the condition of “Komsomolets” was visually documented and samples of seawater, sediment and biota were taken around the submarine. Onboard analyses of seawater indicate that releases from the reactor are still occurring 30 years after “Komsomolets” sank. Samples collected during the expedition will be further analyzed in the laboratory. The objectives of the MSc project are to study some collected samples and perform sequential extraction of sediments to identify the activity concentration and the mobility of radionuclides.

      Analytical chemistry

    • Contact person: Hans-Christian Teien - hans-christian.teien@nmbu.no


      Radionuclides and metal could be present in different species, e.q., linked to humic substances or present as ions in water. The free ions of radionuclides are more bioavailable while radionuclides/trace metals linked to humic substances or clay are less reactive.

      In estuaries freshwater and salt water are mixed. When freshwater is mixed with seawater pH will change, the ionic strength will increase and the concentration of radionuclide/ trace elements in the freshwater will be diluted. In the estuarine mixing zone radionuclides associated with humic substances in fresh water could be mobilized due to the increases in concentration of Na, Ca and Mg in the estuary, but high concentration of ions will also cause aggregation of colloidal material and increased sedimentation. Increased mobilization of radionuclides/trace metals cause increased uptake in organism and negative effects. It is important to obtain more knowledge on changes in speciation of radionuclides and trace elements in estuaries for environmental risk assessment. The work are in collaboration prodject between MINA/CERAD, Institute of marine reseach and Norwegian meteorological Institute. Results will be used to improve existing transport models.

      • Determine level and speciation of radionuclides in freshwater
      • Determine dynamic transfer of water speciation by changes in key influencing parameters to parameterize models

      • Take part in fieldwork august 2020
      • Collection of river water and fjord water at increasing distance from the point of mixing
      • Characterize mixing by measure salinity
      • Determine speciation using in situ fractionation before ICP-MS.

      Analytical chemistry

  • If you would like to study at NMBU as a part of your MSc or PhD program in radioecology/environmental radioactivity, your travel and subsistence  may be covered by CERAD through the SIU project. 

    You can participate in intensive (1-3 weeks) or semester courses, perform parts of your MSc research at NMBU or have a research visit to Norway (for PhD students). All our courses are given in English. Travel and subsistence are covered by the project.

    NMBU has an agreement with the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine (NUBIP) in Kiev and has cooperated with Ukrainian researchers for over 30 years. The focus of our joint studies has been the impact of the Chernobyl accident.

    Please contact Ole Christian Lind ole-christian.lind@nmbu.no if you are interested!

    The Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education (SIU) is a public Norwegian agency promoting international cooperation in education and research. SIU is a governmental body under the Ministry of Education and Research.

    SIU supports mobility of students and researchers, development of courses, educational programs, organization of workshops and seminars.

    Participants of the Risk Assessment course (KJM360) in June 2017
    Participants of the Risk Assessment course (KJM360) in June 2017 Photo: Private
  • Would you like to study at the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine (NUBIP) in Kiev as a part of your MSc or PhD program on radioecology/environmental radioactivity? Your travel and subsistence may be covered by CERAD through the SIU project. 

    You can participate in intensive (1-3 weeks) or semester courses, perform parts of your MSc research at NUBIP or have a research visit to Ukraine (for PhD students). Our SIU project may be able to cover your travel, accomodation and other costs.

    NUBIP provides the following courses:

    • Agricultural Radiobiology and Radioecology (5 ECTS)
    • Veterinary Radiobiology (5 ECTS)
    • Experimental Radioecology and Radiobiology (10 ECTS)
    • Sampling and measurement of activity (10 ECTS)
    • Forest radioecology (5 ECTS)

    You can also participate in our joint fieldcourse “Experimental Radioecology and Radiobiology”, which includes a 3-day visit to the Chernobyl exclusion zone. It is an intensive two-week course organized in June each year.

    NMBU has cooperated with researchers from the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine (NUBIP) in Kiev for over 30 years. The focus of our joint studies has been on the impact of the Chernobyl accident. Thanks to this collaboration, we can offer the unique opportunity to perform research within the Chernobyl exclusion zone. There are possibilities for exciting fieldwork and interesting experiments, so do not hesitate to contact us!

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