MSc projects

Are you a chemistry, physics or biology fan? We have something for everyone! All master projects are available in both Norwegian and English.

Radioactivity in the environment: source terms and release scenarios

Contact person: Ole Christian Lind -

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.

Mobility, biological uptake and transport of radionuclides 

Contact person: Hans-Christian Teien, Lindis Skipperud -;

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.

Characterisation of radioactive particles from different nuclear sources wityh advanced techniques 

Contact person: Ole Christian Lind -

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

Master's with Meaning

Contact person: Master med Mening, Ingeniører Uten Grenser -

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, eller send en mail til, så hjelper vi gjerne til med å finne en oppgave som passer deg.

Developing methods to quantify microplasts from roads and traffic  

Contact person: Ole Christian Lind, Sondre Meland og Elisabeth S. Rødland -

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 -

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

Mobilisation of radionuclides/tracemetals mixing of river water with coastal saltwater

Contact person: Hans-Christian Teien -


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


Published 28. September 2017 - 12:59 - Updated 25. November 2020 - 9:44