Hunt for radioactivity in Salangen

Many geological surveys have been performed at Orrefjell due to the presence of uranium-bearing minerals here. But little is known about the transfer of radionuclides to plants and animals. Doses to man in the areas with enhanced natural radioactivity may be effected by food, but the larger dose is most often related to exposure to radon. Case Orrefjell will map the radon exposure to humans living in the area of interest. These measurements will be related to geological surveys of the same area to improve the national susceptibility map for radon. It will also evaluate the potential for radionuclide uptake in wildlife and farm animals from this NORM rich area.

The project is led by NRPA with NMBU, NORUT, NGU and Sjøvegan High school as partners. The project directly involves students at Sjøvegan High School is an important input to the project and for the increased knowledge about NORM and radon in this area. In September 2016, students participated in the fieldwork at Orrefjell, where they sampled earthworms to study the transfer of radioactivity to wildlife. They also helped developing and distributing a questionnaire, which would assess the knowledge local people have about radioactivity and their risk perceptions. Effects on humans are largely related to their behavior and responses to information. It is therefore important to survey their perception of governmental information by the local residents and how/if this may change their behavior.

Cooperation with local inhabitants was a good experience for Case Orrefjell. It is a fun, although not quite usual method, but it showed to be useful for both researchers and students.

Project received some coverage in the local media. Publications can be found here.

Published 24. November 2016 - 13:43 - Updated 10. May 2017 - 9:38

Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)

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