Environmental Monitoring

Gamma-spectrometry and background radiation

Azecolab ISO 17025 accreditation scope includes gamma-spectrometry analysis and background radiation measurement methods. Our procedures are based on globally recognized methods and our specialists have international qualification and great experience in these services. We have partnership agreements with International Atomic Energy Agency and Institute of Radiation Problems (ANAS) and our specialists participate in conferences and workshops organized by these organizations.

Azecolab participates in proficiency testing schemes for radionuclides and 100% of our results are successfully.

NORM (Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material) assessment services

Azecolab participates as a laboratory in NORM assessment services.

The purpose and scope of NORM assessment

Almost all naturally occurring materials contain radionuclides from the primordial decay chains (for example, uranium-238, uranium-235, thorium-232 and their daughter products radium-226 and radium-228), plus some individual long-lived radionuclides such as potassium-40. Extraction and/or processing of minerals containing these materials results waste containing such radionuclides. Often the processing can enhance the concentration of the NORM in the waste as compared with the original material. The extraction and processing of minerals usually involves large volumes of material and the resulting waste is also present in large volumes which are usually left on the earth’s surface. Human exposure to radionuclides from such waste piles can occur as a result of gaseous emanation from the waste (radon-222) or as a result of the leaching by rainfall of radionuclides from the waste into water courses and, possibly, food chains.

There are a variety of situations involving NORM that require potential radiation doses to be assessed, they include:

  • surface storage of residues from the extraction and processing of minerals;
  • remediation of NORM-containing waste piles; and
  • the use of NORM-containing waste for backfilling, building materials, road construction etc.

In all of these situations there is a need to understand the present and future behavior of the radionuclides which may be released from NORM so that steps can be taken to ensure that humans are adequately protected from exposure to radiation. Because of the long-lived nature of many of the radionuclides, the assessments must be carried out over long times into the future.