Radioactivity in the environment

The Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (DSA) are regularly monitoring and tracking the development of radioactivity in the environment and the population.

The major sources of radioactive contamination in the terrestrial environment are deposition from the Chernobyl accident and nuclear weapons testing in the atmosphere in the 1950s and ‘60s. Additional sources in the marine environment are the nuclear industry abroad and the petroleum industry in the North Sea; however, the levels of radioactive contamination in the sea are generally low.

Radioactive substances can be found everywhere in nature. Most of the radioactivity in the environment has natural sources, such as radioactive isotopes of uranium, potassium and radon.

It’s the DSA's goal that harmful radiation effects to humans and environments should be as low as reasonably achievable. This implies that we should have information about the levels and development of radioactivity in the environment and doses to the population. Knowledge collected through monitoring also provides a basis for the management of radioactivity.