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Monitoring of radioactivity in the environment and foodstuffs

Radioactive pollution of our environment may have health consequences. The Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority carries out annual monitoring of nature, food and radiation doses received by the population in order to chart the concentrations of radioactivity and follow trends over time.

Winter landscape (Photo: NRPA).

Such monitoring is currently tripartite:

Marine monitoring
In 1993 the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority, financed by the Ministry of Fisheries, initiated systematic monitoring of Norwegian fish. In 1999 this was expanded into a marine monitoring programme, financed by the Ministry of the Environment, to chart trends in radioactive pollution of water, sediments, fish and other important marine species. In addition the Fisheries Directorate, the Norwegian Food Control Authority cooperate in a monitoring programme for radioactivity in fish.

Terrestrial monitoring
In 2001 the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority initiated a programme for terrestrial monitoring of radioactive pollution at the request of, and financed by, the Ministry of the Environment. The object of the monitoring programme is to document the scope of radioactive pollution of the environment with emphasis on levels and trends over time, and any environmental consequences thereof.

Monitoring of food
Since the Chernobyl disaster, extensive monitoring of radioactive contamination in foodstuffs such as dairy products, sheep, reindeer, game, wild mushrooms and freshwater fish has been performed. This work is performed as a collaborative venture by the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority.