COST TU1301 NORM4Building

European Cooperation in Science and Technology - COST

COST TU1301 NORM4Building action


Governing Board Member, Management Committee Member (2014-2015): Ivica Prlić

Member: Tomislav Bituh

Naturally occurring radionuclides are present in the earth’s crust and the minerals and ores that are then used in industry. Throughout industrial processes, naturally occurring radionuclides can become concentrated in by-products, such as fly ash produced in large quantities from coal burning, slags from steelworks and metal recycling industries, phosphogypsum from the phosphate industry, and red mud from the aluminium processing industry. Depending on the activity concentration, some of these by-products can be considered naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM).

When by-products are investigated for use in construction materials, then many factors have to be evaluated, taking into account the presence of trace elements such as metals and naturally occurring radionuclides. The study of the safe use of by-products in construction requires the involvement of experts from many different fields (construction and chemical engineering, environmental sciences, natural radioactivity, economics, etc.). The COST Action NORM4Building brings together a large variety of experts with different backgrounds in order to handle this type of multidisciplinary research. In total, the NORM4Building network currently (Jan 2017) comprises more than 120 researchers, covering very different fields, from 30 different European countries plus the United States. The main objective of the COST Action TU1301 is the exchange of multidisciplinary knowledge and experience (radiological, technical, economical, legislative, and ecological) in order to investigate and evaluate the use of by-products from industries that encounter NORM in their industrial processes. An important focus is the radiological evaluation of the use of by-products in new types of construction materials that are currently under research. The NORM4Building network develops strategies for the use of NORM residues in ceramics, concrete, and cement with a focus on the use of NORM residues in emerging building materials such as alkali-activated materials (i.e., inorganic polymers). The COST Action NORM4Building has prompted a lot of research in a field where information was lacking to assure that aspects regarding natural radioactivity are taking into consideration for new residue-based construction materials before they are introduced in the market.

The COST network consists of four Working groups and their specific actions:

  • Working group 1: developed of a NORM4Building database with radiological information on raw
    materials, by-products, and construction materials
  • Working group 2: provided a more in-depth discussion on the properties of the by-products that can
    enable or hinder the use in construction materials
  • Working group 3: investigated industrially useful measurement methodologies and protocols for
    the determination of the activity concentration of naturally occurring radionuclides in construction
    materials; also organized intercomparisons
  • Working group 4: developed new research on computational methodologies – room models to evaluate
    and predict indoor gamma dose rates and indoor radon concentrations on the basis of the activity
    concentration, considering the leaching aspects of naturally occurring radionuclides from construction
    materials to evaluate the end of life of NORM containing construction materials. The basis for the
    radiological evaluation of building materials is the new Council Directive 2013/59/EURATOM, laying
    down basic safety standards for protection against the dangers arising from exposure to ionizing

The results of these activities are published in the book: “Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials in Construction“, Integrating Radiation Protection in Reuse (COST Action Tu1301 NORM4BUILDING); ISBN: 9780081020081 (e-version), 9780081020098 (hard copy) (173). The collaboration of the research community on COST NORM4Building project resulted in the establishment of two new research platforms: EAN-NORM and EU-NORM ( More information regarding the project: