Regional Reports December 2022

Category: Our People

  13 Dec 2022

New South Wales

Susan Wilson NSW Regional Representative

ANSTO Environmental Toxicology and Radioecology team; Tom Cresswell (

Team members Tom Cresswell, Danielle Hill and Amy MacIntosh travelled to Oslo, Norway in September 2022 to attend the International Conference on Radioecology and Environmental Radioactivity (ICRER).  Tom presented an overview of the management of Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) during offshore oil and gas infrastructure decommissioning.  His presentation highlighted the need for greater collaboration with radioecologists to provide increased certainty to risk assessments for decommissioning.  Tom’s attendance at the conference was supported by the 2022 SPERA Malcolm Cooper Memorial Award.  Danielle presented results from lab studies examining the bioaccumulation and retention of 134Cs and 85Sr from solution by Australian native tadpoles including the changes to the biodistribution of these radionuclides during metamorphosis.  Amy presented the results of her recent paper (see below) on biota dose modelling of NORMs from subsea pipeline scale.

(From left) Amy, Danielle and Tom enjoying the face-to-face networking opportunities at the ICRER 2022 conference in Oslo, Norway.

Francesca Gissi recently joined the ANSTO Environment Research Theme group in an ongoing role as a Research Scientist – Geochemistry.  Francesca will be continuing work on the Offshore Infrastructure Decommissioning Project, generating data to assess the risk of mercury to marine biota from this source.   Francesca will also be working on the Sites and Soils Project generating a greater understanding of the fate of contaminants from legacy waste sites.

ANSTO Graduate Alexandra Boyd has commenced her third rotation as part of the Graduate Program and will spend 50% of her time with our team on the Offshore Infrastructure Decommissioning Project and 50% of her time with the leader of the Australian Centre for Neutron Scattering (ACNS), Dr Jamie Schulz.

Amy has made progress with developing analytical methods to determine Ra, Th, Pb and Po in marine biota tissues with colleagues from ANSTO’s low level radiation monitoring team.  Please contact Amy ( if you would like to discuss these techniques further.  Amy was invited to represent ANSTO and Australia (as a Member State of the International Atomic Energy Agency) at the Biennial Forum on NORM Management and Remediation, held in Vienna. She gave a presentation on the research and collaborations from our Offshore Decommissioning team. We hope to participate in future forums and conferences in this space where we can translate our research into decision-making and international binding policy for NORM management.

Amy and Tom were awarded a few days to visit the Australian Synchrotron located in Melbourne. They used the XFM beamline to investigate the radiological components of pipe scale through high-resolution elemental mapping and are gaining new insights into the incorporation of NORMs in barite scale (see below).

Elemental map of a cross section of barium (Ba) sulfate pipe scale using x-ray fluorescence microscopy (XFM) at the Australian Synchrotron.  Impurities in strontium (Sr) growth within the barite matrix are clearly visible

Danielle recently returned from South Carolina in the USA, where she completed a six-month field study as part of her Fulbright Scholarship.  Danielle was investigating the bioaccumulation of radionuclides and metals by juvenile amphibians in contaminated wetlands downstream of the Savannah River Site (see image).  Watch this space for the publication from Danielle’s study!

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Danielle Hill at the Savannah River site setting up chambers for juvenile amphibian exposure at a reference site.


The group are keen to collaborate with other SETAC-AU members on novel studies assessing the risk of various forms of mercury and naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORMs) from subsea oil and gas pipelines to marine organisms.  The team are having regular discussions with regulators of offshore oil and gas operations in Australia, who urgently need data on the potential effects of chronic exposure to low radiological doses (from NORMs) and mercury to marine organisms, especially benthic organisms.  We have a range of projects available for Honours, Masters and PhD projects. Please contact Tom to discuss further.

New publications from the group:

  1. Gissi, F., Koppel, D., Boyd, A., Kho, F., von Hellfeld, R., Higgins, S., Apte, S., Cresswell, T., 2022. A review of the potential risks associated with mercury in subsea oil and gas pipelines in Australia. Environmental Chemistry; (IF = 4.2).
  2. MacIntosh, A., Koppel, D.J., Johansen, M.P., Beresford, N.A., Copplestone, D., Penrose, B., Cresswell, T., 2022. Radiological risk assessment to marine biota from exposure to NORM from a decommissioned offshore oil and gas pipeline. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity 251-252, 106979. (IF = 2.7).
  3. Patch, D., O'Connor, N., Koch, I., Cresswell, T., Hughes, C., Davies, J. B., Scott, J., O'Carroll, D. and Weber, K. (2022). Elucidating degradation mechanisms for a range of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) via controlled irradiation studies. Science of The Total Environment: 154941 DOI: (IF = 9.9).

CSIRO Environment, Lucas Heights, Contaminant Effects and Risk Assessment Team (Lisa Golding

On 1 December 2022, CSIRO Land and Water business unit amalgamated with CSIRO Ocean and Atmosphere business unit to become the Environment business unit. The science continues as usual and the move will promote more internal collaboration as well as make life easier for external clients to access our expertise from one instead of two business units.

Lisa Golding had a week of fieldwork on Norfolk Island in August to assist the CSIRO groundwater team with collecting surface water and groundwater samples for determining potential inputs of contaminants into the Kingston Bay area. Lisa is also managing the Norfolk Island marine water quality monitoring program to develop site-specific guidelines that will protect the coral reef and marine ecosystem.

The last 6 months have been busy for Jenny Stauber, attending three international workshops (both virtually and face-to-face) now that international travel has resumed.  In May, she was involved in a workshop to develop relevance and quality criteria for exposure datasets (CREED). While data quality criteria schemes exist for ecotoxicity data (e.g., ANZG, Klimisch, CRED) there is no current equivalent for exposure data.  The outputs from the workshop will be published as 4 papers mid next year.

Jenny was also part of the steering committee organising and attending a SETAC workshop to incorporate climate change into ecological risk assessment in Oslo, Norway in June. The venue was Oscarsborg Fortress on a small island in the fjord just south of Oslo.  The trip was only marred by a terrorist shooting one evening 100 m from her hotel in Oslo, and the fact that 10 of 20 participants (including Jenny) caught COVID, and with missed connections, made for a rough 40-h trip home.

Jenny’s trip to Annapolis, Washington DC in August was fortunately much less eventful.  She presented at an invited workshop on climate change and risks for the metals industries, as part of her role on the International Metals Associations’ Ecotoxicity Technical Advisory Panel (ETAP). She also gave virtual presentations on her recent project on deep sea mine tailings placement, as part of the State Key Centre for Marine Pollution, City U Hong Kong’s Distinguished Lecture Series and also for EnviSMART, Melbourne in July.

Jenny was also able to celebrate her induction as a fellow into the Australian Academy of Science at an official in-person ceremony at the Shine Dome in Canberra after receiving confirmation of her acceptance in 2020.

Gwil Price, our PhD student who is working on our IZA funded zinc project, moved to Hobart to take up a part-time role with the Australian Antarctic Division.  Gwil is currently at Casey Station in Antarctica (for the second time) over summer.  See the photo - is this really work?