Radioactivity in manganese nodules

Statement of the SG MMR on radioactivity in manganese nodules

A recent publication draws attention to the natural radioactivity of manganese nodules and possible health risks associated with improper handling of the nodules in the laboratory, as well as with large-scale processing of the nodules in the context of possible future deep-sea mining (Volz et al. 2023, Nature Scientific Reports). 

Research institutions in Germany and around the world have long been involved in the scientific study of manganese nodules. In the Marine Mineral Resources Strategy Group of the German Marine Research Consortium (KDM), leading scientists from German research institutions are in regular dialogue on all topics related to the mineral resources of the deep sea. 

As the above-mentioned publication has led to uncertainty among experts and the general public regarding the health risks associated with handling manganese nodules, the Strategy Group has taken a position on the topic of "Radioactivity in manganese nodules" in the attached paper.