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What do Workers in the Field Need to Know About NORM/TENORM Alan Fellman, Ph.D., C.H.P. Dade Moeller & Associates, Inc.

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Presentation on theme: "What do Workers in the Field Need to Know About NORM/TENORM Alan Fellman, Ph.D., C.H.P. Dade Moeller & Associates, Inc."— Presentation transcript:

1 What do Workers in the Field Need to Know About NORM/TENORM Alan Fellman, Ph.D., C.H.P. Dade Moeller & Associates, Inc.

2 Outline Definitions Sources and types of NORM/TENORM NORM Regulations Oil and Gas Industry NORM Wastes NORM/TENORM Radiation Safety December 2-3, 2014

3 NORM as a Public Health Issue and a Public Perception Issue Basic interactions of people and their environment Must understand, assess, and control –Impacts of people on their environment –Impacts of the environment on people Oil and Hydraulic Fracturing waste may contain radioactive materials  What are these materials?  When is this a concern?  When/how is it regulated? December 2-3, 2014

4 Definitions NORM: Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material – U, Th, Ra, Rn, etc. or if you prefer: Cheers regular; loves beer  Some oil and gas drilling waste (shale)  Fertilizer (from phosphate ores – uranium)  Rare earth mine tailings (uranium, thorium)  Ceramic products (uranium in clay)  Welding rods (thorium sands in coatings) December 2-3, 2014

5 Definitions (Cont’d) TENORM: Technologically Enhanced NORM – natural material whose radioactive concentrations have been enhanced by human activities including:  Oil & gas pipe scale  Oil & gas sludges  Selected mining wastes  Coal ash (concentrated uranium & thorium) December 2-3, 2014

6 Ionizing Radiation – Why Worry? Ionizing radiation health risks:  Acute effects – high levels of radiation produce effects such as blood chemistry changes, nausea, fatigue, various skin effects, cataracts, and death  Delayed effects – at some lower level of radiation, can increase risk of some cancers What about at typical environmental and occupational dose levels? No risk? Hormesis? What are the implications? Radiation is a weak carcinogen compared to other materials (beryllium, asbestos, tobacco smoke…) December 2-3, 2014

7 Background Radiation People around the world are continually exposed to radiation from natural sources These sources include:  Cosmic radiation from outer space  Terrestrial radiation (materials in the earth) Internal radiation from materials taken into the body through breathing air, drinking water, and eating foods December 2-3, 2014

8 Sources and Types of NORM/TENORM Oil field pipe scale (radium) Oil field/refinery sludge (radium) Geothermal waste (radium) Drinking water purification waste (uranium/radium) Metals and tailings from certain ores (rare earth elements) Coal fly/bottom ash December 2-3, 2014

9 Oil & Gas Industry NORM/TENORM present in all phases Concentrations depend on geology  Higher concentrations in production phase (scale/sludge)  Drill cuttings  Produced water/flowback water  Radon decay products in gas production equipment Gas well drillers often use well logging to determine radiation levels to find gas December 2-3, 2014

10 NORM Contamination Radon gas, external exposure, internal exposure Potential:  Worker exposure  General public exposure (and associated litigation risks)  Environmental impact December 2-3, 2014

11 Who Regulates NORM? EPA – sets federal radiation standards for the public OSHA – has authority over hazardous materials in the workplace States  NORM-specific regulations  Clean Air Act  Clean Water Act  Workplace dose rates  Waste management December 2-3, 2014

12 Waste Characterization Generators have the responsibility to know about their waste and appropriate management – DOT HAZMAT issues Generators should know waste characterization:  Can be done through analytical testing, or  Through generator knowledge of a waste based on defensible and demonstrated factors  If uncertain, generators have the responsibility to perform analytical testing December 2-3, 2014

13 Oil Field Waste NORM radionuclides may be concentrated in the oil recovery process  Radium is more soluble in brine solutions than uranium or thorium  Carbonates and sulfates of calcium, barium, and strontium may precipitate as pipe scale  Radium will also precipitate in pipe scale  Sludge in refineries may also contain radium December 2-3, 2014

14 Oil Field Waste: Example Radionuclide Content Average Sludge Average Scale Radionuclide pCi/g pCi/g 210 Po 56 360 210 Pb 56 360 226 Ra 56 360 228 Th 19 120 228 Ra 19 120 Total: 206 1,320 Note: Typical radium-226 in soil is ~1 pCi/g * EPA Data December 2-3, 2014

15 Oilfield NORM/TENORM – Who is Exposed? General site workers Maintenance personnel – cutting, grinding, welding, scraping, dismantling pipes (scale/sludge) Pipe/equipment recyclers Personnel involved in remediation and decontamination operations Waste handlers/transporters December 2-3, 2014

16 Oilfield NORM/TENORM – Who Else Could be Exposed? Members of the public – Landowners who have leased mineral rights – Transportation of wastes containing radioactive materials – Water treatment plant workers – they are members of the public with respect to radiation regulations Legal Implications?

17 Radiation Safety at a NORM Facility Written Radiation Safety Program Training Survey Activities:  Instrument surveys for dose rate, contamination  Collect airborne dusts  Restrict pipe cutting area  PPE – air filter, gloves, other December 2-3, 2014

18 Radiation Safety at a NORM Facility (continued) Instrumentation Dose Monitoring Record-keeping – if there’s no record, then it wasn’t done – Can you defend your program if challenged? – We live in a very litigious society so this can’t be stressed enough

19 What it all means to the operator Be familiar with your State’s regulations Develop a worker protection plan Manage and dispose of NORM waste properly Provide NORM training to workers Know your NORM environment:  Sampling  Field Measurements December 2-3, 2014

20 Summary Not all States Regulate NORM/TENORM Wide range of State regulations Several States considering regulation of TENORM Increase in oil and gas drilling in northern states December 2-3, 2014

21 Questions/Comments? Contact Information: Alan Fellman (301) 990-6006ext. 3302 December 2-3, 2014

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