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What do Workers in the Field Need to Know About NORM/TENORM

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Presentation on theme: "What do Workers in the Field Need to Know About NORM/TENORM"— 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 210Po 210Pb 226Ra 228Th 228Ra Total: ,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) ext December 2-3, 2014

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