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RSCS Provides Radiological Services to Manage Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM) Generated During Shale Gas Production
Posted on December 27th, 2012

Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) and Technically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (TENORM) can be generated during the drilling and development of shale gas. The majority of NORM generated by shale gas development is in the form of radioisotopes of Uranium, Thorium and the radioactive decay products (daughters) of these isotopes.  NORM generated by shale gas development is typically brought to the surface in the form of drill cuttings, drilling fluids and flow-back waters associated with the hydrofracking process.  These by-products can contain varying concentrations of NORM depending on the geologic formation present, as well as the management practices being employed to control these by-products.  Drilling fluid and flow-back water processing can concentrate NORM on filter media, within holding tanks and may also precipitate out of solution creating pipe scale.  This concentrated NORM is referred to as TENORM and may create regulatory, waste management and disposal challenges, as well as occupational radiation exposure.

RSCS has the technical expertise and experience, with proven solutions to meet these operational and regulatory challenges.  Our company has the analytical tools, software, and sophisticated instrumentation necessary to monitor and characterize shale gas operations and develop best-practice techniques to minimize generation and management of large quantities of NORM/TENORM.  Our Staff, who specialize in Radiological Protection, Regulation, Environment, Hydrogeology, Health and Safety and Waste Disposal, have the expertise to design and implement NORM management plans that meets the regulatory requirements of federal, state and local governments.

RSCS is currently working with an industry leader in hydrofracking flow-back water treatment and recycling and is providing radiological support for:

  • Flow-back water NORM characterization/detection
  • Management and assessment of NORM in the flow-back water treatment process
  • NORM management within the treatment facility waste stream
  • Radiological site response

As the nation’s energy demand continues to increase, shale gas will become an increasing portion of our energy source. NORM generated as a result of shale gas drilling and extraction will continue to be a challenge to the industry.  RSCS provides support for this industry with safe, responsible, and innovative solutions to manage NORM that is tailored to our customer and site specific needs. 


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