Single Session

[Schedule Grid]

MPM-F - Radon in the Oil and Gas Industry Part 2

Baltimore 3   14:30 - 17:00

Chair(s): Phil Egidi
MPM-F.1   14:30  The Impact of Radon-222 and Its Progeny in Natural Gas and Natural Gas Liquids WH Lemons*, Consultant

Abstract: It has been established in the NCRP 160 report that Radon 222 cause more than half of all radiation exposure to the American public than all other radiation sources combined. Radon is ubiquitous in the environment and when inhaled alpha emitters of Radon 222, Polonium 218, Polonium 214, cause internal cellular damage linked to cancer. Note that there are 4 beta emitters that are also part of the Radon 222 decay chain but at a much lower impact than the alpha emitters. At the end of decay chain are three longer lived nuclides. The first two are the beta emitters of Lead 210 and Bismuth 210 whereas the final nuclide is the alpha emitter Polonium 210. These three are particulates found in dust and waste materials inside pipelines, vessels, and filter pots. Maintenance personnel are much more exposed these last three nuclides because repairs or modifications to the pipelines and compressor stations require isolation and releasing natural gas prior to maintenance and cleaning efforts. Maintenance workers should have class C personal protection equipment and either a full or half mask regulator. There are procedures that should be followed by Hazwoper training in addition to TENORM training. Clearly, a search of the Department of Energy as well as reports developed by the EPA and NCRP could be helpful. Distribution system piping of natural gas and propane can have all the same issues as transmission pipeline systems. It is possible that a distribution system will have greater concentrations of Radon and radioactive progeny than would be found in a transmission pipeline. It would be prudent to review several distribution systems around cities and towns to determine the safety from radiological hazards, worker safety, waste management and safety of the customers.

MPM-F.2   15:00  Factors Influencing Spatial Variability in Background Radon Concentrations in Ambient Air AS Rood*, K-SPAR Inc ; R Whicker, ERG Group

Abstract: The contribution of anthropogenic sources of radon to ambient air requires an estimate of the background radon concentration. Finding a suitable background monitoring station is important for calculating the contribution anthropogenic sources to the measured radon concentration. Ideally, the background radon concentration was measured, and its diurnal, seasonal, and spatial variability understood prior to the introduction of an anthropogenic source, such as an oil and gas operation. However, more often background radon is not characterized prior to introduction of an anthropogenic source. Establishing a representative background station is difficult in complex terrain environments because background radon tends to be higher in low lying areas compared to ridge tops. Moreover, radon flux may be spatially variable across the study area. Factors that influence background radon concentrations in ambient air are presented using a study involving a uranium mill tailings pile in the San Mateo Basin of the Grants Mineral Belt. Measurements were used to evaluate the spatial variability in ambient radon across the study area in addition to the radon signal as a function of distance from the tailings pile. Modeling was used to evaluate the spatial distribution of ubiquitous radon emitted from natural soil and also the dispersion of radon from the tailings pile. The tailings pile was situated in a shallow valley subject to nocturnal drainage flows and inversion conditions. Both modeling and measurements confirmed that background radon in valley locations was higher compared locations on the slopes above the valley floor by about a factor of two. Consideration of these factors is important for an accurate assessment of the impacts to ambient air from anthropogenic sources of radon that include oil and gas operations.

MPM-F.3   15:30  Revision of SR-34 (safety report on oil and gas industry) HB Okyar*, International Atomic Energy Agency

Abstract: IAEA Safety Standards Series No. GSR Part 3: International Basic Safety Standards (2014), establishes requirements for industrial operations under planned exposure situations and existing exposure situations. These requirements potentially cover a broad range of industrial operations with very diverse characteristics, and the oil and gas industry is a global industry that operates in many of the Member States of the IAEA. Radioactive materials in the form of sealed sources and unsealed sources, and radiation generators are used extensively by the oil and gas industry, and various solid and liquid wastes containing naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) are generated. Safety Report on Radiation Protection and the Management of Radioactive Waste in the Oil and Gas Industry (SRS-34) was published in 2003 to address the issues associated with radiation protection and radioactive waste management in the oil and gas industry, and to promote a common understanding between the industry and regulatory bodies. SRS-34 provides practical guidance based on good working practices in the industry and on the application of the previous Basic Safety Standards (BSS-115) that were superseded by GSR Part 3. Since the publication of SRS-34, newer technologies (i.e., unconventional oil and gas exploration and production, such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling) have been widely deployed in the oil and gas industry. The operations associated with these newer technologies, and the wastes that are generated, differ from those associated with older (i.e., conventional) technologies. They also create the potential for additional exposures to workers and members of the public, environmental protection concerns, and waste management issues.

MPM-F.4   16:00  NORM, TENORM and Radon in Pennsylvania, and Impact from O&G Industry Activities DJ Allard*, Appalachian Waste Compact

Abstract: This work provides a brief review of past naturally occurring radioactive material [NORM] and radon investigations, and a recent major study related to Oil & Gas (O&G) generated technologically enhanced NORM (TENORM) performed by the PA Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Bureau of Radiation Protection (BRP) in conjunction with the DEP’s O&G Program and industry. BRP had examined the radium levels in conventional O&G produced water in the early to mid-1990s. That work was re-evaluated due to a significant increase in unconventional O&G well development circa 2010. A major “cradle to grave” O&G TENORM Study was begun in 2013, with final results and all related documentation published online in May 2016. Follow-up to this Study’s results and recommendations is ongoing, including routine landfill leachate testing for radium. Recent regulatory updates by DEP include the requirement for O&G operations that may generate TENORM to have a Radiation Protection Action Plan. The DEP also revised a technical guidance document on developing such Action Plans which was published in June 2022. In addition to the review of past and present radon and TENORM technical work by BRP, the current and future challenges of communicating appropriate public and worker radiation protection standards as they relate to radon, TENORM, and waste disposal will be discussed. Lastly, a brief review of the evaluation of a very high indoor residential radon level area outside Reading Prong will be presented in relation to the claims that O&G activities are impacting indoor and outdoor radon levels in PA.

MPM-F.5   16:30  Business Meeting

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