[ RadSafe ] Company Looking for Some Ion Exchange Expertise

Brennan, Mike (DOH) Mike.Brennan at DOH.WA.GOV
Mon Mar 30 15:51:42 CDT 2015

I defer to Lawrence on this, though I would speculate that if there is significant processing, especially chemical, that concentrates the radium, questions might arise that complicate matters.  And sometimes questions are more expensive than either answer.

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu [mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Lawrence Jacobi
Sent: Monday, March 30, 2015 1:44 PM
To: radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Company Looking for Some Ion Exchange Expertise

In reference to Mike Brennan’s reply, solids containing Radium produced by treating flowback water from a frack job is not low-level radioactive waste, as that type of waste is generally defined.  It is frequently referred to as waste containing technology enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material, or TENORM.  

The distinction is that low-level radioactive waste must be sent to a disposal facility licensed by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission or an Agreement State, usually at great expense to the generator.  Depending on the concentration, TENORM can be sent to an industrial solid waste landfill, or even a municipal solid waste landfill, at much less expense.  It need not be treated as low-level radioactive waste.

Having said that, flowback that contains any radioactive tracers results in a waste stream that is “mixed” with respect to regulatory jurisdiction.  The NORM component is usually regulated by the individual state according to state law and regulation, and the tracers are regulated by either the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission or an Agreement State under the Atomic Energy Act of 1954.  That peculiarity has resulted in some interesting and frustrating disposal issues.

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