Treatment and Disposal of NORM-Contaminated Oil Field Waste

NORM/TE-NORM wastes such as in particular radioactive scales and slur-ries/sludge are generated in the oil field and petrochemical industry in considerable amounts. Currently adequate treatment and disposal technologies are not commonly applied. This paper basically draws attention to the problem and reviews basic principles, applicability, advantages and limitations of NORM waste treatment and disposal.

Wastes contaminated with radioisotopes, generated in the basic materials industry, are typically from metal mining such as for nickel, copper, gold and noble earths, but also from processing of zircon and monazite sands. In the oil- and gas industry radio-toxic wastes are also known as a by-product from deep drilling activities. The knowledge about the existence of such wastes from the oil and gas industry is almost as old as the industry itself. Owing to various reasons a con-sensus between the regulating authorities and the operating industry was arranged in many countries in particular with regard to handling and disposal of off-shore generated wastes.
All these radioactive wastes from the non-nuclear industry are commonly described as NORM (Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials). Wastes generated from crude oil refineries and from the petrochemical industry, but also radioactive residues from incineration and other technical processes, are often referred to as TE-NORM (Technologically-Enhanced NORM), accordingly. Relevant for NORM und TE-NORM wastes are the decay series of 232Thorium and 238Uranium, as shown in fig. 1. In particular the radioisotopes of the alkaline earth metal radium, in particular 226Ra and 228Ra, appear mainly in the oil industry, whilst in the gas industry, in refin-eries or in the associated petrochemical industry the decay products of the short-half-life noble gas 222Radon such as 210Polonium and 210Lead occur more commonly.

Copyright: © Lehrstuhl für Abfallverwertungstechnik und Abfallwirtschaft der Montanuniversität Leoben
Source: Depotech 2012 (November 2012)
Pages: 8
Price: € 4,00
Autor: Dr.mont., Dipl.-Ing., Dipl.-HTL-Ing. Rüdiger B. Richter

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