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Radioactive Wastes From Oil and Gas Drilling

February 19, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 147

Three fifths of the energy consumed by United States comes from the oil and gas industry. That is a big number. Energy is required majorly for lighting, cooking, or transportation.

Most industries require considerable amount of energy to function and a large part of that comes from fossil fuels. These fuels are made by fossils of plants and animals over thousands of years. Fossil fuels are non-renewable sources of energy and their extraction generates a significant amount of radioactive wastes.

Generation of Radioactive waste

Deep bores are dug by inserting steel pipes and creating holes in the earth. Thereafter, different pressure regions are made. Pipes and cement castings are put in these holes that are used to separate different pressure zones. The hole is further deepened by steel insertions. Then these castings are filled, depending upon the geological conditions of the earth.

A rotator table is inserted into the hole. The drill is rotated by top drive mechanism to dig deeper. Derrick drills are used to cut down rocks into pieces. Through the drill string, the mud mixture or drilling fuel is added in. This fluid is made of abrasives, chemicals, and mud. It clears the rock pieces by dissolving them, thus making things smoother. The by-products of this process are radioactive hydrocarbons that can be poisonous and they may pose a high threat to human health.

Radioactive waste

The radioactive waste generated by the oil and gas industry is generally in the form of slime, pits or evaporation ponds. They even have an effect on the storage tanks, pipe scale, and other extraction equipments. The radionuclide wastes are generally:

· Radium-226

· Radium-228

· Radon gas freed in the air

These wastes are natural occurring radioactive materials or NORMs that occur in the environment, but when exposed to humans, they might become technologically enhanced NORM or TENORM.

People at Risk

The people vulnerable to risks from these radioactive materials are labor at the oil drilling location. They are at a risk of inhaling the radon gas released during the drilling process. This gas is produced because of radium decay present in the drill fluid.

Radon gas can cause severe lung diseases, including lung cancer- the deadliest of all. They are also exposed to alpha and gamma rays produced while decomposition of radium-226 and beta radiation released during decomposition of radium-228. Gamma radiations are capable of penetrating the skin, causing skin cancer. Keeping these deadly risks into mind, safety policies are followed by the workers at the site.

With the intense safety policies at oil drilling sites, the environmental risks are minimized if followed properly to the existing water supplies and ground soil.

PetroChase is an independent oil and gas firm assisting in the acquisition, development, and exploration of oil and natural gas in the US.

Oil and gas investing offers financial opportunity with unique tax benefits to accredited investors, and can show you how to invest in oil.

Contact Petrochase at (888) 207-3876 or email info@petrochase.com.

Source: EzineArticles
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