Introduction to naturally occurring radioactive material

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Naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) is everywhere; we are exposed to it every day. It is found in our bodies, the food we eat, the places where we live and work, and in products we use. We are also bathed in a sea of natural radiation coming from the sun and deep space. Living systems have adapted to these levels of radiation and radioactivity. But some industrial practices involving natural resources concentrate these radionuclides to a degree that they may pose risk to humans and the environment if they are not controlled. Other activities, such as flying at high altitudes, ... continued below

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54 p.

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Egidi, P. August 1, 1997.

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Description

Naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) is everywhere; we are exposed to it every day. It is found in our bodies, the food we eat, the places where we live and work, and in products we use. We are also bathed in a sea of natural radiation coming from the sun and deep space. Living systems have adapted to these levels of radiation and radioactivity. But some industrial practices involving natural resources concentrate these radionuclides to a degree that they may pose risk to humans and the environment if they are not controlled. Other activities, such as flying at high altitudes, expose us to elevated levels of NORM. This session will concentrate on diffuse sources of technologically-enhanced (TE) NORM, which are generally large-volume, low-activity waste streams produced by industries such as mineral mining, ore benefication, production of phosphate Fertilizers, water treatment and purification, and oil and gas production. The majority of radionuclides in TENORM are found in the uranium and thorium decay chains. Radium and its subsequent decay products (radon) are the principal radionuclides used in characterizing the redistribution of TENORM in the environment by human activity. We will briefly review other radionuclides occurring in nature (potassium and rubidium) that contribute primarily to background doses. TENORM is found in many waste streams; for example, scrap metal, sludges, slags, fluids, and is being discovered in industries traditionally not thought of as affected by radionuclide contamination. Not only the forms and volumes, but the levels of radioactivity in TENORM vary. Current discussions about the validity of the linear no dose threshold theory are central to the TENORM issue. TENORM is not regulated by the Atomic Energy Act or other Federal regulations. Control and regulation of TENORM is not consistent from industry to industry nor from state to state. Proposed regulations are moving from concentration-based standards to dose-based standards. So when is TENORM a problem? Where is it a problem? That depends on when, where, and whom you talk to! We will start by reviewing background radioactivity, then we will proceed to the geology, mobility, and variability of these radionuclides. We will then review some of the industrial sectors affected by TENORM, followed by a brief discussion on regulatory aspects of the issue.

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54 p.

Notes

INIS; OSTI as DE97008455

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  • Health Physics Society annual meeting, San Antonio, TX (United States), 1 Jul 1997

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  • Other: DE97008455
  • Report No.: CONF-970795--1
  • Grant Number: AC05-96OR22464
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 560732
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc698742

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  • August 1, 1997

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  • Aug. 14, 2015, 8:43 a.m.

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  • June 14, 2016, 6:57 p.m.

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Egidi, P. Introduction to naturally occurring radioactive material, article, August 1, 1997; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc698742/: accessed September 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.