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Naturally occurring radioactive materials
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</parsererror> Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM) are a wide range of radioactive isotopes that include elements such as carbon 14 and potassium 40, both of which are present in the human body. But the main radioactive elements involved in oil and gas production are those found throughout Earth's crust. These elements include uranium and thorium and their respective byproducts, including radon gas.
Origins of NORM
When Earth's crust was formed, radioactive materials like uranium and thorium were incorporated into it. Normally, these elements exist in trace concentrations of parts per million (ppm), but the decay of such unstable radioactive materials forms other radionuclides that, under certain conditions in the subsurface environment--such as pressure, temperature, etc.--can be transported from the reservoir to the surface as oil and gas products are being recovered.
- Mously, K.A., Campbell, J.A., Cowie, M. 2009. The International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (OGP) Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) Management Guideline. Presented at the Asia Pacific Health, Safety, Security and Environment Conference, Jakarta, 4-6 August. SPE-123482-MS. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/123482-MS.