Friday, March 4, 2011

Broaching the Issue of Radioactive Waste

*This is by no means an in depth analysis of the perceived problem related to managing radioactive waste in shale natural gas extraction.  
It is common knowledge that the Marcellus and other natural gas rich Shales contain natural occurring radioactive materials or NORMS. It is also true that nuclear power plants produce radioactive waste. This was the launching point into understanding of how radioactive wastes are managed. There are many guidances by the federal government on the subject.
High level radioactive Waste: According to the NRC there are no facilities for permanent disposal of radioactive waste from nuclear plants. The high-level wastes are and handled stored to in ways to provide protection as they decay and become harmless.
Low-level radioactive wastes: These types of wastes are disposed of in-near surface facilities until it has decayed away.
Transporting of any of these wastes is managed by the department of transportation. Commercial low-level Waste treatment facilities have waste acceptance criteria which mean any waste brought to the facility must be tested before acceptance.
Solid wastes from drill cuttings in NYS are disposed of at facilities that are approved and regulated to manage that kind of waste.
The results from the Marcellus flowback fluids from Ross Well in Maryland, shows gross alpha results that were less than the federal drinking water standards of 15 pCi/L maximum contaminant level.
With all that having been said, Texas A & M scientists have been working on an interesting study on how to dispose of radioactive waste.  It is good to know that technology continues to evolve to solve complex issues.  Nuclear Fusion-Fission Hybrid Could Destroy Nuclear Waste and Contribute to Carbon-Free Energy Future

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