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1. What is Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM)?
NORM is natural material that contains primordial radionuclides, typically those associated with uranium and thorium. For example, Uranium-238 has a half-life of about 4.5 billion years, or approximately the age of the earth, and Thorium-232 has an even longer half-life of about 14 billion years. These radionuclides are present in the rocks, soil, and minerals around us.
2. What is TENORM?
If the natural concentrations or radionuclide distributions are enhanced by human activity and technology, technologically enhanced NORM (or TENORM) is produced.
3. Is NORM/TENORM associated with oil & gas exploration and recovery?
Yes, NORM and TENORM are present in oil & gas fields. This has been well known since the early 1980s; however, the concentration of the associated radionuclides is highly dependent on the local geology. Operational wastes from hydraulic fracking will also contain NORM.