The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection just released the results of its TENORM Study, which analyzed levels of radioactivity associated with oil and gas development in the state. The department concluded that there is
little potential harm to workers or the public from radiation exposure due to oil and gas development.
The study began in January 2013 when the DEP began studying radioactivity levels in flowback waters, treatment solids and drill cuttings, as well as transportation, storage and disposal of drilling wastes. The results of the peer-reviewed study show the following:
- Little potential for public exposure to radon due to use of natural gas extracted from PA formations
- Little or limited potential for public or worker exposure to radiation during the development, completion, production, transmission, processing, storage and end use of natural gas
- Little potential for public or worker exposure to radiation at facilities that treat oil and gas wastes, or at landfill receiving waste from the oil and gas industry.
- Limited potential for recreationist exposure to roads treated with brine from conventional natural gas wells.
Since Pennsylvania has some of the most radioactive source rock in the United States, these results are most likely applicable to all drilling activity across the country.