Radioactive Contaminants from Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Operations

Oil & Gas activities have been shown to expose people to dangerous radioactive materials that threaten our health. TENORM (Technology Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials) is a waste product of the oil & gas industry, and without cheap disposal, the industry would collapse financially.

Join PSR Pennsylvania and Halt the Harm for an expert discussion with Michael Ketterer from Northern Arizona University who will present a recent study on naturally occurring radioisotopes found in the environment near oil & gas operations in Pennsylvania. The study was performed by Wayne State University.

Speaker: Michael E. Ketterer, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Northern Arizona University

The WSU study focused on naturally occurring radioisotopes such as 226 Ra, 228 Ra, 210 Po and 210 Pb, which are present in brines, salt deposits and geologic reservoirs that serve as oil/gas reservoirs. When oil and gas are extracted by “fracking” and related processes, these radioisotopes are liberated and can be dispersed into the surface environment, resulting in water, air and soil contamination.

The presentation will evaluate the findings of the Wayne State study, and compare these results to background radioisotope concentrations present in unaffected areas vs. areas of Pennsylvania known to have been impacted by oil/gas radioisotopes. Also discussed will be other environmental hazards associated with oil/gas extraction, such as the contamination of surface and shallow groundwater via materials used in fracking fluids, and the venting of large quantities of volatile organic compounds into the air at wellheads.

The technical discussion will be presented in a way that’s accessible to a general audience and followed by a Q+A.

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