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What is NORM?

Naturally occurring radioactive material is present throughout the Earth’s crust and can be concentrated in the recovery of oil and gas. It’s also called technologically enhanced NORM, or TENORM. This material can be concentrated in oil production wastes such as sludge, drilling mud, used water filtration socks and pipe scale. It tends to be highest in water-handling equipment.

Generally speaking, it must be inhaled or ingested to pose a radiation health risk. This is because a vast majority of NORM radiation is in the form of alpha particles, easily stopped by the outer layers of human skin.

(Source: Energy and Environmental Research Center, Grand Forks)

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