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Radioactive releases

February, 2014 – The Marcellus Shale is known to have high uranium and radium content. According to Mark Engle, U.S. Geological Survey geochemist, the concentration of radium-226 can exceed 10,000 picoCuries/Liter (pCi/L) in the shale. Radium-226 has a half-life of 1,600 years. Radium and other naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) can be released from shale rock during drilling and fracking and can emerge with flowback and produced waters. It can thus enter the ambient environment and become concentrated in the sludge which results from treatment of flowback water, and in river sediment around water treatment facilities. It can also be found in landfills in which sludge and sediment have been disposed. Some radium can be found in drinking water. As stated by Dr. Avner Vengosh, a geochemist at Duke University, “Once you have a release of fracking fluid into the environment, you end up with a radioactive legacy.”


Fracking releases radioactivity from the deep layers. Ryedale has areas of high radon. There is no way to clean up radioactive fracking waste. Ebberston Moor is a proposed deep dump site. The proposal is to inject waste under pressure which we have seen causes earthquakes and contamination to the surrounds . It is probably unsafe.


2012 – Responding to concern about radon in natural gas produced from the Marcellus Shale, the U.S. Geological Survey analyzed ten samples of gas collected near the wellheads of three Pennsylvania gas wells. The agency found radon levels ranging from 1 to 79 picocuries per liter, with an average of 36 and a median of 32. (The highest radon activity reported here would decay to 19.8 pCi/L in approximately a week; by comparison, the EPA’s threshold for indoor air remediation is 4 pCi/L.) Asserting they knew of no previous published measurements of radon in natural gas from the Appalachian Basin, which contains the Marcellus Shale, agency scientists concluded that the number of samples “is too small to … yield statistically valid results” and urged “collection and interpretation of additional data.”


There is a least one property in Lockton with a higher radon content than reccomended. Here the US Geological Society show previously undocumented quantities of radon in gas close to well heads.


2009 – The New York State DEC found that wastewater from 11 of 13 vertical wells drilled in New York’s Marcellus Shale in 2008 and 2009 contained radium levels ranging from 400 times to nearly 3,400 times EPA’s safe level for radium in drinking water. These figures later informed the 2011 study of radium in drilling wastewater conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey.


A risk should the waste water somehow enter the water supply.





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