Naturally Occurring Radioactive

Materials (NORM) and Technologically

Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive

Material (TENORM)


Naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) is undisturbed radioactive material that occurs in its natural form. NORM includes radioactive elements such as radium, uranium, thorium, potassium and their radioactive decay products1. NORM can become concentrated through oil and gas operations, mining, water treatment, and many other human activities. NORM that has been concentrated by human activity is called Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (TENORM)1. In Kansas, a common TENORM issue is from oil and gas field pipe that is recycled as scrap metal. The pipes are lined with scale that contain radium-226. Some pipes contain enough radium to alarm radiation detectors at scrap yards and steel mills.

TENORM issues and responses are evaluated on an individual basis. One option for disposing of this material is by using waste brokers. Current regulations for the control of all radioactive material in Kansas include TENORM2. Rules for the separate and specific control of TENORM are under development in Kansas.

  1. Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (TENORM), Environmental Protection Agency, retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/radiation/technologically-enhanced-naturally-occurring-radioactive-materials-tenorm
  2. K.S.A.  48-1603. Definitions. (n) “Radioactive Material” means any material, solid, liquid or gas, which emits ionizing radiation spontaneously.  It includes accelerator produced, by-product, naturally occurring, source and special nuclear materials.
NORM
Clockwise from upper left: radiation detectors, abandoned oil field pipe, natural sources of radiation, and pipe scale (source). Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM) and Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (TENORM) contain radioactive material, some in very small quantities. Brazil nuts contain a small amount of radium, salt substitute contains potassium-40, Uranium ore is mined from the ground and radium containing scale builds up in pipe. Radiation meters are used to detect radiation. Some of these items contain only trace amounts of radioactive material that can only be detected by sending a sample to a laboratory.

For more examples of Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials, visit http://www.orau.org/ptp/collection/consumer%20products/consumer.htm

Resources

Helpful Links


Radon

Kansas Radon Program

 

 

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes from the soil.

Radon causes lung cancer.

For more information on radon, please visit www.kansasradonprogram.org.