by Tina Olivero

    Tips for managing NORM during decommissioning

    Every oil and gas facility has the potential to be hampered by the problem of NORM (short for Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material), especially during phases of decommissioning.

    To fully understand NORM, first take note that it can be broken down into various waste streams. For example…

    • There is NORM waste which is contaminated with other hazardous materials.
    • There is NORM waste whereby NORM is the sole contaminant.
    • There is equipment which can remain contaminated from NORM even after cleaning procedures have occurred.

    Even if NORM hasn’t presented itself when production or maintenance shutdowns have been carried out, you should still be on alert as the issue can result in significant delays and account for substantial costs.

    To reduce the risk of encountering these problems, continual surveying with the use of radiation monitors should be carried out, in order to receive peace of mind that contaminated items are never sent where the acceptance criteria is background.

    Knowledge is power where managing NORM during decommissioning is concerned. Therefore, information, instruction and training should be looked into at the planning stages. Regular consultation with both Radiation Protection Advisers (otherwise known as RPAs) and Radiation Waste Advisers (also referred to as RWAs) is also recommended, not only to receive expert insight around any issues that might occur but also because it’s a legal requirement.

    If any NORM is identified, it must then be analysed in a laboratory. This way, an RWA can interpret the results and advise accordingly, while every possible waste route for the NORM can be established.

    For more information about managing NORM during decommissioning, read this blog post on the topic by Tracerco, part of the Process Technologies Division of Johnson Matthey, who can also be sought out for experienced and certified RPAs, as well as a fully integrated ‘NORM complete’ package of services.

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