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h_agr_2018a_2018-02-14t10:50:43z0 Hearing Summary




PUBLIC
BILL SUMMARY For BRIEFING ON TECHNOLOGICALLY ENHANCED NATURALLY OCCURRING RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS (TENORM)

HOUSE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE, LIVESTOCK, & NATURAL RESOURCES
Date Feb 14, 2018      
Location RM 271



Briefing on Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (TENORM) - Committee Discussion Only


10:50:57 AM  
Kurt Rhea, Secure Energy Services, introduced himself to the committee and provided the committee with a brief background of his company. He distributed a copy of his presentation to the committee [Attachment A]. Mr. Rhea discussed radiation and discussed its properties. He defined NORM, which means naturally occurring radioactive materials and TENORM, which is technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material. Mr. Rhea discussed the distinction of the two materials.
10:57:00 AM  
Mr. Rhea explained picocurie (pCi/g), which is one-one trillionth of a curie, or the standard measure for the intensity of radioactivity contained in a sample of radioactive material. He provided a natural background of radiation and discussed where radiation can be found naturally, including in water and around the environment. He also discussed cosmic and ray and terrestrial background of natural radiation, and stated that the United States, and Colorado in particular, is exposed to a relatively high level of naturally occurring background radiation.
11:03:16 AM  
Mr. Rhea discussed how TENORM is generated and responded to questions from the committee regarding TENORM in coal mining. Mr. Rhea discussed states that have seen public TENORM issues, including North Dakota, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, and Colorado. He stated that there are misconceptions surrounding TENORM and that allowing the disposal of TENORM or raising the disposal limits is difficult.
11:11:44 AM  
Mr. Rhea discussed several high profile TENORM clean-ups and discussed issues that should be considered when discussing TENORM, including worker safety, environmental protection, the potential liability of generators, public safety and perception, and regulations and compliance.
11:17:10 AM  
Mr. Rhea discussed where TENORM is found, including mining and ore processing, metal recylcing, forest product combustion, thermal electric production, fertilizer production, ceramics, municipal water treatment, pet food, and oil and gas production. He gave several examples of facilities impacted by TENORM and briefly explained how the TENORM is managed in those instances. Mr. Rhea responded to questions from the committee regarding the number of saltwater disposals in North Dakota versus Colorado. North Dakota has over 500 saltwater disposals versus 12 in Colorado.
11:23:47 AM  
Mr. Rhea discussed the importance of detection equipment and steps that Secure Energy has taken to improve detection methods. He discussed how the levels of TENORM can vary dramatically depending on geology, geography, processes and equipment, and time in service. He discussed tools used in managing TENORM. He also discussed TENORM treatment and recovery facilities, explaining that a common method is to separate oil, water, and solids in order to treat the TENORM.
11:28:46 AM  
Mr. Rhea discussed TENORM in drinking water plants and responded to questions from the committee regarding landfills and water treatment facilities in Colorado. He also discussed public education involved in TENORM waste and landfills. He also responded to questions regarding public education surrounding landfills and where TENORM waste is located.
11:36:03 AM  
Mr. Rhea discussed potential concerns of radium impacted waste, including external and internal exposure, TENORM-impacted equipment, training and regulatory requirements, and the transport and licensed disposal of TENORM waste. He discussed the physics and decay rate of TENORM elements and discussed the fact that if Uranium is present, radium that has a long half life will also be present. He also discussed ways in which people can limit their exposure to naturally occurring radiation.
11:41:36 AM  
Mr. Rhea discussed the context of radiation, and stated that radiation at low levels is not dangerous. He gave examples of places where the threat of exposure is not as high as public perception, including nuclear power plants, water treatment plants, or in US landfills that accept low-level TENORM. He also discussed places where there should be a higher focus on radiation exposure, including medical uses, industrial irradiation equipment, and certain oil and gas uses.
11:44:50 AM  
Mr. Rhea discussed how people can protect themselves from radiation exposure and discussed the significant exposure people can get from cigarette smoking. He discussed observations in Colorado regarding TENORM exposure. He stated that the state has very modest levels of TENORM in most drinking water treatment plants and systems. He also stated that most waste generated by industry in Colorado is not a major health or environmental risk. He stated that in-state disposal is not a threat to human health or the environment and that risk-based guidance is not a good solution for industries.
11:52:12 AM  
Mr. Rhea discussed regulations in Colorado concerning the disposal of TENORM and explained the Interim Policy and Guidance for Control and Disposition of TENORM issued in 2007. This policy mostly centers on water treatment. He also discussed interstate compacts that regulate the disposal of TENORM. He stressed the importance of data collection with regards to TENORM.
11:57:29 AM  
Mr. Rhea responded to questions from the committee.
12:00:13 PM  
David Beaujon, Legislative Council Staff, introduced himself to the committee and discussed a research memorandum concerning TENORM disposal regulations in Colorado and North Dakota [Attachment B].