Radiation and Contamination Risk Management
Aurora Environmental provides an extensive range of services in the field of radiation and contamination risk management including targeted monitoring, identification and sampling analysis of suspect materials, airborne monitoring, clearance inspections in addition to preparation of radiation management plans for monitoring, storage, transport, and disposals, including stakeholder and/or regulator engagement.
Most people know that uncontrolled exposure to a radioactive material has the potential to cause cancer. There are many examples of inadvertent exposures to radiation sources when such materials are not controlled or managed appropriately. It is therefore crucial that the radiation and/or contamination levels are established through specific monitoring to ensure that the actual risks of radiation or contamination exposure to workers, public and the environment remain low.
Sealed Radiation Sources (SRS)
Sealed radiation sources are used extensively on process plants in the oil, mineral and mining industries to monitor density or flow rates within production systems. They are relatively high activity sources, contained in a heavily shielded housing. Maintaining the integrity of the source and the shielded housing is critical to safety.
Any fixed radiation gauge must be registered with the State Regulator (Radiological Council) and requires a licensed person (Radiation Safety Officer) to monitor radiation levels for normal operations and during any maintenance work on the plant. There is also a legal requirement to undertake a compliance audit of the source and housing every 3 years and the gauge to be certified by the State Regulator to remain compliant. In addition, any sealed radiation sources imported into WA must have a permit from the Federal Regulator (ARPANSA).
Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM)
The following industry sectors have been identified by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as being the most likely to require some form of regulatory consideration with respect to NORM:
- Extraction of rare earth elements, e.g. Yttrium, Lanthanum, Gadolinium, etc.
- Production and use of uranium, thorium and its compounds
- Production of niobium and ferro-niobium
- Production of heavy mineral sands, e.g. Ilmenite, Rutile, Leucoxene, Zircon, etc
- Production of oil and gas
- Manufacture of titanium oxide pigments
- The phosphate industry
- Production of tin, copper, aluminium, zinc, lead, and iron and steel.
- Combustion of coal
- Water treatment.
NORM can be present in the products, by-products, or the waste materials in mineral production plants during the process cycle, or it can remain as a deposit or scale within tanks, vessels, pipework, etc. For example, within oil production plants, this can be observed on the inner surfaces of pipework. NORM is not always visible and detectable by instrumentation external to the process plant, e.g., Lead-210 (Pb210) is commonly found in gas production facilities but only emits a very weak gamma photon, which may not penetrate the construction materials. Therefore, caution should be taken in particular during repairs or maintenance work activities on gas plants. If NORM is detected within a facility, then any handling, storage, transportation, or disposal thereof, must be declared to the State Regulator for registration purposes.
- Fixed radiation gauge surveys and compliance audits.
- Radiation monitoring and controls.
- Contamination monitoring and controls.
- Environmental gamma baseline surveys.
- Contamination sampling.
- Airborne dust and radon sampling and monitoring.
- NORM clearance certification.
- Radiation Management Plans.
- Transport Management Plans.
- Source Security Storage and Transport Plans
- Radiation Safety Officer for Fixed Radiation Gauges, X-rays, Transport, and NORM.
- Radioactive waste disposals at the Intractable Waste Disposal Facility (IWDF), as the contracted Facility Manager as well as providing the nominated Radiation Safety Officer.