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How slick water and black shale in fracking combine to produce radioactive waste

Radioactivity in fracking wastewater comes from the interaction between a chemical slurry and ancient shale during the hydraulic fracturing process, according to Dartmouth College research.  The study, detailed in twin papers appearing in Chemical Geology, is the first research that characterizes the phenomenon of radium transfer in the widely-used method to extract oil and gas. The findings add to what is already generally known about the mechanisms of radium release and could help the search for solutions to challenges in the fracking industry.  As a result of fracking, the U.S. is already a net exporter of gas and is poised to become a net exporter of oil in the next few years. But the wastewater that is produced contains toxins like barium and radioactive radium. Upon decay, radium releases a cascade of other elements, such as radon, that collectively generate high radioactivity.  Read more...
 

 

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