Radiochemical Analysis – NORM

At NCIMB we offer alpha and gamma spectrometry, along with characterisation and analysis of a range of sample types including scale, sludge, sand, pig wax and produced water.

Industry track record

Naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) can be transported with production fluids to oil and gas production facilities, where it accumulates in waste materials. Consequently, these waste materials must be tested to establish levels of radioactivity prior to disposal.

At NCIMB we have extensive experience of working with the oil and gas industry, and have developed a range of NORM analysis, chemical characterisation and testing services to meet the needs of this sector.

Our analytical services laboratories are based in Aberdeen, and we can accept a broad range of sample types for analysis, including scales, pig wax, sludge, sand and produced water.

Standard suites of analysis for NORM

We use gamma spectrometry to report on the activity of radium and daughters (including lead-210) and undertake alpha spectrometry for the analysis of polonium-210. As polonium-210 and lead-210 exist in equilibrium, alpha spectrometry can also be used for analysis of lead-210 with extremely low detection limits. The principal decay series of concern are uranium-238 and thorium-232 which give rise to radium-226 radium-228 respectively.

Our customers often require characterisation of scales alongside NORM activity and we use ICP-mass spectrometry to offer a suite of tests for this purpose. Our standard package includes Ba, Si, Al, Fe, Ca, Sr, K, Na, Mg, Pb and Zn. Elemental results are combined with qualitative tests to report on the most likely compounds present.

We regularly receive pig wax samples for analysis and our standard suite of tests includes NORM activity, water content, inorganic content, organic content and iron. We can also undertake a range of heavy metals analysis including Pb, Cu, As, Cd, Ni, Zn and Hg.

Tailored testing schemes

At NCIMB we pride ourselves on our flexible and customer focused approach. We can create tailored testing schemes to meet our customers’ requirements. Please contact us for more information about the full range of testing available.

Trusted quality standards

All our results are traceable to National Standards. NCIMB is ISO 9001 certified and licensed by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA).