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Energy & Environment

Health Dept. to study naturally occurring radioactive material from oil activity

It's one of the consequences of oil development in the Bakken -- naturally-occurring radioactive materials collect in pipelines and pits.

The state Health Department has regulatory oversight of that material. And Department Environmental chief Dave Glatt says about ten to 15 thousand tons of the material is generated every year. He told a Legislative committee North Dakota does not have licensed radioactive disposal facilities.

"We believe the vast majority of it is going to Colorado," Glatt told the Energy Development and Transportation Committee. "Some of it is going to Montana, and some of it to Texas."

But Glatt says some of it is being improperly disposed of.

"That's one of the things we want to look at," said Glatt. "It's a tracking process -- cradle to grave, and if there should be a better process."

Glatt says the Department will be launching a study of naturally occurring radioactive materials – and their transportation and storage. He says that should be completed by next summer.

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