Friday, 20 May 2016

Fracking's radiation risk

North Yorkshire county council planning committee report on the application to drill using hydraulic fracturing of shale rock to obtain natural gas (“fracking”) at Kirby Misperton in the North Ridinghas been reported to be comprehensive in scope.

I have read the 252 page committee report, and it omits two key environmental and health aspects: release of radioactive radon gas into the natural gas stream, (although naturally occurring radioactive materials, otherwise known as NORM, are discussed at para 3.43, and by the Environment Agency - Yorkshire Area Oil and Gas Team submission at para 4.17; and radon is mentioned in passing at para 3.77) and use of endocrine disrupter fracking fluids.

This is what Public Health England’s final report Review of the potential Public Health Impacts of Exposures to Chemical and Radioactive Pollutants as a Result of Shale Gas Extraction Process - published in October 2014 -  stated: "If the natural gas delivery point were to be close to the extraction point with a short transit time, radon present in the natural gas would have little time to decay...there is therefore the potential for radon  gas to  be present in natural gas extracted from UK shale."  (

Extraordinarily, PHE scandalously stated in its response on 15 September 2015 to the consultation, that  it had “ no significant concerns regarding the risk to the health of the local population from the installation”.

Moreover, an article in the Washington Post on April 10 last  year (“Rise of deadly radon gas in Pennsylvania buildings linked to fracking industry,

(” reported a detailed study in the journal, Environmental Health Perspective, that revealed a “disturbing correlation” between unusually high levels of radon gas in mostly residences and fracking that has become the industry standard over the past decade.

The researchers found that, in the same areas of the state of Pennsylvania as the fracking operations, there was a generally higher reading of radon - with about 42% of the readings higher than what is considered safe by federal standards.

The researchers also discovered that radon levels spiked overall in 2004, at about the same time fracking activity began to pick up.

Over two years ago, academic researchers at the University of Missouri, released the results of research they had conducted into the known chemicals used in fracking. Their research paper, Estrogen and Androgen Receptor Activities of Hydraulic Fracturing Chemicals and Surface and Ground Water in a Drilling-Dense Region, published in the journal Endocrinology.( Volume 155 Issue 3 - March 2014, found higher levels of hormone-disrupting ('gender-bender) activity in water located near fracking wells than in areas without drilling.

 The planning committee should investigate and publicly report on these concerns.

Public Papers
Microsoft Word
File Type
File Type
File Type
File Type
File Type
File Type
File Type
File Type

No comments:

Post a Comment