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Radioactive Waste

Radioactive waste legacy of fracking

New research from Duke University, reported by DESMOG, has found a legacy of radioactive waste and toxic chemicals in water courses as a result of fracking:

“Some rivers and streams in North Dakota now carry levels of radioactive and toxic materials higher than federal drinking water standards as a result of wastewater spills, the scientists found after testing near spills…  Unlike spilled oil, which starts to break down in soil, these spilled brines consist of inorganic chemicals, metals and salts that are resistant to biodegradation.”

In the US, fracking companies have been allowed to simply ‘inject’ waste chemicals into the ground for ‘storage and disposal’.  Disposal regulations are considerably tighter in the UK and Europe, so it is unlikely that we will face the same problem here.  However, the alternative of removing all fracking fluids and safely disposing of them according to EU environmental standards adds significantly to the cost of fracking in the UK – adding another drain on the commercial viability of fracking.

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