Fracking for gas not only uses toxic chemicals that can contaminate drinking and groundwater—it also releases substantial quantities of radioactive poison from the ground that will remain hot and deadly for thousands of years.
Issuing a report yesterday exposing major radioactive impacts of hydraulic fracturing—known as fracking—was Grassroots Environmental Education, an organization in New York, where extensive fracking is proposed.
The Marcellus Shale region which covers much of upstate New York is seen as loaded with gas that can be released through the fracking process. It involves injecting fluid and chemicals under high pressure to fracture shale formations and release the gas captured in them.
But also released, notes the report, is radioactive material in the shale—including Radium-226 with a half-life of 1,600 years. A half-life is how long it takes for a radioactive substance to lose half its radiation. It is multiplied by between 10 and 20 to determine the “hazardous lifetime” of a radioactive material, how long it takes for it to lose its radioactivity. Thus Radium-226 remains radioactive for between 16,000 and 32,000 years.
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