Contact Information

Gary Walter, Ph.D.
(210) 522-3805
gwalter@swri.org

Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material

Image: Simulation of radon flux through the surface of a landfill containing TENORM; five landfill gas extraction wells control the simulated gas emissions.

Simulation of radon flux through the surface of a landfill containing TENORM; five landfill gas extraction wells control the simulated gas emissions.


Image: Autoradiograph of leaf from Phacilia robusta shows preferential uptake of radium from soil affected by a uranium deposit.

Autoradiograph of leaf from Phacilia robusta shows preferential uptake of radium from soil affected by a uranium deposit.


Image: SwRI's radiochemistry laboratory includes facilities for bench-scale testing of environmental samples and remedial technologies.

SwRI's radiochemistry laboratory includes facilities for bench-scale testing of environmental samples and remedial technologies.

Technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material (TENORM) is generated by a variety of industrial, mineral extraction, and water treatment processes. Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) is actively developing cost-effective and environmentally responsible approaches for managing TENORM waste.

The TENORM program focuses on:

  • Geochemical processes controlling generation of TENORM
  • Fate of radionuclides from TENORM in the environment
  • Human health risks associated with these radionuclides

Recent research studied land disposal of TENORM waste from petroleum extraction and from water treatment to remove radium and uranium from public drinking water supplies. Investigations examined release of radon gas from land disposal units. Other research has considered the mobility of naturally occurring radionuclides in soil and their uptake by vegetation.

TENORM Program

The TENORM program provides expertise and scientific services in:

  • Radiochemistry
  • Environmental process modeling
  • Probabilistic risk assessment
  • Environmental regulatory compliance

The TENORM program is supported by:

  • Advanced laboratory facilities for radiochemical analyses and bench-scale testing of radionuclide transport and stabilization processes
  • Public domain and proprietary models for multimedia modeling and probabilistic risk assessment
  • Facilities for large-scale pilot testing of environmental technologies on SwRI's 1,200-acre site

Related Terminology

technologically enhanced radioactive material  •  naturally occurring radioactive material  •  TENORM  •  radionuclides  •  radium removal  •  uranium  •  geochemical processes  •  human health risks  •  regulatory compliance

Benefiting government, industry and the public through innovative science and technology
Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 10 technical divisions.

04/15/14