Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Civil engineering, Construction engineering, 2.3 MECHANICAL ENGINEERING, Chemical engineering (plants, products), Nuclear related engineering, Materials engineering

Publication Details

Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering


A procedure is proposed to determine the radiological activity of air present in the working area of a NORM (Naturally-Occurring Radioactive Materials) plant. This NORM plant is located in the United Arab Emirates and is dedicated to the recycling of material and equipment used in oil extraction facilities. Substantial quantities of NORM waste will be present inside the enclosed plant facilities and will exhale significant amounts of Radon-222 into the working environment. The continued inhalation of this gas and its progeny has been shown to cause lung cancer. In order to reduce the concentration level of the aforementioned gas to an acceptable regulatory value, the best solution is by means of mechanical ventilation. The two calculation methods used to analysis the relationship between the ventilation rate and the degree of radioactive contamination are considered. The first being ventilation by perfect dilution, commonly employed in industrial environments with radiological contamination. The second method of analysis is by means of a CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) which permits a more precise calculation of the required fresh air quantity and spatial concentrations. Validation was carried out in a small experimental plant space, obtaining results reasonable approximate to those predicted by the computational analysis. The similarities and differences between the respective calculation methods and their respective fields of application are analyzed. It is concluded that for lower air change rates, less than five air changes per hour, the CFD analysis is the most appropriate method. By contrast, when using a higher rate of outside air changes in the plant, the perfect dilution method should be sufficient enough to control the presence of radon and its progeny. Both calculation methods consider the activity of radon and the activity of the most significant radioisotopes of its progeny.