HSSE-SR: Mitigating Security and Safety Risks of Sealed Radionuclide Sources Used in the Petroleum Industry: Regulations to Protocols to Technology

The tragedy of 9/11 and subsequent world events have raised the risk profile of radioactive sources used in various industries, due to their potential for use in radiological dispersal devices (RDD’s) or so-called ‘dirty bombs.’ Of particular concern are the small, mobile sealed sources used by the petroleum industry, often in unstable regions of the world, in two critical applications, namely,1) well logging integral to estimating reserves and making viable completion/production decisions and 2) radiography to monitor integrity of structures, facilities, pipelines, etc. Stolen/missing sealed source incidents, a black-market on sources in general, reported attempts at their malevolent use, and a lack of clear insurance mechanisms to manage liabilities of an RDD incident have exacerbated the dilemma. Consequently, governments face radiological security threats and petroleum industry faces a multiple-discipline (HSSE, D&C, RDD) challenge. An untimely source-use ban would deprive the industry of a critical technology with potentially large financial consequences and human costs. A number of risk mitigation steps are underway, complementing decades-long industry R&D on alternative logging technologies. These include stricter regulations with enhanced physical security, new handling protocols by agencies and some operators, active assessment of technologies by both national labs and industry to electronically tag radioactive sources, and possibly replace them with electronic radiation sources, nonnuclear techniques, or both.

The presentation first discusses the varied landscape of source use by the industry and associated risks. It then describes the mitigation steps underway, especially their complex nexus, associated challenges and cross-disciplinary impacts to pose the question: Would these steps suffice or must source-use be abandoned? The talk explores why and how the industry can partner with various stakeholders in the mitigation efforts to address this multilayered challenge.


Visitor parking is available in the Visitor Garage, levels G-1 and G-2. Parking is metered and payable by credit card only. All visitors must check-in on level 2 at either the Tower Concierge Desk or the Marathon Oil Corporation Reception Desk. Please have photo identification available upon check-in. Lunch will be provided at 11:30, followed by the speaker’s presentation from 12:00-1:00.



Location: Marathon Conference Center Rm P1021
5555 San Felipe
Houston , Texas 77056

Date: Nov. 14, 2017, 11:30 a.m. - Nov. 14, 2017, 1 p.m.