During drilling operation, operators face challenges related to processing large volumes of produced drill cutting wastes which contain hazardous materials and can be detrimental to the environment when not treated properly prior to disposal. Radio-nuclides, a constituent of drill cutting wastes which could cause adverse effects on the environment at concentration above the acceptable limit have not been thoroughly investigated in literature. With environmental regulations becoming more and more stringent each day, it is imperative to use best available technology to determine dose-rates of drill cutting mud wastes so as to treat the wastes in an efficient manner that complies with local legislation and maintains operational efficiency. In this study, high purity germanium detector technology (HPGe) was used to detect radioactivity level and determine the amount of radionuclides in the samples using Matlab software. The measured average activity concentrations of K, U, and Th in each sample in Bq kgâˆ’1 ranged from (1.4-4.6), (0.2-2.7) and (0.35-1.7) respectively. The activity of uranium was highest in sample 2 and lowest in sample 5 while that of thorium was highest in sample 3 and lowest in sample 5 and for potassium; it was highest in sample 3 and lowest in sample 1. The average activity concentrations of uranium and thorium were found to be lower than the corresponding permissible limits. An average dose rate equivalent of 0.0102msv/yr lower than the global standard dose rate of 1mSv/yr was obtained for drill cutting mud wastes collected from Afiesere field in the Niger delta area of Nigeria. The cutting wastes do not affect the background ionization radiation of the environment and pose no significant radiological health problems to the populace of the host communities.
Keywords: Drill cuttings, environment, radionuclides, hyper-germanium high purity detector