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Fracking may be limited according to University of Edinburgh study - 18th December


University of Edinburgh claims that a lack of specialise waste treatment facilities could limit the development of fracking in the UK. However, the predicted costs for the safe treatment and disposal of waste water caused by fracking could cost more than £1 million per well over its lifetime.

In order to gain a better understanding of the volume of waste water that would be generated from the wells within the UK, researchers looked at how much waste water was generated by well in the US. They also reviewed the methodology from treating water produced from fracking.

Megan O’Donnell, from the School of GeoSciences stated the cost of treating wastewater produced could be incredibly expensive and cut into the industries profits. She also says that currently, the UK’s capacity to treat the radioactive material found within the water is limited and this could cause major issues if the shale gas industry expands quicker than the treatment facilities available in the UK.

The chemical composition of UK waste water is not fully understood, although it can be much saltier than seawater and can contain naturally occurring radioactive materials. Experts claim that in order to treat this water using existing facilities, the cost could be anywhere between £100,000 and £1 million per well under the current treatment regulations. This equates to between 2% and 26% of the expected total revenue per well, which means that more than £160,000 per well may be needed to treat and dispose of the radioactive material which occurs in the water.


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