Independent Environmental Monitoring Program: Nuclear Power Demonstration Waste Facility

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) is licensed by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to operate the Nuclear Power Demonstration Waste Facility (NPDWF), located in Rolphton, Ontario. CNL implements an effluent verification and monitoring plan for the NPDWF, which controls and monitors emissions of radioactive and hazardous substances from the facility.

The reactor at this site operated from 1962 until 1987 and was Canada’s first nuclear power reactor to supply electricity to Ontario Hydro’s grid. In 1988, the facility was partially decommissioned with the reactor shutdown and removal of the fuel and power generating equipment from the site.

As part of its decommissioning process, CNL is proposing that it fully decommission the NPDWF through an in situ (leaving in place) approach. Before the CNSC can make a licensing decision on this proposal, the CNSC must conduct an environmental assessment (EA). The CNSC is currently conducting an EA under the underway the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 to determine if the proposed activities would cause significant adverse environmental effects.

The Independent Environmental Monitoring Program (IEMP) results for 2018 confirm that the public and the environment around the NDPWF are protected and that there are no expected health impacts.

Legend

[ ] Guideline/Reference Level

Nuclear Power Demonstration Waste Facility

Sample Type Sample Description Parameter 2018 Guideline/
Reference Level
Expected Health Impact (Yes/No) Sample Code
Food Chokecherry Tritium 6.5 Bq/kg N/A No NP01-F01
Food Chokecherry Cesium-137 <0.7 Bq/kg N/A No NP01-F01
Soil 0 - 5 cm Tritium 0.84 Bq/kg 64,200,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No NP01-S01
Soil 0 - 5 cm Cesium-137 3.1 Bq/kg 58.6 Bq/kg dry weight No NP01-S01
Soil 0 - 5 cm Copper 8.75 mg/kg N/A No NP01-S01
Soil 0 - 5 cm Lead 26.97 mg/kg N/A No NP01-S01
Soil 0 - 5 cm Cadmium 0.33 mg/kg N/A No NP01-S01
Water Surface water Tritium <3.0 Bq/L 7,000 Bq/L No NP01-W01
Water Surface water Cesium-137 <0.25 Bq/L 10 Bq/L No NP01-W01
Water Surface water Copper 1.52 µg/L 2 - 4 µg/L No NP01-W01
Water Surface water Lead <0.1 µg/L 1 - 7 µg/L No NP01-W01
Water Surface water Mercury <0.005 µg/L 0.026 µg/L No NP01-W01
Water Surface water Cadmium <0.1 µg/L 0.09 µg/L No NP01-W01
Water Surface water Tritium <3.0 Bq/L 7,000 Bq/L No NP02-W02
Water Surface water Cesium-137 <0.25 Bq/L 10 Bq/L No NP02-W02
Water Surface water Copper 1.58 µg/L 2 - 4 µg/L No NP02-W02
Water Surface water Lead <0.1 µg/L 1 - 7 µg/L No NP02-W02
Water Surface water Mercury <0.005 µg/L 0.026 µg/L No NP02-W02
Water Surface water Cadmium <0.1 µg/L 0.09 µg/L No NP02-W02
Water Surface water Tritium <3.0 Bq/L 7,000 Bq/L No NP03-W03
Water Surface water Cesium-137 <0.25 Bq/L 10 Bq/L No NP03-W03
Water Surface water Copper 1.63 µg/L 2 - 4 µg/L No NP03-W03
Water Surface water Lead <0.1 µg/L 1 - 7 µg/L No NP03-W03
Water Surface water Mercury <0.005 µg/L 0.026 µg/L No NP03-W03
Water Surface water Cadmium <0.1 µg/L 0.09 µg/L No NP03-W03
Water Surface water Tritium <3.0 Bq/L 7,000 Bq/L No NP04-W04
Water Surface water Cesium-137 <0.25 Bq/L 10 Bq/L No NP04-W04
Water Surface water Copper 1.57 µg/L 2 - 4 µg/L No NP04-W04
Water Surface water Lead 0.10 µg/L 1 - 7 µg/L No NP04-W04
Water Surface water Mercury <0.005 µg/L 0.026 µg/L No NP04-W04
Water Surface water Cadmium <0.1 µg/L 0.09 µg/L No NP04-W04
Water Surface water Tritium <3.0 Bq/L 7,000 Bq/L No NP05-W05
Water Surface water Cesium-137 <0.25 Bq/L 10 Bq/L No NP05-W05
Water Surface water Copper 1.75 µg/L 2 - 4 µg/L No NP05-W05
Water Surface water Lead 6.60 µg/L 1 - 7 µg/L No NP05-W05
Water Surface water Mercury 0.010 µg/L 0.026 µg/L No NP05-W05
Water Surface water Cadmium <0.1 µg/L 0.09 µg/L No NP05-W05
Food Wintergreen Tritium 2.8 Bq/kg N/A No NP06-F02
Food Wintergreen Cesium-137 <2.8 Bq/kg N/A No NP06-F02
Food White pine Tritium <1.5 Bq/kg N/A No NP06-F03
Food White pine Cesium-137 <1.2 Bq/kg N/A No NP06-F03
Food Sumac berries Tritium <1.8 Bq/kg N/A No NP06-F04
Food Sumac berries Cesium-137 <1.3 Bq/kg N/A No NP06-F04
Food Sumac leaves Tritium 2.9 Bq/kg N/A No NP06-F05
Food Sumac leaves Cesium-137 <1.4 Bq/kg N/A No NP06-F05
Food Balsam Tritium <1.4 Bq/kg N/A No NP06-F06
Food Balsam Cesium-137 <2.9 Bq/kg N/A No NP06-F06
Soil 0 - 5 cm Tritium <0.67 Bq/kg 64,200,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No NP06-S06
Soil 0 - 5 cm Cesium-137 2.7 Bq/kg 58.6 Bq/kg dry weight No NP06-S06
Soil 0 - 5 cm Copper 15.61 mg/kg N/A No NP06-S06
Soil 0 - 5 cm Lead 31.76 mg/kg N/A No NP06-S06
Soil 0 - 5 cm Cadmium 0.22 mg/kg N/A No NP06-S06
Vegetation Mixed grass Tritium <1.6 Bq/kg 10,900 Bq/kg fresh weight No NP06-V06
Vegetation Mixed grass Copper 6.5 mg/kg N/A No NP06-V06
Vegetation Mixed grass Lead <0.1 mg/kg N/A No NP06-V06
Vegetation Mixed grass Cadmium <0.1 mg/kg N/A No NP06-V06
Vegetation Sphagnum moss Tritium <2.0 Bq/kg N/A No NP06-V13
Vegetation Sphagnum moss Copper 13.7 mg/kg N/A No NP06-V13
Vegetation Sphagnum moss Lead 12.3 mg/kg N/A No NP06-V13
Vegetation Sphagnum moss Cadmium 0.6 mg/kg N/A No NP06-V13
Water Surface water Tritium N/A 7,000 Bq/L No NP06-W06
Water Surface water Cesium-137 N/A 10 Bq/L No NP06-W06
Water Surface water Copper 0.66 µg/L 2 - 4 µg/L No NP06-W06
Water Surface water Lead <0.1 µg/L 1 - 7 µg/L No NP06-W06
Water Surface water Cadmium <0.1 µg/L 0.09 µg/L No NP06-W06
Soil 0 - 5 cm Tritium <0.67 Bq/kg 64,200,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No NP08-S08
Soil 0 - 5 cm Cesium-137 5.0 Bq/kg 58.6 Bq/kg dry weight No NP08-S08
Soil 0 - 5 cm Copper 15.84 mg/kg N/A No NP08-S08
Soil 0 - 5 cm Lead 35.56 mg/kg N/A No NP08-S08
Soil 0 - 5 cm Cadmium 0.15 mg/kg N/A No NP08-S08
Vegetation Mixed grass Tritium 2.3 Bq/kg 10,900 Bq/kg fresh weight No NP08-V08
Vegetation Mixed grass Copper 7.7 mg/kg N/A No NP08-V08
Vegetation Mixed grass Lead 0.4 mg/kg N/A No NP08-V08
Vegetation Mixed grass Cadmium <0.1 mg/kg N/A No NP08-V08
Food Wintergreen Tritium 2.8 Bq/kg N/A No NP09-F11
Food Wintergreen Cesium-137 <2.9 Bq/kg N/A No NP09-F11
Food White pine Tritium 4.9 Bq/kg N/A No NP09-F12
Food White pine Cesium-137 <1.8 Bq/kg N/A No NP09-F12
Food Sumac leaves Tritium 3.8 Bq/kg N/A No NP09-F13
Food Sumac leaves Cesium-137 <1.8 Bq/kg N/A No NP09-F13
Food Sumac berries Tritium 1.9 Bq/kg N/A No NP09-F14
Food Sumac berries Cesium-137 <2.0 Bq/kg N/A No NP09-F14
Food Sage Tritium 1.5 Bq/kg N/A No NP09-F15
Food Sage Cesium-137 <2.5 Bq/kg N/A No NP09-F15
Vegetation Lichen Tritium 2.6 Bq/kg 10,900 Bq/kg fresh weight No NP09-V15
Vegetation Lichen Copper 12.2 mg/kg N/A No NP09-V15
Vegetation Lichen Lead 2.4 mg/kg N/A No NP09-V15
Vegetation Lichen Cadmium <0.1 mg/kg N/A No NP09-V15
Soil 0 - 5 cm Tritium 1.00 Bq/kg 64,200,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No NP10-S10
Soil 0 - 5 cm Cesium-137 6.1 Bq/kg 58.6 Bq/kg dry weight No NP10-S10
Soil 0 - 5 cm Copper 6.03 mg/kg N/A No NP10-S10
Soil 0 - 5 cm Lead 20.92 mg/kg N/A No NP10-S10
Soil 0 - 5 cm Cadmium 0.10 mg/kg N/A No NP10-S10
Vegetation Mixed grass Tritium 1.6 Bq/kg 10,900 Bq/kg fresh weight No NP10-V10
Vegetation Mixed grass Copper 4.6 mg/kg N/A No NP10-V10
Vegetation Mixed grass Lead 1.0 mg/kg N/A No NP10-V10
Vegetation Mixed grass Cadmium 0.13 mg/kg N/A No NP10-V10
Soil 0 - 5 cm Tritium <0.67 Bq/kg 64,200,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No NP11-S11
Soil 0 - 5 cm Cesium-137 4.5 Bq/kg 58.6 Bq/kg dry weight No NP11-S11
Soil 0 - 5 cm Copper 4.07 mg/kg N/A No NP11-S11
Soil 0 - 5 cm Lead 19.71 mg/kg N/A No NP11-S11
Soil 0 - 5 cm Cadmium 0.27 mg/kg N/A No NP11-S11
Vegetation Mixed grass Tritium <2.0 Bq/kg 10,900 Bq/kg fresh weight No NP11-V11
Vegetation Mixed grass Copper 8.2 mg/kg N/A No NP11-V11
Vegetation Mixed grass Lead 0.4 mg/kg N/A No NP11-V11
Vegetation Mixed grass Cadmium <0.1 mg/kg N/A No NP11-V11
Water Surface water Tritium <3.0 Bq/L 7,000 Bq/L No NP13-W13
Water Surface water Cesium-137 <0.25 Bq/L 10 Bq/L No NP13-W13
Water Surface water Copper 1.62 µg/L 2 - 4 µg/L No NP13-W13
Water Surface water Lead 0.11 µg/L 1 - 7 µg/L No NP13-W13
Water Surface water Mercury <0.005 µg/L 0.026 µg/L No NP13-W13
Water Surface water Cadmium <0.1 µg/L 0.09 µg/L No NP13-W13
Water Surface water Tritium <3.0 Bq/L 7,000 Bq/L No NP14-W14
Water Surface water Cesium-137 <0.25 Bq/L 10 Bq/L No NP14-W14
Water Surface water Copper 1.63 µg/L 2 - 4 µg/L No NP14-W14
Water Surface water Lead <0.1 µg/L 1 - 7 µg/L No NP14-W14
Water Surface water Mercury <0.005 µg/L 0.026 µg/L No NP14-W14
Water Surface water Cadmium <0.1 µg/L 0.09 µg/L No NP14-W14
Food Wild sasparilla Tritium 3.7 Bq/kg N/A No NP15-F07
Food Wild sasparilla Cesium-137 1.9 Bq/kg N/A No NP15-F07
Food Balsam Tritium 3.3 Bq/kg N/A No NP15-F08
Food Balsam Cesium-137 <2.0 Bq/kg N/A No NP15-F08
Food White pine Tritium 4.5 Bq/kg N/A No NP15-F09
Food White pine Cesium-137 <2.8 Bq/kg N/A No NP15-F09
Food Wintergreen Tritium 4.5 Bq/kg N/A No NP15-F10
Food Wintergreen Cesium-137 <2.2 Bq/kg N/A No NP15-F10
Vegetation Sphagnum moss Tritium 4.4 Bq/kg N/A No NP15-V14
Vegetation Sphagnum moss Copper 6.5 mg/kg N/A No NP15-V14
Vegetation Sphagnum moss Lead 4.0 mg/kg N/A No NP15-V14
Vegetation Sphagnum moss Cadmium 0.4 mg/kg N/A No NP15-V14
Food Sumac leaves Tritium <1.0 Bq/kg N/A No NP16-F16
Food Sumac leaves Cesium-137 <3.3 Bq/kg N/A No NP16-F16
Food Sumac berries Tritium 1.5 Bq/kg N/A No NP16-F17
Food Sumac berries Cesium-137 <2.6 Bq/kg N/A No NP16-F17
Food White pine Tritium 2.1 Bq/kg N/A No NP16-F18
Food White pine Cesium-137 <1.3 Bq/kg N/A No NP16-F18
Food Wintergreen Tritium 3.6 Bq/kg N/A No NP16-F19
Food Wintergreen Cesium-137 <3.6 Bq/kg N/A No NP16-F19
Food Balsam Tritium 70.3 Bq/kg N/A No NP16-F20
Food Balsam Cesium-137 <2.1 Bq/kg N/A No NP16-F20
Food Wild sasparilla Tritium <1.6 Bq/kg N/A No NP16-F21
Food Wild sasparilla Cesium-137 <0.7 Bq/kg N/A No NP16-F21
Vegetation Sphagnum moss Tritium <2.0 Bq/kg N/A No NP16-V16
Vegetation Sphagnum moss Copper 14.4 mg/kg N/A No NP16-V16
Vegetation Sphagnum moss Lead 7.4 mg/kg N/A No NP16-V16
Vegetation Sphagnum moss Cadmium 1.27 mg/kg N/A No NP16-V16
Vegetation Lichen Tritium <1.2 Bq/kg 10,900 Bq/kg fresh weight No NP17-V17
Vegetation Lichen Copper 35.6 mg/kg N/A No NP17-V17
Vegetation Lichen Lead 5.8 mg/kg N/A No NP17-V17
Vegetation Lichen Cadmium <0.1 mg/kg N/A No NP17-V17

1 The < symbol indicates that a result is below the provided laboratory analytical detection limit.

2 N/A - Not available

CNSC staff member collecting chokecherries near NPDWF in 2018.

CNSC staff member collecting chokecherries near NPDWF in 2018.

Background

Under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, licensees of nuclear facilities are required to implement an environmental monitoring program to demonstrate that the public and the environment are protected from emissions related to the facility’s nuclear activities. The results of these monitoring programs are submitted to the CNSC to ensure compliance with applicable guidelines and limits, as set out in regulations that govern Canada’s nuclear industry.

The CNSC has implemented its IEMP to verify that the public and the environment around licensed nuclear facilities are protected. It is separate from, but complementary to, the CNSC’s ongoing compliance verification program. The IEMP involves taking samples from public areas around the facilities, and measuring and analyzing the amount of radioactiveand hazardous substances in those samples. CNSC staff collect the samples and send them to the CNSC’s independent laboratory for testing and analysis.

2018 results

The 2018 IEMP sampling plan for the NPDWF focused on radioactive and hazardous substances. A site-specific sampling plan was developed based on CNL’s effluent verification and monitoring plan, CSA Group standards and the CNSC’s regulatory experience with the facility. The Algonquins of Ontario (AOO) also collaborated with the CNSC to provide locations and plants of interest for sampling. It is a priority for the CNSC that IEMP sampling reflects Indigenous traditional land use, values and knowledge where possible so that our IEMP results are meaningful for the community.

CNSC staff collected water, soil and vegetation samples, and with the assistance of AOO Knowledge Holders also collected traditional food and medicinal plants such as sumac leaves and berries, balsam, white pine, wintergreen, choke cherries, wild sarsaparilla root, sage and lichen samples. View detailed sampling data.

The level of radioactivity and hazardous substances measured in water, soil, vegetation and traditional plant samples were below available guidelines and CNSC screening levels, and were comparable to samples collected at a reference location. As many of the foods and plants of interest to the AOO are typically not assessed by the CNSC or other federal or provincial bodies, there are no established guidelines or screening levels for these samples. In this case, the CNSC collected the same species upstream, upwind and not impacted by the operations of NPDWF to use as reference samples.

For radioactivity, CNSC screening levels are based on conservative assumptions about the exposure that would result in a dose of 0.1 mSv/year. No health impacts are expected at this dose level.

Conclusions

The 2018 IEMP results confirm that Indigenous communities, the public and the environment in the vicinity of the NPDWF are protected and that there are no expected health impacts. These results are consistent with the results submitted by CNL, confirming that the licensee’s effluent verification and monitoring plan protects the health and safety of people and the environment.

To obtain the full technical IEMP report, contact us at cnsc.info.ccsn@canada.ca or call 613-995-5894 or 1-800-668-5284 (in Canada). Please provide the name of the facility and the report year.

Focus on health

The CNSC reviews the results of the local public health unit health reports and data to provide further independent verification that the health of people in and around the NPDWF is not impacted by the site. The Renfrew County and District Health Unit monitors the health of populations around the NPDWF, and disease rates are compared to other similar populations to detect any potential health outcomes that may be of concern. From 2010‒2014, for all cancers and sexes combined, Renfrew County and District had similar incidence and mortality rates as Ontario.

Visit the Renfrew County and District Health Unit website to view health reports: https://www.rcdhu.com/

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