Independent Environmental Monitoring Program: Nordion (Canada) Inc.

Nordion (Canada) Inc. (Nordion) is licensed by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to operate the Nordion Class IB facility located in Ottawa, ON. At this facility, Nordion processes unsealed radioisotopes for health and life sciences applications, and manufactures sealed radiation sources for industrial applications. Nordion has a comprehensive environmental protection program to monitor and control nuclear and hazardous substances released from the site, determine concentrations in the environment, and assess exposure to the public.

The Independent Environmental Monitoring Program (IEMP) results for 2016 indicate that the public and the environment in the vicinity of Nordion are protected and that there is no unreasonable risk to health and the environment.

Legend

[ ] Guideline/Reference Level

 

Nordion

Sample Type Sample Description Parameter 2016 Result Guideline/
Reference Level
Expected Health Impact (Yes/No) Background Sample Code
Air Iodine-131 < 0.0006 Bq/m3 0.228 Bq/m3 No N/A ND01-A01
Air Cesium-137 < 0.000058 Bq/m3 2.56 Bq/m3 No N/A ND01-A01
Air Cobalt-60 < 0.00006 Bq/m3 0.832 Bq/m3 No N/A ND01-A01
Air Iodine-131 < 0.0006 Bq/m3 0.228 Bq/m3 No N/A ND02-A02
Air Cesium-137 < 0.000058 Bq/m3 2.56 Bq/m3 No N/A ND02-A02
Air Cobalt-60 < 0.00006 Bq/m3 0.832 Bq/m3 No N/A ND02-A02
Air Iodine-131 < 0.0006 Bq/m3 0.228 Bq/m3 No N/A ND03-A03
Air Cesium-137 < 0.000058 Bq/m3 2.56 Bq/m3 No N/A ND03-A03
Air Cobalt-60 < 0.00006 Bq/m3 0.832 Bq/m3 No N/A ND03-A03
Soil 5 - 10 cm Cesium-137 2.7 Bq/kg dry weight 58.6 Bq/kg dry weight No N/A ND01-S01
Soil 5 - 10 cm Cobalt-60 < 1.3 Bq/kg dry weight 14.1 Bq/kg dry weight No N/A ND01-S01
Soil 5 - 10 cm Cesium-137 5.5 Bq/kg dry weight 58.6 Bq/kg dry weight No N/A ND02-S02
Soil 5 - 10 cm Cobalt-60 < 1.3 Bq/kg dry weight 14.1 Bq/kg dry weight No N/A ND02-S02
Soil 5 - 10 cm Cesium-137 1.5 Bq/kg dry weight 58.6 Bq/kg dry weight No N/A ND03-S03
Soil 5 - 10 cm Cobalt-60 < 1.3 Bq/kg dry weight 14.1 Bq/kg dry weight No N/A ND03-S03
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Cesium-137 2.2 Bq/kg dry weight 37300 Bq/kg dry weight No N/A ND04-S04
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Cobalt-60 < 1.3 Bq/kg dry weight 5870 Bq/kg dry weight No N/A ND04-S04
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Cesium-137 1.7 Bq/kg dry weight 37300 Bq/kg dry weight No N/A ND05-S05
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Cobalt-60 < 1.3 Bq/kg dry weight 5870 Bq/kg dry weight No N/A ND05-S05
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Cesium-137 < 0.9 Bq/kg dry weight 37300 Bq/kg dry weight No N/A ND06-S06
Sediment 0 - 5 cm Cobalt-60 < 1.3 Bq/kg dry weight 5870 Bq/kg dry weight No N/A ND06-S06
Water Surface Water pH 7.86 6.5-9.0 No N/A ND04-W01
Water Surface Water pH 7.72 6.5-9.0 No N/A ND05-W02
Water Surface Water pH 7.77 6.5-9.0 No N/A ND06-W03
Water Surface Water Cesium-137 < 0.24 Bq/L 10 Bq/L No N/A ND04-W01
Water Surface Water Cobalt-60 < 0.28 Bq/L 12.1 Bq/L No N/A ND04-W01
Water Surface Water Cesium-137 < 0.24 Bq/L 10 Bq/L No N/A ND05-W02
Water Surface Water Cobalt-60 < 0.28 Bq/L 12.1 Bq/L No N/A ND05-W02
Water Surface Water Cesium-137 < 0.24 Bq/L 10 Bq/L No N/A ND06-W03
Water Surface Water Cobalt-60 < 0.28 Bq/L 12.1 Bq/L No N/A ND06-W03
Water Surface Water Total Dissolved Solids 636 mg/L 500 mg/L No N/A ND04-W01
Water Surface Water Total Dissolved Solids 624 mg/L 500 mg/L No N/A ND05-W02
Water Surface Water Total Dissolved Solids 647 mg/L 500 mg/L No N/A ND06-W03
Water Surface Water Total Suspended Solids 15.4 mg/L N/A No N/A ND04-W01
Water Surface Water Total Suspended Solids 9 mg/L N/A No N/A ND05-W02
Water Surface Water Total Suspended Solids 4.6 mg/L N/A No N/A ND06-W03
Water Surface Water Gross Alpha - 0.5 Bq/L No N/A ND04-W01
Water Surface Water Gross Alpha - 0.5 Bq/L No N/A ND05-W02
Water Surface Water Gross Alpha - 0.5 Bq/L No N/A ND06-W03
Water Surface Water Gross Beta - 1 Bq/L No N/A ND04-W01
Water Surface Water Gross Beta - 1 Bq/L No N/A ND05-W02
Water Surface Water Gross Beta - 1 Bq/L No N/A ND06-W03

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

2 N/A – not available

3 For radiological parameters where no guidelines exist, CNSC reference levels were established based on conservative assumptions using CSA standard N288.1-14. The reference level for a particular radionuclide in a particular medium (e.g., water, air, food) represents the activity concentration that would result in a dose of 0.1 mSv/a (millisieverts/year), a dose at which no health impacts are expected.

4 For water samples, the results are compared to Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) Guidelines for the Protection of Aquatic Life; where no CCME guidelines exist, the Health Canada Drinking Water Quality Guidelines are used.

5 "-" The gross alpha and gross beta levels in surface water could not be assessed because the total dissolved solids in the water samples exceeded the limit (500 mg/L) of the validated laboratory method.

Background

Under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA), 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 oversee Canada's nuclear industry.

The CNSC has implemented its IEMP to verify that the public and the environment around licensed nuclear facilities are safe. 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 radiological (nuclear)and hazardous substances in those samples. CNSC staff collect the samples and send them to the CNSC's independent laboratory for testing and analysis. In 2016, as part of the IEMP, CNSC staff conducted sampling in public areas outside of the Nordion facility perimeter.

2016 results

The 2016 IEMP sampling plan for Nordion focused on radiological (nuclear) contaminants. A site-specific sampling plan was developed based on the licensee's approved environmental monitoring program. The site-specific sampling plan also took into consideration the CNSC's regulatory experience with the site. In June 2016, CNSC staff collected air, soil, sediment and water samples in publically-accessible areas outside the Nordion facility perimeter. The levels of radioactivity measured in air, soil, sediment and water were below available guidelines and CNSC reference levels. CNSC reference 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. The gross alpha and gross beta levels in surface water could not be assessed because the total dissolved solids (TDS) in the water samples exceeded the limit (500 mg/L) of the validated laboratory method. The guidelines for TDS are an aesthetic objective only and do not pose any concern for the environment or human health. Aesthetic objectives are established for parameters that may impair the taste, odour or colour of water. Nordion’s operation does not impact the levels of TDS in surface water and TDS was measured solely for the purposes of the laboratory method. Additional surface water samples will be taken in future IEMP sampling campaigns.

Conclusions

The IEMP results indicate that the public and the environment in the vicinity of Nordion are protected and that there is no unreasonable risk to health and the environment. These results are consistent with the results submitted by Nordion, demonstrating that the licensee's environmental protection program protects the health and safety of people and the environment.