Independent Environmental Monitoring Program: SRB Technologies Nuclear Processing Facility

Publication date: May 1, 2015

SRB Technologies (Canada) Inc. (SRB) is licensed by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to operate the SRB Technologies Inc. nuclear processing facility (SRB facility), located in Pembroke, Ontario. SRB uses tritium, a nuclear substance, to make self-luminous emergency exit signs, military applications such as landmine markers, watch dials and other safety products not requiring batteries or other external sources of power. SRB runs a comprehensive environmental protection program to monitor and control nuclear and hazardous substances released from the SRB facility, determine concentrations of contaminants in the environment, and assess exposure to the public.

The Independent Environmental Monitoring Program (IEMP) results for both 2013 and 2014 confirm that the public and the environment around the SRB facility site are safe and that there are no health impacts.

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[ ] Guideline/Reference Level

 

SRB Technologies Inc. Points

Sample Type Sample Description Parameter 2013 Result 2014 Result Guideline/
Reference Level
Expected Health Impact (Yes/No) Background Sample Code
AirElemental Tritium7.7 Bq/m33.7 Bq/m35,100,000 Bq/m3NoN/A SR03-A01
AirTritium12 Bq/m32.4 Bq/m3340 Bq/m3NoN/A SR03-A01
FoodstuffsCarrotsTritium19.3 Bq/kg fresh weightN/A104,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR01-F07
FoodstuffsCucumbersTritium18.7 Bq/kg fresh weightN/A104,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR01-F09
FoodstuffsStrawberriesTritium35.8 Bq/kg fresh weightN/A123,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR01-F06
FoodstuffsTomatoesTritium89.63 Bq/kg fresh weight43.2 Bq/kg fresh weight123,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR01-F02
FoodstuffsZucchinisTritium25.31 Bq/kg fresh weightN/A104,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR01-F08
FoodstuffsApplesTritium93.43 Bq/kg fresh weightN/A123,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR06-F10
FoodstuffsTomatoesTritium68.78 Bq/kg fresh weightN/A123,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR07-F11
FoodstuffsApplesTritium95.14 Bq/kg fresh weightN/A123,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR08-F12
FoodstuffsPotatoesTritium84.67 Bq/kg fresh weightN/A279,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR08-F13
FoodstuffsApplesTritium19.33 Bq/kg fresh weightN/A123,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR09-F14
FoodstuffsTomatoesTritium26.28 Bq/kg fresh weightN/A123,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR09-F15
FoodstuffsMilkTritium<1.5 Bq/kg fresh weight<1.5 Bq/kg fresh weight5,560 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR12-F05
FoodstuffsRed WineTritium10.8 Bq/L14.6 Bq/L45,100 Bq/LNoN/A SR04-F04
SoilTritium54.88 Bq/kg fresh weight12.7 Bq/kg fresh weight68,500,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR02-S01
SoilTritium73.43 Bq/kg fresh weight13.7 Bq/kg fresh weight68,500,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR03-S02
SoilTritium31.52 Bq/kg fresh weight57.2 Bq/kg fresh weight68,500,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR05-S03
VegetationGrassTritium560.33 Bq/kg fresh weight34.3 Bq/kg fresh weight10,900 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR02-V01
VegetationGrassTritium177.8 Bq/kg fresh weight48.5 Bq/kg fresh weight10,900 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR03-V02
VegetationGrassTritium101.22 Bq/kg fresh weight130 Bq/kg fresh weight10,900 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR05-V03
WaterTritium6.3 Bq/L<5 Bq/L7,000 Bq/LNo0.12-45 Bq/L SR10-W03
WaterTritium8.7 Bq/L<5 Bq/L7,000 Bq/LNo0.12-45 Bq/L SR11-W04
FoodstuffsPotatoesTritiumN/A37 Bq/kg fresh weight279,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR01-F03
FoodstuffsKaleTritiumN/A180 Bq/kg fresh weight104,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR01-F01

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

2N/A - Not Available

3For 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, a dose at which no health impacts are expected.

4Tritiated water (HTO) is a radioactive form of water where the usual hydrogen atoms in H2O are replaced with tritium. Elemental Tritium (HT) refers to the radioactive form of hydrogen gas.

5HTO concentrations in soil are presented on a fresh weight basis. This indicates the concentration in bulk soil, for which HTO is contained in the soil pore water.

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 state-of-the-art laboratory for testing and analysis. Since the implementation of the IEMP, the area outside of the SRB facility site perimeter was sampled both in 2013 and 2014.

2014 Results

The 2014 IEMP sampling plan for the SRB facility site focused on radiological contaminants. A site-specific sampling plan was developed based on SRB’s approved environmental monitoring program, Canadian Standards Association (CSA) standards and the CNSC’s regulatory experience with the site. In 2014, samples were collected in publicly accessible areas outside the SRB facility site perimeter and included water, soil and vegetation, air, and food such as milk, wine, fruits and vegetables from local farms.View detailed sampling data.

Tritium concentrations in two 2014 vegetation samples were lower by an order of magnitude than 2013. Since the IEMP results represent a snapshot in time, the differences between sample results can be attributed to slight differences in the sampling locations, seasonal variations, facility operations, meteorological conditions, and/or natural variations in background. What is consistent over the two sampling years is that the results remain well below the reference levels. Over time, CNSC staff will have sufficient data to establish a baseline and monitor trends.

The radioactivity measured in water, air, soil, vegetation, milk, wine, fruits and vegetables samples were below available guidelines and CNSC reference levels and are within natural background 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 IEMP 2014 results confirm that the public and the environment in the vicinity of the SRB facility site are protected from the releases from the facility, and that there are no health impacts.

2013 Results

The 2013 IEMP sampling plan for the SRB facility site was very similar to the 2014 plan and focused on radiological contaminants. Water, soil, vegetation, air and food samples were collected by CNSC staff in publicly accessible areas outside the SRB facility site perimeter for both sampling campaigns. The types of fruits and vegetables sampled in 2013 were slightly different due to the timing of the sampling and the availability of the produce. View detailed sampling data.

The 2013 IEMP results confirmed that the public and the environment in the vicinity of the SRB facility site were protected from the releases from the facility, and that there were no health impacts.

To obtain the full technical IEMP report, contact us at info@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.

Conclusions

The IEMP results for both 2013 and 2014 confirm that the public and the environment around the SRB facility site are safe and that there are no health impacts. These results are consistent with the results submitted by SRB, confirming that the licensee’s environmental protection program protects the health and safety of people and the environment.