Independent Environmental Monitoring Program: SRB Technologies Nuclear Substance Processing Facility

Publication date: November 4, 2016

SRB Technologies (Canada) Inc. (SRB) is licensed by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to operate the SRB Technologies Inc. nuclear substance 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 2013, 2014 and 2015 confirm that the public and the environment around the SRB facility site are safe and that there are no health impacts.

Legend

[ ] Guideline/Reference Level

 

SRB Technologies Inc. Points

Sample Type Sample Description Parameter 2013 Result 2014 Result 2015 Result Guideline/
Reference Level
Expected Health Impact (Yes/No) Background Sample Code
AirElemental Tritium7.70 Bq/m33.7 Bq/m3 N/A5,100,000 Bq/m3NoN/A SR03-A01
AirTritium12.00 Bq/m32.4 Bq/m3 N/A340 Bq/m3NoN/A SR03-A01
AirTritiumN/AN/A 46.7 Bq/m3340 Bq/m3NoN/A SR03-A03
AirTritiumN/AN/A 1.1 Bq/m3340 Bq/m3NoN/A SR13-A05
AirTritiumN/AN/A 96.4 Bq/m3340 Bq/m3NoN/A SR17-A06
AirElemental TritiumN/AN/A 581.7 Bq/m35,100,000 Bq/m3NoN/A SR03-A03
AirElemental TritiumN/AN/A 83.5 Bq/m35,100,000 Bq/m3NoN/A SR13-A05
AirElemental TritiumN/AN/A 2.0 Bq/m35,100,000 Bq/m3NoN/A SR17-A06
FoodstuffsCarrotsTritium19.3 Bq/kg fresh weightN/A N/A104,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR01-F07
FoodstuffsCucumbersTritium18.7 Bq/kg fresh weightN/A N/A104,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR01-F09
FoodstuffsStrawberriesTritium35.80 Bq/kg fresh weightN/A N/A123,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR01-F06
FoodstuffsTomatoesTritium89.63 Bq/kg fresh weight43.2 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A123,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR01-F02
FoodstuffsPotatoesTritiumN/A37 Bq/kg fresh weight 4.9 Bq/kg fresh weight279,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR01-F03
FoodstuffsPotatoesOrganically Bound TritiumN/AN/A < 1.5 Bq/kg fresh weight121,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR01-F03
FoodstuffsZucchinisTritium25.31 Bq/kg fresh weightN/A N/A104,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR01-F08
FoodstuffsApplesTritium93.43 Bq/kg fresh weightN/A N/A123,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR06-F10
FoodstuffsTomatoesTritium68.78 Bq/kg fresh weightN/A N/A123,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR07-F11
FoodstuffsApplesTritium95.14 Bq/kg fresh weightN/A N/A123,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR08-F12
FoodstuffsPotatoesTritium84.67 Bq/kg fresh weightN/A N/A279,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR08-F13
FoodstuffsApplesTritium19.33 Bq/kg fresh weightN/A N/A123,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR09-F14
FoodstuffsTomatoesTritium26.28 Bq/kg fresh weightN/A N/A123,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR09-F15
FoodstuffsMilkTritium< 1.5 Bq/kg fresh weight< 1.5 Bq/kg fresh weight 1.7 Bq/kg fresh weight5,560 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR12-F05
FoodstuffsMilkOrganically Bound TritiumN/AN/A <1.5 Bq/kg fresh weight2,260 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR12-F05
FoodstuffsKalesTritiumN/A180 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A104,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR01-F01
FoodstuffsRed WineTritium10.80 Bq/L14.6 Bq/L N/A45,100 Bq/LNoN/A SR04-F04
FoodstuffsWild RaspberriesTritiumN/AN/A 34.1 Bq/kg fresh weight123,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR14-F07
FoodstuffsWild RaspberriesOrganically Bound TritiumN/AN/A 11.8 Bq/kg fresh weight50,300 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR14-F07
FoodstuffsWild ApplesTritiumN/AN/A 99.4 Bq/kg fresh weight123,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR14-F08
FoodstuffsWild ApplesOrganically Bound TritiumN/AN/A 17.5 Bq/kg fresh weight50,300 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR14-F08
FoodstuffsGreen PeppersTritiumN/AN/A 7.5 Bq/kg fresh weight104,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR01-F06
FoodstuffsGreen PeppersOrganically Bound TritiumN/AN/A < 1.5 Bq/kg fresh weight45,200 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR01-F06
SoilSurfaceTritiumN/AN/A < 1.5 Bq/kg fresh weight68,500,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR01-S06
SoilSurfaceTritium54.88 Bq/kg fresh weight12.7 Bq/kg fresh weight 23.6 Bq/kg fresh weight68,500,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR02-S01
SoilSurfaceTritium73.43 Bq/kg fresh weight13.7 Bq/kg fresh weight 87.1 Bq/kg fresh weight68,500,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR03-S02
SoilSurfaceTritium31.52 Bq/kg fresh weight57.2 Bq/kg fresh weight 38.0 Bq/kg fresh weight68,500,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR05-S03
SoilSurfaceTritiumN/AN/A 20.4 Bq/kg fresh weight68,500,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR13-S05
SoilSurfaceOrganically Bound TritiumN/AN/A 5.0 Bq/kg fresh weight27,900,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR01-S06
SoilSurfaceOrganically Bound TritiumN/AN/A 30.5 Bq/kg fresh weight27,900,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR02-S01
SoilSurfaceOrganically Bound TritiumN/AN/A 29.4 Bq/kg fresh weight27,900,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR03-S02
SoilSurfaceOrganically Bound TritiumN/AN/A 42.5 Bq/kg fresh weight27,900,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR05-S03
SoilSurfaceOrganically Bound TritiumN/AN/A < 1.5 Bq/kg fresh weight27,900,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR13-S05
VegetationWild Vegetation/GrassTritiumN/AN/A 6.4 Bq/kg fresh weight10,900 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR01-V05
VegetationWild Vegetation/GrassTritium560.33 Bq/kg fresh weight34.3 Bq/kg fresh weight 61.8 Bq/kg fresh weight10,900 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR02-V01
VegetationWild Vegetation/GrassTritium177.80 Bq/kg fresh weight48.5 Bq/kg fresh weight 328.9 Bq/kg fresh weight10,900 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR03-V02
VegetationWild Vegetation/GrassTritium101.22 Bq/kg fresh weight130 Bq/kg fresh weight 111.1 Bq/kg fresh weight10,900 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR05-V03
VegetationWild Vegetation/GrassTritiumN/AN/A 31.1 Bq/kg fresh weight10,900 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR13-V04
VegetationWild Vegetation/GrassOrganically Bound TritiumN/AN/A 9.9 Bq/kg fresh weight73,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR01-V05
VegetationWild Vegetation/GrassOrganically Bound TritiumN/AN/A 245.5 Bq/kg fresh weight73,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR02-V01
VegetationWild Vegetation/GrassOrganically Bound TritiumN/AN/A 370.7 Bq/kg fresh weight73,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR03-V02
VegetationWild Vegetation/GrassOrganically Bound TritiumN/AN/A 292.4 Bq/kg fresh weight73,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR05-V03
VegetationWild Vegetation/GrassOrganically Bound TritiumN/AN/A 76.6 Bq/kg fresh weight73,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SR13-V04
WaterSurface WaterTritium6.30 Bq/L< 5 Bq/L 3.1 Bq/L7,000 Bq/LNo0.12-45 Bq/L SR10-W03
WaterSurface WaterTritium8.70 Bq/L< 5 Bq/L < 3 Bq/L7,000 Bq/LNo0.12-45 Bq/L SR11-W04
WaterSurface WaterTritiumN/AN/A < 3 Bq/L7,000 Bq/LNo0.12-45 Bq/L SR15-W05

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, 2014 and 2015.

2015 Results

The 2015 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, CSA Group standards and the CNSC’s regulatory experience with the site. In 2015, 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, fruits and vegetables from local farms. View detailed sampling data.

The radioactivity measured in water, soil, vegetation, air, and food 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 results for air sample SR03-A03 are higher than those captured in the results from 2013 and 2014. The variation in results is not unexpected given that SRB’s emissions to the environment are not continuous. The 2013 and 2014 sampling campaigns were either performed during a time when the facility was not emitting tritium, or weather conditions varied. Additionally, the results for air sample SR03-A03 are higher than the licensee’s results. The licensee uses passive air samplers to collect samples over a one month period, while the IEMP uses active air samplers to collect samples over a period of approximately eight hours. Results from the two sampling methods cannot be directly compared. Passive air sampler results will reflect the average concentration of tritium, which is low because there are extended periods when the facility is not emitting based on its operating conditions. The SR03-A03 results are within SRB’s normal operating range and no health impacts are expected at this dose level.

The IEMP 2015 results confirm that the public and the environment in the vicinity of the SRB facility site are protected from releases from the facility, and that there are no health impacts.

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.

To obtain the full technical IEMP report, contact us at cnsc.information.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.

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 cnsc.information.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.

Conclusions

The IEMP results for for 2013, 2014 and 2015 indicate 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, demonstrating that the licensee's environmental protection program protects the health and safety of people and the environment.