Independent Environmental Monitoring Program: SRB Technologies Nuclear Substance 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 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
Air Elemental Tritium 7.70 Bq/m3 3.7 Bq/m3 N/A 5,100,000 Bq/m3 No N/A SR03-A01
Air Tritium 12.00 Bq/m3 2.4 Bq/m3 N/A 340 Bq/m3 No N/A SR03-A01
Air Tritium N/A N/A 46.7 Bq/m3 340 Bq/m3 No N/A SR03-A03
Air Tritium N/A N/A 1.1 Bq/m3 340 Bq/m3 No N/A SR13-A05
Air Tritium N/A N/A 96.4 Bq/m3 340 Bq/m3 No N/A SR17-A06
Air Elemental Tritium N/A N/A 581.7 Bq/m3 5,100,000 Bq/m3 No N/A SR03-A03
Air Elemental Tritium N/A N/A 83.5 Bq/m3 5,100,000 Bq/m3 No N/A SR13-A05
Air Elemental Tritium N/A N/A 2.0 Bq/m3 5,100,000 Bq/m3 No N/A SR17-A06
Foodstuffs Carrots Tritium 19.3 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A 104,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR01-F07
Foodstuffs Cucumbers Tritium 18.7 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A 104,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR01-F09
Foodstuffs Strawberries Tritium 35.80 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A 123,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR01-F06
Foodstuffs Tomatoes Tritium 89.63 Bq/kg fresh weight 43.2 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A 123,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR01-F02
Foodstuffs Potatoes Tritium N/A 37 Bq/kg fresh weight 4.9 Bq/kg fresh weight 279,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR01-F03
Foodstuffs Potatoes Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A < 1.5 Bq/kg fresh weight 121,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR01-F03
Foodstuffs Zucchinis Tritium 25.31 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A 104,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR01-F08
Foodstuffs Apples Tritium 93.43 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A 123,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR06-F10
Foodstuffs Tomatoes Tritium 68.78 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A 123,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR07-F11
Foodstuffs Apples Tritium 95.14 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A 123,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR08-F12
Foodstuffs Potatoes Tritium 84.67 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A 279,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR08-F13
Foodstuffs Apples Tritium 19.33 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A 123,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR09-F14
Foodstuffs Tomatoes Tritium 26.28 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A 123,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR09-F15
Foodstuffs Milk Tritium < 1.5 Bq/kg fresh weight < 1.5 Bq/kg fresh weight 1.7 Bq/kg fresh weight 5,560 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR12-F05
Foodstuffs Milk Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A <1.5 Bq/kg fresh weight 2,260 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR12-F05
Foodstuffs Kales Tritium N/A 180 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A 104,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR01-F01
Foodstuffs Red Wine Tritium 10.80 Bq/L 14.6 Bq/L N/A 45,100 Bq/L No N/A SR04-F04
Foodstuffs Wild Raspberries Tritium N/A N/A 34.1 Bq/kg fresh weight 123,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR14-F07
Foodstuffs Wild Raspberries Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A 11.8 Bq/kg fresh weight 50,300 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR14-F07
Foodstuffs Wild Apples Tritium N/A N/A 99.4 Bq/kg fresh weight 123,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR14-F08
Foodstuffs Wild Apples Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A 17.5 Bq/kg fresh weight 50,300 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR14-F08
Foodstuffs Green Peppers Tritium N/A N/A 7.5 Bq/kg fresh weight 104,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR01-F06
Foodstuffs Green Peppers Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A < 1.5 Bq/kg fresh weight 45,200 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR01-F06
Soil Surface Tritium N/A N/A < 1.5 Bq/kg fresh weight 68,500,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR01-S06
Soil Surface Tritium 54.88 Bq/kg fresh weight 12.7 Bq/kg fresh weight 23.6 Bq/kg fresh weight 68,500,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR02-S01
Soil Surface Tritium 73.43 Bq/kg fresh weight 13.7 Bq/kg fresh weight 87.1 Bq/kg fresh weight 68,500,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR03-S02
Soil Surface Tritium 31.52 Bq/kg fresh weight 57.2 Bq/kg fresh weight 38.0 Bq/kg fresh weight 68,500,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR05-S03
Soil Surface Tritium N/A N/A 20.4 Bq/kg fresh weight 68,500,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR13-S05
Soil Surface Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A 5.0 Bq/kg fresh weight 27,900,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR01-S06
Soil Surface Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A 30.5 Bq/kg fresh weight 27,900,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR02-S01
Soil Surface Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A 29.4 Bq/kg fresh weight 27,900,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR03-S02
Soil Surface Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A 42.5 Bq/kg fresh weight 27,900,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR05-S03
Soil Surface Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A < 1.5 Bq/kg fresh weight 27,900,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR13-S05
Vegetation Wild Vegetation/Grass Tritium N/A N/A 6.4 Bq/kg fresh weight 10,900 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR01-V05
Vegetation Wild Vegetation/Grass Tritium 560.33 Bq/kg fresh weight 34.3 Bq/kg fresh weight 61.8 Bq/kg fresh weight 10,900 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR02-V01
Vegetation Wild Vegetation/Grass Tritium 177.80 Bq/kg fresh weight 48.5 Bq/kg fresh weight 328.9 Bq/kg fresh weight 10,900 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR03-V02
Vegetation Wild Vegetation/Grass Tritium 101.22 Bq/kg fresh weight 130 Bq/kg fresh weight 111.1 Bq/kg fresh weight 10,900 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR05-V03
Vegetation Wild Vegetation/Grass Tritium N/A N/A 31.1 Bq/kg fresh weight 10,900 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR13-V04
Vegetation Wild Vegetation/Grass Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A 9.9 Bq/kg fresh weight 73,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR01-V05
Vegetation Wild Vegetation/Grass Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A 245.5 Bq/kg fresh weight 73,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR02-V01
Vegetation Wild Vegetation/Grass Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A 370.7 Bq/kg fresh weight 73,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR03-V02
Vegetation Wild Vegetation/Grass Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A 292.4 Bq/kg fresh weight 73,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR05-V03
Vegetation Wild Vegetation/Grass Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A 76.6 Bq/kg fresh weight 73,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No N/A SR13-V04
Water Surface Water Tritium 6.30 Bq/L < 5 Bq/L 3.1 Bq/L 7,000 Bq/L No 0.12-45 Bq/L SR10-W03
Water Surface Water Tritium 8.70 Bq/L < 5 Bq/L < 3 Bq/L 7,000 Bq/L No 0.12-45 Bq/L SR11-W04
Water Surface Water Tritium N/A N/A < 3 Bq/L 7,000 Bq/L No 0.12-45 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.

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.

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.