Independent Environmental Monitoring Program: TRIUMF Accelerators Inc.

TRIUMF Accelerators Inc. (TRIUMF) is licensed by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to operate the TRIUMF facility, located in Vancouver, BC. TRIUMF operates multiple accelerator facilities for research in nuclear and particle physics, as well as accelerator-based science. TRIUMF has a comprehensive environmental protection program to monitor and control radioactive and hazardous substances released from the site, to determine concentrations in the environment and to assess exposure to the public.

Independent Environmental Monitoring Program (IEMP) results for 2016 and 2019 confirm that the public and the environment in the vicinity of the TRIUMF facility are protected and that there are no expected health impacts.

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[ ] Guideline/Reference Level

TRIUMF Accelerators Inc.

Sample Type Sample Description Parameter 20161, 2, 3 20191, 2, 3 Guideline/
Reference Level4
Expected Health Impact (Yes/No) Sample Code
Air Ambient Cesium-137 <0.00005 Bq/m³ N/A 2.56 Bq/m³ No TR01-A01
Air Ambient Cobalt-60 <0.000057 Bq/m³ <0.000067 Bq/m³ 0.832 Bq/m³ No TR01-A01
Air Ambient Iodine-131 <0.0007 Bq/m³ <0.0007 Bq/m³ 0.228 Bq/m³ No TR01-A01
Soil 0 – 5 cm Cesium-137 2.4 Bq/kg dry weight N/A 58.6 Bq/kg dry weight No TR01-S01
Soil 0 – 5 cm Cobalt-60 <1.0 Bq/kg dry weight <1.0 Bq/kg dry weight 14.1 Bq/kg dry weight No TR01-S01
Vegetation Grass Cesium-137 <5.9 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A 76.9 Bq/kg fresh weight No TR01-V01
Vegetation Grass Cobalt-60 <6.7 Bq/kg fresh weight <5.0 Bq/kg fresh weight 130 Bq/kg fresh weight No TR01-V01
Air Ambient Cesium-137 <0.00005 Bq/m³ N/A 2.56 Bq/m³ No TR02-A02
Air Ambient Cobalt-60 <0.000057 Bq/m³ <0.000067 Bq/m³ 0.832 Bq/m³ No TR02-A02
Air Ambient Iodine-131 <0.0007 Bq/m³ <0.0007 Bq/m³ 0.228 Bq/m³ No TR02-A02
Soil 0 – 5 cm Cesium-137 0.8 Bq/kg dry weight N/A 58.6 Bq/kg dry weight No TR02-S02
Soil 0 – 5 cm Cobalt-60 <1.0 Bq/kg dry weight <1.0 Bq/kg dry weight 14.1 Bq/kg dry weight No TR02-S02
Vegetation Grass Cesium-137 <5.9 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A 76.9 Bq/kg fresh weight No TR02-V02
Vegetation Grass Cobalt-60 <6.7 Bq/kg fresh weight <5.0 Bq/kg fresh weight 130 Bq/kg fresh weight No TR02-V02
Soil 0 – 5 cm Cesium-137 3.2 Bq/kg dry weight N/A 58.6 Bq/kg dry weight No TR03-S07
Soil 0 – 5 cm Cobalt-60 <1.0 Bq/kg dry weight <1.0 Bq/kg dry weight 14.1 Bq/kg dry weight No TR03-S07
Vegetation Grass Cesium-137 <5.9 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A 76.9 Bq/kg fresh weight No TR03-V07
Vegetation Grass Cobalt-60 <6.7 Bq/kg fresh weight <5.0 Bq/kg fresh weight 130 Bq/kg fresh weight No TR03-V07
Soil 0 – 5 cm Cesium-137 12.3 Bq/kg dry weight N/A 58.6 Bq/kg dry weight No TR04-S03
Soil 0 – 5 cm Cobalt-60 <1.0 Bq/kg dry weight <1.0 Bq/kg dry weight 14.1 Bq/kg dry weight No TR04-S03
Vegetation Grass Cesium-137 <5.9 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A 76.9 Bq/kg fresh weight No TR04-V03
Vegetation Grass Cobalt-60 <6.7 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A 130 Bq/kg fresh weight No TR04-V03
Soil 0 – 5 cm Cesium-137 5.9 Bq/kg dry weight N/A 58.6 Bq/kg dry weight No TR05-S04
Soil 0 – 5 cm Cobalt-60 <1.0 Bq/kg dry weight <1.0 Bq/kg dry weight 14.1 Bq/kg dry weight No TR05-S04
Vegetation Grass Cesium-137 <5.9 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A 76.9 Bq/kg fresh weight No TR05-V04
Vegetation Grass Cobalt-60 <6.7 Bq/kg fresh weight <5.0 Bq/kg fresh weight 130 Bq/kg fresh weight No TR05-V04
Soil 0 – 5 cm Cesium-137 1.7 Bq/kg dry weight N/A 58.6 Bq/kg dry weight No TR06-S05
Soil 0 – 5 cm Cobalt-60 <1.0 Bq/kg dry weight <1.0 Bq/kg dry weight 14.1 Bq/kg dry weight No TR06-S05
Vegetation Grass Cesium-137 <5.9 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A 76.9 Bq/kg fresh weight No TR06-V05
Vegetation Grass Cobalt-60 <6.7 Bq/kg fresh weight <5.0 Bq/kg fresh weight 130 Bq/kg fresh weight No TR06-V05
Soil 0 – 5 cm Cesium-137 2.4 Bq/kg dry weight N/A 58.6 Bq/kg dry weight No TR07-S06
Soil 0 – 5 cm Cobalt-60 <1.0 Bq/kg dry weight <1.0 Bq/kg dry weight 14.1 Bq/kg dry weight No TR07-S06
Vegetation Grass Cesium-137 <5.9 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A 76.9 Bq/kg fresh weight No TR07-V06
Vegetation Grass Cobalt-60 <6.7 Bq/kg fresh weight <5.0 Bq/kg fresh weight 130 Bq/kg fresh weight No TR07-V06

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

2 N/A – not available

3 In 2016, Cs-137 was monitored. The presence of Cs-137 in environmental samples is not attributable to TRIUMF operations. Thus, Cs-137 was not monitored in 2019.

4 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.

Background

CNSC staff collecting soil samples near TRIUMF in 2019

Under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA), licensees of nuclear facilities are required to implement environmental monitoring programs to demonstrate that the public and the environment are protected from emissions related to the facilities’ 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 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 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. The area outside of the TRIUMF facility perimeter was sampled in 2016 and 2019.

2016 and 2019 results

IEMP sampling at the TRIUMF facility for 2016 and 2019 focused on radiological contaminants. A site-specific sampling plan was developed based on TRIUMF’s environmental monitoring program and the CNSC’s regulatory experience with the site. In August 2016 and in September 2019, samples were collected in areas outside the TRIUMF facility perimeter and included samples of air, vegetation and soil. The levels of radioactivity measured in the samples were below available guidelines. No health or environmental impacts are expected at these levels.

Conclusions

IEMP results from 2016 and 2019 indicated that the public and the environment around the TRIUMF facility are protected and there are no expected health impacts. These results are consistent with the results submitted by TRIUMF, demonstrating that the licensee’s environmental protection program protects the health and safety of the people and the environment.

The CNSC is transitioning to an online reporting format for the IEMP. All IEMP information will be available on the online dashboard once this upgrade is complete. The CNSC recommends referencing online material for the most up to date and accurate data.

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