Review of the knowledge available to date on the effects of tritium exposure on health and the environment in Canada - a tool to guide regulatory compliance monitoring

Abstract of the journal article published in Radioprotection, 2011

Author(s):
PA Thompson, MS Hamlat, R Lane, S Mihok, P Reinhardt and K Bundy
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

Abstract

The use of tritium in CANDU (Canadian Deuterium-Uranium) reactors in industry to produce self-luminescent lights and paints, in oil and gas exploration, in hospitals for diagnostic tests and radiotherapeutics and in research makes the control of tritium releases generated by these activities particularly important in Canada. Releases are regulated and carefully monitored by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). Some special interest and citizen groups, however, claim that the scientific uncertainty regarding the effects of tritium on health and on the environment is such that regulation of the facilities releasing or using tritium may be inadequate. In response to these concerns, the CNSC asked its staff to initiate the Tritium Studies Project. As part of the project, the environmental fate of tritium and its health effects were studied through direct field measurements and the review of the latest scientific literature on the subject. The project made it possible to conclude that the tritium radiation protection measures and regulatory mechanisms are adequate in protecting the health and safety of Canadians.

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