Independent Environmental Monitoring Program – BWXT Nuclear Energy Canada (BWXT), (formerly GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy Canada) - Peterborough

Publication date: November 4, 2016

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy Canada Inc. (GEH-C) is licensed by the CNSC to operate a nuclear fuel fabrication facility (GEH-C Peterborough) located in Peterborough, ON. GEH-C manufactures nuclear fuel bundles for Canada’s nuclear power plants from uranium dioxide (UO2) powder. The Peterborough facility assembles UO2 pellets into CANDU reactor fuel bundles. GEH-C runs a comprehensive environmental protection program to monitor and control nuclear and hazardous substances released from the GE facility, determine concentrations of contaminants in the environment and assess exposure to the public. The Independent Environmental Monitoring Program (IEMP) results for 2014 confirm that the public and environment around the GEH-C Peterborough facility are safe and that there are no health impacts.

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[ ] Guideline/Reference Level

 

BWXT Nuclear Energy Canada (BWXT) - Peterborough

Sample Type Sample Description Parameter 2014 Result Guideline/
Reference Level
Expected Health Impact (Yes/No) Background Sample Code
Air Uranium 0.0013 µg/m3 0.03 µg/m3 No N/A GP05-A01
Air Beryllium 0.000077 µg/m3 0.01 µg/m3 No N/A GP05-A01
Soil 0-5 cm Uranium 2.6 mg/kg dry weight 23.0 mg/kg dry weight No N/A GP01-S01
Soil 0-5 cm Uranium 3.5 mg/kg dry weight 23.0 mg/kg dry weight No N/A GP02-S02
Soil 0-5 cm Uranium 4.7 mg/kg dry weight 23.0 mg/kg dry weight No N/A GP03-S03
Soil 0-5 cm Uranium 2.8 mg/kg dry weight 23.0 mg/kg dry weight No N/A GP04-S04
Soil 0-5 cm Uranium 3.5 mg/kg dry weight 23.0 mg/kg dry weight No N/A GP05-S05
Soil 0-5 cm Uranium 3.5 mg/kg dry weight 23.0 mg/kg dry weight No N/A GP06-S06
Soil 0-5 cm Uranium 3.1 mg/kg dry weight 23.0 mg/kg dry weight No N/A GP07-S07
Soil 0-5 cm Uranium 3.4 mg/kg dry weight 23.0 mg/kg dry weight No N/A GP08-S08
Soil 0-5 cm Beryllium 0.8 mg/kg dry weight 4.0 mg/kg dry weight No N/A GP01-S01
Soil 0-5 cm Beryllium 1.1 mg/kg dry weight 4.0 mg/kg dry weight No N/A GP02-S02
Soil 0-5 cm Beryllium 1.1 mg/kg dry weight 4.0 mg/kg dry weight No N/A GP03-S03
Soil 0-5 cm Beryllium 0.9 mg/kg dry weight 4.0 mg/kg dry weight No N/A GP04-S04
Soil 0-5 cm Beryllium 1.0 mg/kg dry weight 4.0 mg/kg dry weight No N/A GP05-S05
Soil 0-5 cm Beryllium 1.0 mg/kg dry weight 4.0 mg/kg dry weight No N/A GP06-S06
Soil 0-5 cm Beryllium 0.7 mg/kg dry weight 4.0 mg/kg dry weight No N/A GP07-S07
Soil 0-5 cm Beryllium 1.0 mg/kg dry weight 4.0 mg/kg dry weight No N/A GP08-S08
Vegetation Grass Uranium <0.1 mg/kg dry weight N/A No N/A GP02-V01
Vegetation Grass Uranium <0.1 mg/kg dry weight N/A No N/A GP05-V02
Vegetation Grass Uranium <0.1 mg/kg dry weight N/A No N/A GP06-V03
Vegetation Grass Beryllium <0.1 mg/kg dry weight N/A No N/A GP02-V01
Vegetation Grass Beryllium <0.1 mg/kg dry weight N/A No N/A GP05-V02
Vegetation Grass Beryllium <0.1 mg/kg dry weight N/A No N/A GP06-V03

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

2 N/A – not available

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

Background

Under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, 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 GEH-C Peterborough site perimeter was sampled in 2014.

2014 results

The 2014 IEMP sampling plan for the GEH-C Peterborough site focused on both radiological and hazardous substances, such as uranium and beryllium. Uranium is both a nuclear substance because it decays at a slow rate by emitting gamma radiation and a hazardous substance because exposure to uranium leads to chemical toxicity. Beryllium is a hazardous substance that is used as part of the fuel bundle manufacturing process. A site-specific sampling plan was developed based on CSA Group standards and the CNSC’s regulatory experience with the site. In 2014, samples were collected in publicly accessible areas outside the GEH-C Peterborough site perimeter and included soil, air and wild vegetation outside of the GEH-C Peterborough’s perimeter fence. View detailed sampling data

The concentrations of uranium and beryllium in air and soil samples were below available guidelines. The concentrations of uranium and beryllium in vegetation samples were below the laboratory method detection limit. No health or environmental effects are expected at these levels. 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 2014 IEMP results indicate that the public and the environment in the vicinity of the GEH-C Peterborough facility are safe and that there are no health impacts. These results are consistent with the results submitted by GEH-C, demonstrating that the licensee’s environmental protection program protects the health and safety of people and the environment.