Independent Environmental Monitoring Program (IEMP)

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Some enhancements were made to the CNSC's Independent Environmental Monitoring Program (IEMP) Web page to provide you more access to information. Some of these updates are the result of recommendations made through our public Commission process.

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To complement existing and ongoing compliance activities, the CNSC implemented its Independent Environmental Monitoring Program (IEMP) to verify that the public and environment around CNSC-regulated nuclear facilities are not adversely affected by releases to the environment. This verification is achieved through independent sampling and analysis by the CNSC.

Introduction

Under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA), the licensee of each nuclear facility, is required to develop, implement and maintain 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 Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to ensure compliance with applicable guidelines and limits, as set out in regulations that oversee Canada's nuclear industry. As part of the CNSC's regulatory oversight, CNSC staff also conduct extensive compliance verification activities. These include reviews of the licensees' environmental protection programs to ensure they are adequate, as well as regular inspections to ensure the programs are being implemented accordingly.

The CNSC has implemented its Independent Environmental Monitoring Program (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.

The IEMP is being implemented for facilities in all segments of the nuclear fuel cycle: uranium mines and mills, uranium and nuclear processing facilities, nuclear power plants, research and medical isotope production facilities, and waste management facilities. The CNSC's program aligns with those of other national and international regulatory bodies and complements the CNSC's ongoing environmental protection activities.

IEMP in Action

The IEMP process consists of developing site-specific sampling plans for each nuclear facility, and then processing and analyzing the samples collected. The sampling plans focus on measuring concentrations of contaminants in the environment at publicly accessible locations such as parks, residential communities and beaches, and in areas of interest identified in environmental risk assessments (ERAs). Samples may be taken for air, water, soil, sediment, vegetation such as grass and weeds, and some food, such as meat and produce.

Samples are analyzed at the CNSC's state-of-the art laboratory by highly qualified scientists using best industry practices. Samples are measured for both radiological and non-radiological contaminants related to the activities of the nuclear facility and as identified in the site-specific ERA. Contaminant levels are compared to those in applicable guidelines and/or natural background levels to confirm there is no impact on health or the environment. Conclusions and data are then published here on the CNSC website, illustrated in a user-friendly map.

CNSC regulatory oversight reports

The CNSC publishes annual regulatory oversight reports on the nuclear industry, which include results from the IEMP and other compliance verification activities. These reports focus on the licensees' annual performance in 14 safety and control areas, including environmental protection, radiation protection, conventional health and safety, waste management, and emergency management.

The reports are discussed at public Commission meetings. The CNSC encourages the public and Indigenous groups to comment on these reports and offers funding opportunities through its Participant Funding Program.

Regulatory Oversight Reports

Other monitoring programs and reporting

To assist readers, the CNSC has compiled a list of other departments, levels of government, agencies, and licensees of nuclear facilities that conduct monitoring and reporting in the areas of radiation and environmental protection.

Results

To date, sampling has been conducted at a number of nuclear facilities. Click on a facility of interest on the map below to view IEMP results.

Chalk River Laboratories

SRB Technologies Nuclear Processing Facility

Bruce A and B Nuclear Generating Stations

BWXT Nuclear Energy Canada (BWXT), (formerly GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy Canada - Toronto)

Darlington Nuclear Generating Station

Key Lake Mill

McArthur River mine
Blind River Refinery
Gentilly-2 Nuclear Facility
Port Hope Conversion Facility and Cameco Fuel Manufacturing
Welcome & Port Granby Waste Management Facilities
Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station (PLNGS)
Pickering Nuclear Generating Station
Shield Source Incorporated
BWXT Nuclear Energy Canada (BWXT), (formerly GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy Canada - Peterborough)
Elliot Lake historical sites
Nordion (Canada) Inc.
McClean Lake Operation
Deloro closed mine site
TRIUMF Accelerators Inc.