Independent Environmental Monitoring Program: Shield Source Incorporated Nuclear Processing Facility

Publication date: October 14, 2016

Shield Source Incorporated. (SSI) was licensed by the CNSC to operate the Shield Source Inc. Nuclear Processing Facility (SSI facility), located in Peterborough, ON. From 1986 to March 2014, SSI was licensed to process tritium gas to produce gaseous tritium light sources and to manufacture radiation devices containing these sources. In March 2013, SSI announced it would close its Peterborough facility. Following the announcement, SSI contracted a qualified third party to clean up and decontaminate the facility for public use. At the same time, CNSC staff conducted extensive sampling and verification activities to ensure that the clean-up and decontamination met all regulatory requirements and that the facility could be released from regulatory control.

Following the clean-up, the CNSC staff published a document titled Report on the Clean-up and Abandonment of Shield Source Inc. On March 28, 2014, the Commission issued a licence to abandon the SSI nuclear substance processing facility.

The Independent Environmental Monitoring Program (IEMP) results for 2013, 2014 and 2015 confirm that the public and the environment around the SSI facility are safe and that there are no health impacts.

Legend

[ ] Guideline/Reference Level

 

Shield Source Incorporated Nuclear Processing Facility

Sample Type Sample Description Parameter 2013 Result 2014 Result 2015 Result Guideline/
Reference Level
Expected Health Impact (Yes/No) Background Sample Code
Food StuffsApplesOrganically Bound Tritium< 3.5 Bq/kg fresh weightN/A N/A50,300 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SS01-F01
Food StuffsApplesTritium< 3.5 Bq/kg fresh weight3 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A123,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SS01-F01
SoilSoilTritium< 3.5 Bq/kg fresh weight< 1.5 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A68,500,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SS01-S01
VegetationGrassOrganically Bound Tritium< 3.5 Bq/kg fresh weightN/A N/A73,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SS01-V01
VegetationGrassTritium20.2 Bq/kg fresh weight< 1.5 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A10,900 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SS01-V01
AirAirElemental TritiumN/A< 1Bq/m3 N/A5,100,000 Bq/m3NoN/A SS02-A01-B1
AirAirTritiumN/A< 1Bq/m3 N/A340 Bq/m3NoN/A SS02-A01-B1
SoilSoilTritium< 3.5 Bq/kg fresh weight174 Bq/kg fresh weight 3.4 Bq/kg fresh weight68,500,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SS03-S02
VegetationGrassOrganically Bound Tritium6.9 Bq/kg fresh weightN/A 3.9 Bq/kg fresh weight73,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SS03-V02
VegetationGrassTritium68.1 Bq/kg fresh weight< 1.5 Bq/kg fresh weight 5.0 Bq/kg fresh weight10,900 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SS03-V02
Food StuffsApplesOrganically Bound Tritium6.4 Bq/kg fresh weightN/A N/A50,300 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SS04-F02
Food StuffsApplesTritium120 Bq/kg fresh weight75 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A123,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SS04-F02
WaterWaterTritium460 Bq/L364 Bq/L N/A7,000 Bq/LNo0.12 - 45 Bq/L SS04-W01
VegetationGrassOrganically Bound Tritium3.6 Bq/kg fresh weightN/A 4.3 Bq/kg fresh weight73,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SS05-V03
VegetationGrassTritium18 Bq/kg fresh weight4.1 Bq/kg fresh weight 4.7 Bq/kg fresh weight10,900 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SS05-V03
VegetationTree leavesOrganically Bound Tritium< 3.5 Bq/kg fresh weightN/A < 1.5 Bq/kg fresh weight73,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SS05-V04
VegetationTree leavesTritium30.4 Bq/kg fresh weight6.8 Bq/kg fresh weight 4.2 Bq/kg fresh weight10,900 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SS05-V04
SoilSoilTritium< 3.5 Bq/kg fresh weightN/A N/A68,500,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SS06-S03
WaterRiver WaterTritium< 5 Bq/L< 5Bq/L < 3 Bq/L7,000 Bq/LNo0.12 - 45 Bq/L SS06-W02
WaterWaterTritiumN/A<5Bq/L N/A7,000 Bq/LNo0.12 - 45 Bq/L SS10-W06
AirAirElemental Tritium30 Bq/m3< 1 Bq/m3 N/A5,100,000 Bq/m3NoN/A SS11-A01
AirAirTritium4 Bq/m3< 1 Bq/m3 N/A340 Bq/m3NoN/A SS11-A01
SoilSoilOrganically Bound TritiumN/AN/A 29.9 Bq/kg fresh weight27,900,000 Bq/kg fresh weightNoN/A SS03-S02

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.

4 Tritiated 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.

5 The slightly elevated results at this sampling location were expected due to its proximity to SSI. The results remain well below the guidelines. No water sample was taken at this location in 2015 due to property being redeveloped.

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 Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (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 SSI site perimeter was sampled in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

2015 results

The 2015 IEMP sampling plan for the SSI site focused on tritium. A site-specific sampling plan was developed based on SSI’s historic approved environmental monitoring program, CSA Group (CSA) standards and the CNSC’s regulatory experience with the site. In October 2015, samples were collected in publicly accessible areas outside the SSI site perimeter and included water, soil, and vegetation from locations outside of the SSI perimeter fence.View detailed sampling data

The measured radioactivity in water samples is below federal and provincial drinking water quality guidelines. Based on the measured radioactivity in the samples collected, no health impacts are expected as a result of exposure to the water sampled.

The radioactivity measured in soil and vegetation samples was below available federal/provincial guidelines and CNSC reference levels. CNSC reference levels are based on conservative assumptions about the exposure that would result in a dose of 0.1 mSv/year. Based on the radionuclide activity concentrations measured in the samples collected, no health impacts are expected.

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 SSI site focused on tritium. A site-specific sampling plan was developed based on SSI’s historic approved environmental monitoring program, CSA Group (CSA) standards and the CNSC’s regulatory experience with the site. In September 2014, samples were collected in publicly accessible areas outside the SSI site perimeter and included water, soil and vegetation, air and foodstuffs such as apples from locations outside of the SSI perimeter fence.View detailed sampling data

The measured radioactivity in water samples is below federal and provincial drinking water quality guidelines. Based on the measured radioactivity in the samples collected, no health impacts are expected as a result of exposure to the water sampled.

The radioactivity measured in soil, air and vegetation samples, as well as samples of apples, was below available federal/provincial guidelines and CNSC reference levels. CNSC reference levels are based on conservative assumptions about the exposure that would result in a dose of 0.1 mSv/year. Based on the radionuclide activity concentration measured in the samples collected, no health impacts are expected.

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 SSI site focused on tritium. A site-specific sampling plan was developed based on SSI’s historic approved environmental monitoring program, CSA Group (CSA) standards and the CNSC’s regulatory experience with the site. In June 2013, samples were collected in publicly accessible areas outside the SSI site perimeter and included water, soil, vegetation, air and foodstuffs such as apples from locations outside of the SSI perimeter fence.View detailed sampling data

The measured radioactivity in water samples is below federal and provincial drinking water quality guidelines. Based on the measured radioactivity in the samples collected, no health impacts are expected as a result of exposure to the water sampled.

The radioactivity measured in soil, air and vegetation samples, as well as samples of apples, were below available federal/provincial guidelines and CNSC reference levels. CNSC reference levels are based on conservative assumptions about the exposure that would result in a dose of 0.1 mSv/year. Based on the radionuclide activity concentrations measured in the samples collected, no health impacts are expected.

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

IEMP results for 2013, 2014 and 2015 indicate that the public and the environment in the vicinity of the former SSI facility are safe and that there are no health impacts. Additionally, the three years of IEMP results provide confidence that tritium concentrations in the environment are decreasing over time. Please refer to the CNSC’s Report on the Clean-up and Abandonment of Shield Source Inc. for more information.