Independent Environmental Monitoring Program: Bruce A and B Nuclear Generating Stations
Bruce Power is licensed by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to operate the Bruce A and B nuclear generating site (BNGS), located along the eastern shore of Lake Huron in Kincardine, Ontario. The Bruce Power site includes the Bruce A and Bruce B nuclear power plants, which house eight CANDU reactors. The eight units have a production capacity of 6,232 megawatts of electricity. Bruce Power also operates the Central Maintenance and Laundry Facility (CMLF) and the Central Storage Facility (CSF) at the Bruce Power site.
Other licensed facilities at the Bruce site include the Western Waste Management Facility (WWMF) and the Douglas Point Waste Management Facility. Ontario Power Generation (OPG) owns and operates the WWMF for the management of low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste and used fuel dry storage. Canadian Nuclear Laboratories Limited (CNL) operates the Douglas Point Waste Management Facility which consists of a permanently shut down, partially decommissioned CANDU reactor. The facility is currently in the long-term storage with surveillance phase of the decommissioning program.
Releases result from the operation of the Bruce Power site, the OPG WWMF and the CNL Douglas Point Waste Management Facility. The predominant releases from the Bruce Power site are from the BNGS. Bruce Power runs a comprehensive environmental protection program to monitor and control nuclear and hazardous substances released from the BNGS, and to determine the concentrations of contaminants in the environment and assess exposure to the public.
The Independent Environmental Monitoring Program (IEMP) results for 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2019 confirm that the public and the environment around the BNGS are protected and that there are no expected health impacts.
- Interactive map
- Data table Bruce A and B Nuclear Generating Stations CSV (108 kb)
- Overview of the sampling campaign
- Results: (2019) (2016) (2015) (2013)
Bruce A and B Nuclear Generating Stations
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 are 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, foodstuff) represents the activity concentration that would result in a dose of 0.1 mSv/year, a dose at which no health impacts are expected.
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), ensuring compliance with the applicable guidelines and limits set out in the 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 publicly accessible areas around the facilities, and measuring and analyzing the amount of radioactive 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 BNGS perimeter was sampled in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2019.
The 2019 IEMP sampling plan for the BNGS focused on nuclear and hazardous contaminants. A site-specific sampling plan was developed based on Bruce Power’s approved environmental monitoring program and the CNSC’s regulatory experience with the site. The Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO), Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) and Historic Saugeen Métis (HSM) also collaborated with the CNSC by providing valuable information about locations and species of interest for sampling, and by participating in the collection of samples. It is a priority for the CNSC to ensure that IEMP sampling reflects traditional Indigenous land use, values and knowledge, where possible, so that our IEMP results are meaningful to the communities. CNSC staff have shared the 2019 report with these communities and will discuss the results with them in the near future.
In 2019, samples were collected in publicly accessible areas outside the BNGS site perimeter and included samples of air, water, soil, sediment, vegetation and food, such as meat and produce from local farms. View detailed sampling data.
The radioactivity measured in air, water, sediment, soil and vegetation samples, as well as in samples of meat, fish, milk and produce was below guidelines and CNSC screening levels. These results are similar to the findings in 2013, 2015 and 2016. CNSC screening levels are based on conservative assumptions about the exposure that would result in a dose of 0.1 mSv/year. No health impacts are expected at this dose level.
The levels of hazardous (non-radiological) contaminants measured in water and sediment were below applicable guidelines. All samples were within the range of licensees’ data based on their recent environmental risk assessments, and below the toxicity data available, indicating that potential effects to the environment are low.
2013, 2015 and 2016 results
The 2013, 2015 and 2016 IEMP sampling plans for the BNGS focused on nuclear contaminants. Site-specific sampling plans were developed based on Bruce Power’s approved environmental monitoring program and the CNSC’s regulatory experience with the site. In all three years, samples were collected in publicly accessible areas outside the BNGS perimeter and included air samples, lake water, soil and sediment, vegetation and food, such as meat and produce from local farms. View detailed sampling data.
The radioactivity measured in air, water, sediment, soil and vegetation samples, as well as in samples of meat and produce was below available guidelines and CNSC reference levels. These results are consistently similar across all three years. CNSC reference levels are based on conservative assumptions about the exposure that would result in a dose of 0.1 mSv/year. No health impacts are expected at this dose level.
IEMP results from 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2019 indicate that the public and the environment around the BNGS are protected, and there are no expected health impacts. These results are consistent with the results submitted by Bruce Power, 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.
Focus on health
The CNSC reviews the results of the local public health unit reports and data to provide further independent verification that the health of people in and around the Bruce Power site is not impacted by the site. The Grey Bruce Health Unit monitors the health of populations around the Bruce Power site, and disease rates are compared to other similar populations’ to detect any potential health outcomes that may be of concern. In the Grey Bruce area there are higher rates of lung cancer and colorectal cancer, for which smoking is a risk factor. The number of former smokers in the Grey Bruce area is higher than the Ontario average.
CNSC conducted a large ecological study to look at radiation exposure and the incidence of cancer around Ontario nuclear generating sites, including the Bruce Power site. This study concluded that doses to the public were well below levels of natural background radiation and that people who live near nuclear generating sites are as healthy as the rest of Canada’s general population. Click here to access the CNSC’s library of health studies and third party research.
Visit the Grey Bruce Public Health website to view health reports.
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