Independent Environmental Monitoring Program: SRB Technologies
|SRB Technologies (Canada) Inc. (SRBT)
|SRBT Nuclear Substance Processing Facility
|The site is located in Pembroke, Ontario.
|The CNSC acknowledges that the SRBT facility is situated on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabeg people.
|SRBT began operations in 1990. SRBT uses tritium, a nuclear substance, to develop self-luminous emergency exit signs, military applications such as land mine markers, watch dials and other safety products not requiring batteries or other external sources of power.
|Environmental protection requirements
|In accordance with regulatory requirements under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, all licensees must maintain a comprehensive environmental protection program to monitor and control nuclear and hazardous substances released from the facilities they own and operate. As part of every licensee’s environmental protection program, concentrations of contaminants in the environment must be determined and the potential exposure routes to the public must be assessed.
Our Independent Environmental Monitoring Program (IEMP) results from 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018, and 2021 are consistent with the results submitted by SRBT, supporting our assessment that the licensee’s environmental protection program is effective. The results add to the body of evidence that people and the environment in the vicinity of the SRBT facility are protected and that there are no anticipated health impacts.
- Interactive map and IEMP results
- Data table (Download CSV – (29.3 kb)
- (2021) (2018, 2015, 2014 and 2013)
- Video: Introduction to the IEMP
- Frequently asked questions
1 The < symbol indicates that a result is below the provided laboratory analytical detection limit.
2 N/A – not available.
3 For radiological parameters (expressed as Bq/L, Bq/kg or Bq/m3) where no federal or provincial guidelines exist, our screening levels were established based on conservative assumptions using CSA standard N288.1-14, Guidelines for Calculating Derived Release Limits for Radioactive Material in Airborne and Liquid Effluents for Normal Operation of Nuclear Facilities. The screening 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 (millisieverts per year), a dose at which no impacts on human health are expected. For more information, please refer to the IEMP technical information sheet.
4 Tritiated water (HTO) is a radioactive form of water where the usual hydrogen atoms in water (H2O) are replaced with tritium. Elemental tritium (HT) refers to the radioactive form of hydrogen gas. Organically bound tritium (OBT) is tritium that is bound to an organic molecule, such as a carbohydrate, fat, or protein.
The 2021 IEMP sampling plan for the SRBT facility focused on radioactive contaminants. The SRBT facility does not release hazardous (non-radiological) substances in any significant quantities. A site-specific sampling plan was developed based on the licensee’s approved environmental monitoring program and our regulatory experience with the site. We endeavor to incorporate traditional Indigenous land use, values and knowledge by engaging with Indigenous Nations and communities on the sampling plan. More information on this engagement is provided in the Indigenous Nations and Communities’ Participation section.
In July 2021, we collected air, water, soil, vegetation, and local food samples in publicly accessible areas outside the facility perimeter. The levels of radioactivity measured in those samples were well below available guidelines and our own screening levels. Our screening levels are based on conservative assumptions about the exposure that would result in a dose of 0.1 mSv/ year (one-tenth of the regulatory public dose limit of 1 mSv/year). Measurements conducted by the IEMP to date have consistently found levels of radioactivity in the environment to be low, and well within the range of natural background radiation levels. As a result, no effects on human health are expected.
2018, 2015, 2014, and 2013 results
The 2018, 2015, 2014 and 2013 IEMP sampling plan for the SRBT facility site focused on radioactive contaminants. A site-specific sampling plan was developed based on SRBT's approved environmental monitoring program, CSA Group standards and our regulatory experience with the site. Samples were collected in publicly accessible areas outside the SRBT facility site perimeter and included water, soil and vegetation, air, and food such as milk, fruits and vegetables from local farms. View detailed sampling data.
The radioactivity measured in water, soil, vegetation, air and food samples was below available guidelines and our screening levels, and within natural background levels. Our 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.
In 2015, the results for air sample SR03-A03 were higher than those captured in the results from 2013 and 2014. The variation in results is not surprising, given that SRBT's emissions to the environment are not continuous. The 2013 and 2014 sampling campaigns were performed during a time when the facility was not emitting tritium or when weather conditions were varying. The licensee uses passive air samplers to collect samples over a 1-month period, while the IEMP uses active air samplers to collect samples over a period of approximately 8 hours. Results from the 2 sampling methods cannot be directly compared. Passive air sampler results will reflect the average concentration of tritium, which is low because there are extended periods when the facility is not emitting tritium based on its operating conditions. The SR03-A03 results are within SRBT's normal operating range, and no health impacts are expected at this dose level. View SRBT’s emissions data here.
In 2014, tritium concentrations in 2 vegetation samples were lower by one order of magnitude compared to 2013. Since the IEMP results represent a snapshot in time, the differences between sample results can be attributed to differences in the sampling locations, seasonal variations, facility operations, meteorological conditions and/or natural variations in background radiation. Results over the sampling years consistently remain well below the available guidelines and our screening levels.
Indigenous Nations and Communities’ Participation
We have made it a priority to ensure that IEMP sampling reflects Indigenous traditional knowledge, land use and values where possible. In addition to routine IEMP sampling activities, we seek input from local Indigenous Nations and communities on our IEMP sampling plans.
In advance of the 2021 IEMP sampling campaign at SRBT, notification emails were sent to Indigenous Nations and communities near the facility to notify them of the sampling campaign and to seek input on the sampling plan. We invited suggestions for species of interest, valued components, and potential sampling locations where traditional practices and activities may take place. We will continue to engage with Indigenous Nations and communities to ensure that IEMP sampling incorporates Indigenous knowledge in future sampling.
Focus on health
We review the results of existing health reports and conduct health studies to provide further independent verification that the health of people around the SRBT facility is protected.
Several studies involving SRBT were carried out as part of our tritium studies project. The radiation dose from tritium among people living near the SRBT facility is not only well below the public dose limit of 1 mSv, but also negligible compared to natural background radiation (an average of about 1.8 mSv/year). There is little evidence to suggest that increased cancer incidence or mortality occurs in populations exposed to tritium at current environmental or occupational levels.
Based on exposure and health data, we have not observed and do not expect any adverse health outcomes relating to the operations of SRBT. Access our library of health studies and third-party research.
More general health information and data for the community near the SRBT nuclear substance processing facility can be found on the following websites:
Our IEMP results from 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2021 are consistent with the results submitted by SRBT, supporting our assessment that the licensee’s environmental protection program is effective. The results add to the body of evidence that people and the environment in the vicinity of the SRBT facility are protected and that there are no anticipated health impacts.
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