Independent Environmental Monitoring Program: BWXT Nuclear Energy Canada (BWXT), (formerly GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy Canada)

Publication date: January 25, 2017

BWXT Nuclear Energy Canada (BWXT), (formerly GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy Canada), is licensed by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to operate a nuclear fuel fabrication facility, located in Toronto, ON. BWXT manufactures nuclear fuel bundles for Canada’s nuclear power plants from uranium dioxide (UO2) powder. BWXT runs a comprehensive environmental protection program to monitor and control nuclear and hazardous substances released from the BWXT facility, determine concentrations of contaminants in the environment and assess exposure to the public.

The Independent Environmental Monitoring Program (IEMP) results for 2014 and 2016 indicate that the public and the environment around the BWXT facility are safe and that there are no health impacts.

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[ ] Guideline/Reference Level

 

BWXT Nuclear Energy Canada

Sample Type Sample Description Parameter 2014 Result 2016 Result Guideline/
Reference Level
Expected Health Impact (Yes/No) Background Sample Code
Soil 0-3 cm Uranium 1.68 mg/kg dry weightN/A 23 mg/kg dry weight No N/A GT02-SO2
Soil 0-5 cm Uranium 1.5 mg/kg dry weightN/A 23 mg/kg dry weight No N/A GT01-SO1
Soil 0-5 cm Uranium 1.05 mg/kg dry weightN/A 23 mg/kg dry weight No N/A GT03-SO3
Soil 0-5 cm Uranium 0.87 mg/kg dry weightN/A 23 mg/kg dry weight No N/A GT07-SO7
Soil 0-5 cm Uranium 1.13 mg/kg dry weightN/A 23 mg/kg dry weight No N/A GT08-SO8
Soil 0-7 cm Uranium 0.93 mg/kg dry weightN/A 23 mg/kg dry weight No N/A GT09-SO9
Air Uranium 0.0000488 μg/m3< 0.0009 μg/m3 0.03 μg/m3 No N/A GT07-A02
Air Uranium 0.000128 μg/m3N/A 0.03 μg/m3 No N/A GT01-A01
Soil 0-5 cm Uranium 0.72 mg/kg dry weightN/A 23 mg/kg dry weight No N/A GT04-SO4
Soil 0-5 cm Uranium 1.72 mg/kg dry weightN/A 23 mg/kg dry weight No N/A GT06-SO6
Air Uranium N/A< 0.0009 μg/m3 0.03 μg/m3 No N/A GT10-A01
Soil 0-5 cm Uranium N/A7.17 mg/kg dry weight 23 mg/kg dry weight No N/A GT02-S03
Soil 0-5 cm Uranium N/A6.44 mg/kg dry weight 23 mg/kg dry weight No N/A GT03-S04
Soil 0-5 cm Uranium N/A3.89 mg/kg dry weight 23 mg/kg dry weight No N/A GT04-S05
Soil 0-5 cm Uranium N/A2.48 mg/kg dry weight 23 mg/kg dry weight No N/A GT06-S07
Soil 0-5 cm Uranium N/A2.82 mg/kg dry weight 23 mg/kg dry weight No N/A GT07-S08
Soil 0-5 cm Uranium N/A3.24 mg/kg dry weight 23 mg/kg dry weight No N/A GT08-S09
Soil 0-5 cm Uranium N/A2.92 mg/kg dry weight 23 mg/kg dry weight No N/A GT09-S01
Soil 0-5 cm Uranium N/A2.04 mg/kg dry weight 23 mg/kg dry weight No N/A GT10-S02

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

2 N/A – not available.

3 For soil samples, the results for uranium are compared with the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment’s Soil Quality Guidelines for the Protection of Environmental and Human Health.

4 For air samples, the results are compared with Ontario’s Ambient Air Quality Criteria.

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 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 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 BWXT site perimeter has been sampled in 2014 and 2016.

2016 results

The 2016 IEMP sampling plan for the BWXT site focused on uranium, which is a hazardous substance. However, it also decays at a slow rate by emitting gamma radiation. A site-specific sampling plan was developed based on BWXT’s environmental monitoring program, and the CNSC’s regulatory experience with the site. In July 2016, samples were collected in publicly accessible areas outside the BWXT site perimeter fence. View detailed sampling data.

The concentrations of uranium in air and soil samples were below available guidelines. No health or environmental impacts are expected at these levels.

2014 results

The 2014 IEMP sampling plan for the BWXT site focused on uranium, which is a hazardous substance. However, it also decays at a slow rate by emitting gamma radiation. A site-specific sampling plan was developed based on BWXT’s environmental monitoring program and the CNSC’s regulatory experience with the site. In July 2014, samples were collected in publicly accessible areas outside the BWXT site perimeter fence and included samples of air and soil.View detailed sampling data.

The concentrations of uranium in air and soil samples were below available guidelines. No health or environmental impacts 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 IEMP results from both 2014 and 2016 indicate that the public and the environment around the BWXT site are safe and that there are no health impacts. These results are consistent with the results submitted by BWXT, demonstrating that the licensee’s environmental protection program protects the health and safety of people and the environment.