Independent Environmental Monitoring Program: SRB Technologies

Site name SRB Technologies
Licensee SRB Technologies (Canada) Inc. (SRBT)
Facility name SRBT Nuclear Substance Processing Facility
Facility location The site is located in Pembroke, Ontario.
Land acknowledgement The CNSC acknowledges that the SRBT facility is situated on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabeg people.
Facility description 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.

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[ ] Guideline/Reference Level

SRB Technologies

Sample Type Sample Description Parameter 2013 2014 2015 2018 2021 Guideline/
Reference Level
Expected Health Impact (Yes/No) Sample Code
Food Kale Tritium N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 104,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR01-F01
Food Kales Tritium N/A 180 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A N/A 104,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR01-F01
Food Tomatoes Tritium 89.63 Bq/kg fresh weight 43.2 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A N/A 123,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR01-F02
Food Potatoes Tritium N/A 37 Bq/kg fresh weight 4.9 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A 279,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR01-F03
Food Potatoes Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A <1.5 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A 121,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR01-F03
Food Green Peppers Tritium N/A N/A 7.5 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A 104,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR01-F06
Food Green Peppers Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A <1.5 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A 45,200 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR01-F06
Food Strawberries Tritium 35.8 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A N/A N/A 123,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR01-F06
Food Carrots Tritium 19.3 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A N/A N/A 104,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR01-F07
Food Zucchinis Tritium 25.3 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A N/A N/A 104,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR01-F08
Food Cucumbers Tritium 18.7 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A N/A N/A 104,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR01-F09
Soil Surface Tritium N/A N/A <1.5 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A 64,200,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR01-S06
Soil Surface Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A 5.0 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A 27,900,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR01-S06
Vegetation Wild Vegetation/Grass Tritium N/A N/A 6.4 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A 10,900 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR01-V05
Vegetation Wild Vegetation/Grass Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A 9.9 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A 73,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR01-V05
Soil 0 - 5 cm Tritium N/A N/A N/A 42.0 Bq/kg 13.7 Bq/kg 64,200,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR02-S01
Soil Surface Tritium 54.88 Bq/kg fresh weight 12.7 Bq/kg fresh weight 23.6 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A 64,200,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR02-S01
Soil Surface Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A 30.5 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A 27,900,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR02-S01
Vegetation Wild Vegetation/Grass Tritium 560.33 Bq/kg fresh weight 34.3 Bq/kg fresh weight 61.8 Bq/kg fresh weight 72.8 Bq/kg 22.9 Bq/kg 10,900 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR02-V01
Vegetation Wild Vegetation/Grass Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A 245.5 Bq/kg fresh weight 242.0 Bq/kg N/A 73,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR02-V01
Air Ambient Tritium 12 Bq/m3 2.4 Bq/m3 N/A N/A N/A 340 Bq/m3 No SR03-A01
Air Ambient Elemental Tritium 7.7 Bq/m3 3.7 Bq/m3 N/A N/A N/A 5,100,000 Bq/m3 No SR03-A01
Air Ambient Tritium N/A N/A 46.7 Bq/m3 <1.9 Bq/m3 N/A 340 Bq/m3 No SR03-A03
Air Ambient Elemental Tritium N/A N/A 581.7 Bq/m3 <1.9 Bq/m3 N/A 5,100,000 Bq/m3 No SR03-A03
Air Ambient Tritium N/A N/A N/A N/A 19.7 Bq/m3 340 Bq/m3 No SR03-A03-T
Air Ambient Elemental Tritium N/A N/A N/A N/A 36.9 Bq/m3 5,100,000 Bq/m3 No SR03-A03-T
Soil 0 - 5 cm Tritium N/A N/A N/A 61.9 Bq/kg 53.4 Bq/kg 64,200,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR03-S02
Soil Surface Tritium 73.43 Bq/kg fresh weight 13.7 Bq/kg fresh weight 87.1 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A 64,200,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR03-S02
Soil Surface Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A 29.4 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A 27,900,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR03-S02
Vegetation Wild Vegetation/Grass Tritium 177.8 Bq/kg fresh weight 48.5 Bq/kg fresh weight 328.9 Bq/kg fresh weight 119.7 Bq/kg 126.7 Bq/kg 10,900 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR03-V02
Vegetation Wild Vegetation/Grass Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A 370.7 Bq/kg fresh weight 197.4 Bq/kg N/A 73,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR03-V02
Food Red Wine Tritium 10.8 Bq/L 14.6 Bq/L N/A N/A N/A 45,100 Bq/L No SR04-F04
Soil Surface Tritium 31.52 Bq/kg fresh weight 57.2 Bq/kg fresh weight 38.0 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A 64,200,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR05-S03
Soil Surface Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A 42.5 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A 27,900,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR05-S03
Vegetation Wild Vegetation/Grass Tritium 101.22 Bq/kg fresh weight 130 Bq/kg fresh weight 111.1 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A 10,900 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR05-V03
Vegetation Wild Vegetation/Grass Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A 292.4 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A 73,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR05-V03
Food Apples Tritium 93.43 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A N/A N/A 123,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR06-F10
Food Tomatoes Tritium 68.78 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A N/A N/A 123,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR07-F11
Food Apples Tritium 95.14 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A N/A N/A 123,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR08-F12
Food Potatoes Tritium 84.67 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A N/A N/A 279,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR08-F13
Food Apples Tritium 19.33 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A N/A N/A 123,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR09-F14
Food Tomatoes Tritium 26.28 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A N/A N/A 123,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR09-F15
Food Wild Apples Tritium N/A N/A N/A 24.3 Bq/kg N/A 123,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR10-F21
Food Wild Apples Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A N/A 2.8 Bq/kg N/A 50,300 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR10-F21
Water Surface Water Tritium 6.3 Bq/L <5 Bq/L 3.1 Bq/L 3.1 Bq/L <3 Bq/L 7,000 Bq/L No SR10-W03
Water Surface Water Tritium N/A N/A N/A N/A <3 Bq/L 7,000 Bq/L No SR10-W03-dup
Water Surface Water Tritium 8.7 Bq/L <5 Bq/L <3 Bq/L N/A N/A 7,000 Bq/L No SR11-W04
Food Milk Tritium <1.5 Bq/kg fresh weight <1.5 Bq/kg fresh weight 1.7 Bq/kg fresh weight <2.5 Bq/kg N/A 5,560 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR12-F05
Food Milk Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A <1.5 Bq/kg fresh weight <2.5 Bq/kg N/A 2,260 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR12-F05
Food Milk (homo) Tritium N/A N/A N/A N/A <2.5 Bq/kg 5,560 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR12-F05
Food Milk (homo) Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A N/A N/A 7.5 Bq/kg 2,260 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR12-F05
Air Ambient Tritium N/A N/A 1.1 Bq/m3 <1.9 Bq/m3 N/A 340 Bq/m3 No SR13-A05
Air Ambient Elemental Tritium N/A N/A 83.5 Bq/m3 <1.9 Bq/m3 N/A 5,100,000 Bq/m3 No SR13-A05
Soil 0 - 5 cm Tritium N/A N/A N/A 4.6 Bq/kg N/A 64,200,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR13-S05
Soil Surface Tritium N/A N/A 20.4 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A 64,200,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR13-S05
Soil Surface Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A <1.5 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A 27,900,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR13-S05
Vegetation Wild Vegetation/Grass Tritium N/A N/A 31.1 Bq/kg fresh weight 13.8 Bq/kg N/A 10,900 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR13-V04
Vegetation Wild Vegetation/Grass Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A 76.6 Bq/kg fresh weight 28.1 Bq/kg N/A 73,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR13-V04
Food Wild Apples Tritium N/A N/A N/A 88.2 Bq/kg N/A 123,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR14-F07
Food Wild Apples Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A N/A 11.2 Bq/kg N/A 50,300 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR14-F07
Food Wild Raspberries Tritium N/A N/A 34.1 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A 123,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR14-F07
Food Wild Raspberries Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A 11.8 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A 50,300 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR14-F07
Food Wild Apples Tritium N/A N/A 99.4 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A 123,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR14-F08
Food Wild Apples Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A 17.5 Bq/kg fresh weight N/A N/A 50,300 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR14-F08
Water Surface Water Tritium N/A N/A <3 Bq/L <3.0 Bq/L N/A 7,000 Bq/L No SR15-W05
Water Surface Water Tritium N/A N/A N/A N/A <3 Bq/L 7,000 Bq/L No SR15-W05
Water Surface Water Tritium N/A N/A N/A <3.0 Bq/L N/A 7,000 Bq/L No SR16-W16
Water Surface Water Tritium N/A N/A N/A N/A 3.2 Bq/L 7,000 Bq/L No SR16-W16
Air Ambient Tritium N/A N/A 96.4 Bq/m3 <1.9 Bq/m3 N/A 340 Bq/m3 No SR17-A06
Air Ambient Elemental Tritium N/A N/A 2.0 Bq/m3 <1.9 Bq/m3 N/A 5,100,000 Bq/m3 No SR17-A06
Air Ambient Tritium N/A N/A N/A N/A <2.5 Bq/m3 340 Bq/m3 No SR17-A06-T
Air Ambient Elemental Tritium N/A N/A N/A N/A <2.5 Bq/m3 5,100,000 Bq/m3 No SR17-A06-T
Food Pumpkin Tritium N/A N/A N/A 6.7 Bq/kg N/A 123,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR18-F18
Food Pumpkin Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A N/A <2.5 Bq/kg N/A 50,300 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR18-F18
Food Onion Tritium N/A N/A N/A 3.7 Bq/kg N/A 104,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR18-F19
Food Onion Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A N/A <2.5 Bq/kg N/A 45,200 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR18-F19
Food Cucumber Tritium N/A N/A N/A <2.5 Bq/kg N/A 104,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR18-F20
Food Cucumber Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A N/A <2.5 Bq/kg N/A 45,200 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR18-F20
Soil 0 - 5 cm Tritium N/A N/A N/A <3.0 Bq/kg N/A 64,200,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR18-S18
Vegetation Wild Vegetation/Grass Tritium N/A N/A N/A <3.0 Bq/kg N/A 10,900 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR18-V18
Vegetation Wild Vegetation/Grass Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A N/A <2.5 Bq/kg N/A 73,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR18-V18
Soil 0 - 5 cm Tritium N/A N/A N/A <3.0 Bq/kg <2.5 Bq/kg 64,200,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR19-S19
Vegetation Wild Vegetation/Grass Tritium N/A N/A N/A 5.2 Bq/kg <2.5 Bq/kg 10,900 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR19-V19
Vegetation Wild Vegetation/Grass Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A N/A 12.3 Bq/kg N/A 73,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR19-V19
Air Ambient Tritium N/A N/A N/A N/A <2 Bq/m3 340 Bq/m3 No SR20-A20-T
Air Ambient Elemental Tritium N/A N/A N/A N/A <2 Bq/m3 5,100,000 Bq/m3 No SR20-A20-T
Soil 0 - 5 cm Tritium N/A N/A N/A N/A 2.7 Bq/kg 64,200,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR20-S20
Vegetation Wild Vegetation/Grass Tritium N/A N/A N/A N/A 3.9 Bq/kg 10,900 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR20-V20
Food Blueberries Tritium N/A N/A N/A N/A 2.8 Bq/kg 123,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR21-F21
Food Blueberries Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A N/A N/A <2 Bq/kg 50,300 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR21-F21
Soil 0 - 5 cm Tritium N/A N/A N/A N/A <2.5 Bq/kg 64,200,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR21-S21
Vegetation Wild Vegetation/Grass Tritium N/A N/A N/A N/A <2.5 Bq/kg 10,900 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR21-V21
Food Beets Tritium N/A N/A N/A N/A <2.5 Bq/kg 104,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR22-F22
Food Beets Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A N/A N/A <2 Bq/kg 45,200 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR22-F22
Food Lettuce (romaine) Tritium N/A N/A N/A N/A <2.5 Bq/kg 104,000 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR22-F23
Food Lettuce (romaine) Organically Bound Tritium N/A N/A N/A N/A <2 Bq/kg 45,200 Bq/kg fresh weight No SR22-F23

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.

2021 results

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.

View detailed sampling data.

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:

https://www.rcdhu.com/reports/
https://www.cancercareontario.ca/en/statistical-reports
https://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/data-and-analysis/commonly-used-products/snapshots

CNSC staff collecting soil samples near SRB in 2018.

Conclusions

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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