Independent Environmental Monitoring Program: BWXT Nuclear Energy Canada Inc. - Toronto

BWXT Nuclear Energy Canada Inc. (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, Ontario. BWXT manufactures nuclear fuel bundles for Canada's nuclear power plants from uranium dioxide (UO2) powder. The BWXT Toronto facility produces UO2 pellets from uranium powder. BWXT has a comprehensive environmental protection program to monitor and control radioactive and hazardous substances released from the site, to determine concentrations in the environment, and to assess exposure to the public.

Independent Environmental Monitoring Program (IEMP) results from 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2019 along with conclusions of available health studies for uranium processing facilities, confirm that the public and the environment in the vicinity of the BWXT Toronto facility are protected and that there are no expected health impacts.

Legend

[ ] Guideline/Reference Level

BWXT Nuclear Energy Canada Inc. - Toronto

Sample Type Sample Description Parameter 2014 2016 2018 2019 Guideline/
Reference Level
Expected Health Impact (Yes/No) Sample Code
Air Ambient Uranium 0.000128 µg/m3 N/A <0.003 µg/m3 <0.00005 µg/m3 0.03 µg/m3 No GT01-A01
Soil 0-5 cm Uranium 1.50 mg/kg dry weight N/A 1.17 mg/kg dry weight 0.98 mg/kg dry weight 23 mg/kg dry weight No GT01-S01
Soil 0-3 cm Uranium 1.68 mg/kg dry weight N/A N/A N/A 23 mg/kg dry weight No GT02-S02
Soil 0-5 cm Uranium N/A 1.3 mg/kg dry weight 1.47 mg/kg dry weight 1.02 mg/kg dry weight 23 mg/kg dry weight No GT02-S02
Soil 0-5 cm Uranium 1.05 mg/kg dry weight 1.6 mg/kg dry weight 1.57 mg/kg dry weight 1.54 mg/kg dry weight 23 mg/kg dry weight No GT03-S03
Soil 0-5 cm Uranium 0.72 mg/kg dry weight 1.5 mg/kg dry weight 1.37 mg/kg dry weight 1.20 mg/kg dry weight 23 mg/kg dry weight No GT04-S04
Soil 0-5 cm Uranium 1.72 mg/kg dry weight 1.7 mg/kg dry weight 1.63 mg/kg dry weight 1.62 mg/kg dry weight 23 mg/kg dry weight No GT06-S06
Air Ambient Uranium 0.0000488 µg/m3 <0.0009 µg/m3 <0.003 µg/m3 N/A 0.03 µg/m3 No GT07-A02
Soil 0-5 cm Uranium 0.87 mg/kg dry weight 1.5 mg/kg dry weight 1.55 mg/kg dry weight 1.24 mg/kg dry weight 23 mg/kg dry weight No GT07-S07
Air Ambient Uranium N/A N/A <0.003 µg/m3 <0.00005 µg/m3 0.03 µg/m3 No GT08-A08
Soil 0-5 cm Uranium 1.13 mg/kg dry weight 1.8 mg/kg dry weight 1.91 mg/kg dry weight 1.49 mg/kg dry weight 23 mg/kg dry weight No GT08-S08
Soil 0-5 cm Uranium N/A 1.3 mg/kg dry weight 1.81 mg/kg dry weight 1.34 mg/kg dry weight 23 mg/kg dry weight No GT09-S09
Soil 0-7 cm Uranium 0.93 mg/kg dry weight N/A N/A N/A 23 mg/kg dry weight No GT09-S09
Air Ambient Uranium N/A <0.0009 µg/m3 <0.003 µg/m3 <0.00005 µg/m3 0.03 µg/m3 No GT10-A03
Soil 0-5 cm Uranium N/A 1.7 mg/kg dry weight 1.78 mg/kg dry weight 1.88 mg/kg dry weight 23 mg/kg dry weight No GT10-S10
Soil 0-5 cm Uranium N/A N/A N/A 1.89 mg/kg dry weight 23 mg/kg dry weight No GT12-S12

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

2 N/A – not available

CNSC staff collecting air and soil samples near BWXT Toronto in 2019

Background

Under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA), licensees of nuclear facilities are required to implement environmental monitoring programs to demonstrate that the public and the environment are protected from emissions related to the facilities’ nuclear activities. The results of these monitoring programs are submitted to the CNSC to ensure compliance within 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 protected. 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 independent laboratory for testing and analysis. The area outside of the BWXT Toronto site perimeter was sampled in 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2019.

2014, 2016, 2018 and 2019 results

IEMP sampling at BWXT Toronto site for 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2019 focused on uranium. Uranium is both a radioactive substance (it decays at a slow rate by emitting gamma radiation) and a hazardous substance (since exposure to uranium leads to chemical toxicity). 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, July 2016, June 2018, and June 2019 samples were collected in areas outside the BWXT Toronto site perimeter fence and included samples of air and soil. The concentrations of uranium in the samples were below available guidelines. No health or environmental impacts are expected at these levels.

Focus on health

The CNSC also conducts studies to assess the health of the public near nuclear facilities. Several studies have been carried out in Port Hope, Ontario, where uranium has been processed to manufacture nuclear fuel for decades. These studies have consistently demonstrated that people who live near uranium processing facilities, such as BWXT, are as healthy as the rest of the Canadian general population. Access the CNSC’s library of health studies and third-party research.

Conclusions

IEMP results from 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2019 indicate that the public and the environment around the BWXT site are protected and there are no expected health impacts. These results are consistent with the results submitted by BWXT and the conclusions of available health studies for uranium processing facilities – demonstrating that the licensee's environmental protection program protects the health and safety of people and the environment.

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.

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