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People Strong - Innovation Driven

FAQs

General FAQ

How many people work for BWXT Nuclear Energy Canada (BWXT NEC)?

BWXT NEC employs approximately 400 people at our three locations in Arnprior, Toronto and Peterborough. 

Approximately 300 people work for BWXT NEC in Peterborough in high-tech, manufacturing and administrative positions. Approximately 120 of these employees are engineers in disciplines such as software, metallurgy, mechanical, electrical and systems. 

Both Arnprior and Toronto, each have about 40 employees in manufacturing, engineering, environment health and safety and other functions. 

Where can I find information about jobs at BWXT NEC?

Available positions are posted online at www.bwxt.com/careers

Toronto

What do you make at the Toronto facility?

We make ceramic pellets that are produced from natural uranium powder. Our Toronto facility receives natural uranium oxide powder from Cameco Corporation, in Port Hope. After pressing, baking, grinding to precision size and inspecting the pellets, we send them to our facility in Peterborough, where they are placed into fuel bundles for CANDU® power stations. The pellets made in our Toronto facility ultimately provide approximately 30 per cent of Ontario’s electricity. 

Is the Toronto facility safe?

Yes. The safety of our employees and neighbours is our top priority. Both the Toronto and Peterborough facilities are licensed by Canada’s nuclear regulator, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. BWXT NEC is committed to meeting all its licence requirements. 

Our Toronto facility has very low emissions, well below regulatory limits. More information on our environmental and safety performance can be found in our Annual Compliance Report which is available on our website: nec.bwxt.com/safety

Do you use enriched uranium?

No, we do not use enriched uranium. 

Do you monitor uranium emissions to air from your facility?

Yes, BWXT NEC performs both continuous in-stack sampling and boundary air monitoring. Boundary samples are high volume air samples drawn at five positions around the Toronto facility perimeter. Results of air monitoring can be found in our Annual Compliance Report.  

Do you monitor uranium emissions to water from your facility?

Yes. Water is used in the production process and to clean protective clothing, walls, floors and other janitorial functions. The water is first held in storage tanks in the facility, treated to remove uranium dioxide, tested and only released in batches once the test results confirm it meets regulatory requirements to be released. Results of water monitoring can be found in our Annual Compliance Report. 

How much radiation does a member of the public receive from your Toronto facility?

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) regulates the nuclear energy industry to limit the radiation that our employees and neighbours receive. Using studies performed by the International Commission on Radiological Protection on acceptable levels of radiation exposure, the CNSC has set limits for workers of 50 mSv per year, or 100 mSv per five-year span and 1 mSv per year for members of the public. 

BWXT NEC has a comprehensive radiation protection program and is guided by the principles of ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable).  

Environmental TLDs (thermoluminescent dosimeter) at the plant boundary of the Toronto facility are used, along with the estimated effective dose as a result of air releases, to estimate a public radiation dose. 

The estimated annual dose to a member of the public as a result of the BWXT operation is less than 0.0004 mSv which is lower than the regulatory limit. 

Peterborough

What do you make in Peterborough?

At BWXT NEC Peterborough, we assemble CANDU® fuel bundles for use in CANDU® reactors. The natural uranium pellets are produced at our Toronto facility and the zirconium tubes are manufactured at our Arnprior facility. These components are shipped to our Peterborough operation where they are assembled into fuel bundles that meet the stringent requirements of reactor operating conditions. 

BWXT Canada’s fuel handling and reactor inspection and maintenance tooling and delivery systems, are also designed and manufactured in Peterborough. These highly-engineered systems and tools support refurbishment requirements for reactor defueling, fuel channel inspection and maintenance, and other reactor operating needs. 

Do you use enriched uranium?

No, we do not use enriched uranium. 

Do the natural uranium pellets used at the Peterborough facility pose a radiation risk to the public?

No. The health and safety of employees, members of the public and the environment is our number one priority. 

We receive uranium in a solid pellet form in Peterborough so the potential for emissions is very low. We routinely monitor for uranium emissions and the results show the Peterborough operation is a near-zero emissions facility. In 2018, the estimated annual public dose from our Peterborough facility was zero milliseverets. 

The Peterborough facility (along with our Toronto operation) is licensed by Canada’s nuclear regulator, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. BWXT NEC is committed to meeting all its licence requirements. 

More information on our environmental and safety performance can be found in our Annual Compliance Report which is available on our website: nec.bwxt.com/safety. 

Do you monitor uranium emissions to air from your facility?

Yes, air emissions are routinely monitored for the presence of uranium. At our Peterborough facility we perform in-stack sampling. Results of air monitoring can be found in our Annual Compliance Report. (link to ACR section) 

Do you monitor uranium emissions to water from your facility?

Yes. At BWXT NEC Peterborough, all potentially uranium-contaminated waste water is held in storage tanks, filtered and then samples are sent to an external lab for independent analysis. This waste water is only released once the test results confirm it meets regulatory requirements for release. 

Water is used to clean wall, floors and other janitorial functions in the uranium pellet loading and end closure weld areas of our facility in Peterborough. 

Results of water monitoring can be found in our Annual Compliance Report

Radiation

What is uranium?

Uranium is an element found all around us in nature: in all rocks and soils; in rivers and oceans; in the food we eat; and in our bodies. Because uranium is a naturally-occurring, low-level radioactive material that exists virtually everywhere, it contributes to what is called “natural background radiation.”

What is radiation?

Radiation is defined as energy that is transmitted in the form of waves or particles. Radiation is sometimes associated with the use of nuclear energy. However, radiation is all around us and people are exposed to both natural and man-made sources. Heat and light from the sun are examples of naturally-occurring radiation. Medical sources such as diagnostic x-rays and nuclear medicine, and consumer products such as luminous watches and smoke detectors are other forms of radiation in our lives. 

Do you use enriched uranium?

No. We do not use enriched uranium at either of our licensed facilities.