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Environmental Monitoring

Toronto Uranium Monitoring

Air and water emissions are continuously measured for the presence of uranium. The results show the Toronto facility has very low emissions. 

Airborne and liquid wastes discharged from a fuel fabrication facility like BWXT NEC are regulated by concentration limits. We have established our own limits at just a fraction of the regulatory limits, to keep public exposure to any radiation as low as possible. 

BWXT NEC performs both continuous in-stack sampling and boundary air monitoring. Boundary samples are conducted using high volume air samples drawn at five positions around the Toronto facility perimeter. Filters from the high volume air monitors are sent weekly to an independent lab for analysis. Annual soil tests are conducted at 49 locations both onsite and in the surrounding community to ensure we meet or exceed regulatory environmental safety standards. 

Recent boundary air monitoring results are as follows:


Water is used in the production process and to clean protective clothing, 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 release requirements.

The release limit for uranium water emissions, which is set by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, is 9,000 kg/year. BWXT NEC releases just a small fraction of the limit.


Licence discharge limit (Toronto sewer): 9000 kg/year

Note: Uranium in water concentrations and water discharge quantities are both subject to normal variations from year to year depending on production activities and also cleaning and maintenance activities occurring during a given year.

Licence discharge limit (Toronto air): 760 g/year                                              

Radiation doses to a member of the public from both the air and water emissions are negligible. Additional information on environmental performance for both the Toronto and Peterborough facilities can be found in the latest Annual Compliance Report.

*Worker safety report is available on request.


Peterborough Uranium Monitoring 

Air and water emissions are continuously measured for the presence of uranium. The results show that BWXT NEC’s Peterborough facility is a near-zero emissions plant. 

At our Peterborough facility we perform in-stack sampling. Due to the nature of the process and stack sample results to-date, boundary monitoring is not required. The latest stack sampling results are as follows:

The latest water effluent sampling results are as follows:

   

Licence discharge limit (Peterborough sewer): 760 kg/year 

Licence discharge limit (Peterborough air): 550 g/year 

Radiation doses to a member of the public from both the air and water emissions are negligible. 

Peterborough Beryllium Monitoring 

Air and water emissions are continuously monitored for the presence of beryllium. Beryllium is used as part of the fuel bundle manufacturing process.

Stack monitoring is not required by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) as the emissions are deemed to be insignificant in accordance with MECP methodology. Due to CNSC regulation, BWXT NEC monitors the concentration in all three stacks and has an established Action Level of 0.03 μg/m3 and an Internal Control Level of 0.01 μg/m3 at the stack exit, which are both very conservative. Recent stack monitoring results are as follows:

BWXT NEC monitors beryllium emissions to water from equipment use and cleaning activities.  BWXT NEC has established an Internal Control Level of 4 μg/L and the Action Level is 40 μg/L. The Internal Control Level is conservatively consistent with international drinking water guidelines for beryllium, noting that the discharge point is to the sanitary sewer (i.e. not to drinking water). The latest water monitoring results are as follows.

In 2020, BWXT NEC conducted soil sampling for the presence of beryllium at several sites in Peterborough, including the Prince of Wales Public School across from the facility on Monaghan Road. The soil samples were obtained and analyzed by two independent outside laboratories.

All results are well below the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment’s (CCME) guidelines for the protection of environmental health (4 mg/kg) and human health (75 mg/kg). According to the CCME, concentration of beryllium in soil in Canada ranges from 0.25 mg/kg to 16 mg/kg and averages 0.75 mg/kg, whereas samples taken for BWXT did not exceed 0.52 mg/kg. The 2020 full report is available here. BWXT NEC has committed to conducting this sampling yearly.

Additional information on environmental performance for both the Toronto and Peterborough facilities can be found in the latest Annual Compliance Report