NEW Info Just added (December 21/16.) - see top 2 items.
- Tritium Fact Sheet
- Dr. Ian Fairlie on Pickering (& Darlington)'s Tritium Emissions In this 4 minute video Dr. Ian Fairlie addresses the high tritium releases at Ontario's nuclear stations. Tritium is a carcinogen (causes cancer), a mutagen (causes mutations to DNA), and a teratogen (causes deformations of the embryo during pregnancy). Even low rates of tritium exposure can lead to cancer, leukemia and birth defects. Dr. Fairlie recommends that Pickering be shuttered in 2018 when its current license expires rather than be extended another decade at OPG's request.
- Tritium Awareness Project (TAP) Web site
- See link on TAP's main page to a very funny Rick Mercer skit called ‘Tritium Give-Away Days’ – only 1 minute long (& laugh-out-loud funny, to boot!). Tritium fact sheets on the TAP site here
- Beyond Nuclear’s Tritium Web site section
- Beyond Nuclear backgrounder on “routine releases” of tritium (& radioactive noble gases)
- Beyond Nuclear’s “Routine Releases” brochure
- Beyond Nuclear fact sheet, “Tritium: A Universal Health Threat Released by Every Atomic Reactor”
- Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility (CCNR) on tritium
- Fairewinds Exposé on Tritium - April 2016 (interview with Dr. Ian Fairlie)
- Health Effects of Tritium, by Rosalie Bertell
- IICPH (International Institute of Concern for Public Health) info on tritium
- NIRS tritium Web site page, with various good additional links
- NIRS fact sheet on routine radiation releases risks, including tritium
- NIRS “Tritium: Health Consequences”
- NIRS “Are federal permissible standards for tritium too permissive?”
- NIRS “Radioactive Releases from Nuclear Power Plants in the Great Lakes Basin: What Are the Dangers?” (includes tritium)
- Nuclear Update 2 - Studies in Pembroke, Ontario yield worrisome new findings about Tritium (Dec. 2015 article by Dr. Ole Hendrickson)
- Ontario Drinking Water Advisory Council: a report from Dr. Gordon Edwards (June 2009)
- Tritium Hazard Report: Pollution and Radiation Risk from Canadian Nuclear Facilities (Dr. Ian Fairlie, 2007)
- Tritium in drinking water notes — Primer & comparison between Canada & U.S.
- Troubles with Tritium (CCNR Web site)
- TRITIUM TRAFFIC: DEADLY DIVIDENDS FOR NUCLEAR INDUSTRY
** Recent articles:
Tritium dynamics in soils and plants grown under three irrigation regimes at a tritium processing facility in Canada [from CNSC - Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission-Jan. 2016]
Abstract: The dynamics of tritium released from nuclear facilities as tritiated water (HTO) have been studied extensively, with results incorporated into regulatory assessment models. These models typically estimate organically bound tritium (OBT) for calculating public dose since OBT itself is rarely measured.
Higher-than-expected OBT/HTO ratios in plants and soils are an emerging issue. To support the improvement of models, an experimental garden was set up in 2012 at the SRB Technologies (SRBT) tritium processing facility in Pembroke, Ontario to characterize the circumstances under which high OBT/HTO ratios may arise. Soils and plants were sampled weekly to coincide with detailed air and stack monitoring. The design included a plot of native grass/soil, contrasted with sod and vegetables grown in barrels with commercial topsoil under natural rain and either low- or high-tritium irrigation water. Air monitoring indicated that the plume was present infrequently at concentrations of up to about 100 Bq/m3 (the garden was not in a major wind sector). Mean air concentrations during the day on workdays (HTO 10.3 Bq/m3, HTO 5.8 Bq/m3) were higher than at other times (0.7–2.6 Bq/m3). Mean tissue-free water tritium (TFWT) in plants and soils and OBT/HTO ratios were only very weakly or not at all correlated with releases on a weekly basis. TFWT was equal in soils and plants and in above- and below-ground parts of vegetables. OBT/HTO ratios in above-ground parts of vegetables were above 1 (1.5–1.8) when the main source of tritium was from high-tritium irrigation water. Ratios were below 1 (0.4–0.6) in below-ground parts of vegetables when irrigated with high-tritium water, and above 1 (1.3–2.8) in vegetables rain-fed or irrigated with low-tritium water. In contrast, OBT/HTO ratios were very high (9.0–13.5) when the source of tritium was mainly from the atmosphere. TFWT varied considerably through time as a result of SRBT’s operations; OBT/HTO ratios showed no clear temporal pattern in above- or below-ground plant parts. Native soil after ∼20 years of operations at SRBT had high initial OBT that persisted through the growing season; little OBT formed in garden plot soil during experiments. High OBT in native soil appeared to be a signature of higher past releases at SRBT. This phenomenon was confirmed in soils obtained at another processing facility in Canada with a similar history.
This study’s insights into variation in OBT/HTO ratios are of regulatory interest, and should be incorporated in assessment models to help design relevant environmental monitoring programs for OBT.
To obtain a copy of the abstract’s document, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 613.995.5894 or 1.800.668.5284 (in Canada). When contacting us, please provide the title and date of the abstract.
January 2015? Levels of tritium in soils and vegetation near Canadian nuclear facilities releasing tritium to the atmosphere: implications for environmental models. From the Abstract: "Concentrations of organically bound tritium (OBT) and tritiated water (HTO) were measured over two growing seasons in vegetation and soil samples obtained in the vicinity of four nuclear facilities and two background locations in Canada. At the background locations, with few exceptions, OBT concentrations were higher than HTO concentrations: OBT/HTO ratios in vegetation varied between 0.3 and 20 and values in soil varied between 2.7 and 15. In the vicinity of the four nuclear facilities OBT/HTO ratios in vegetation and soils deviated from the expected mean value of 0.7, which is used as a default value in environmental transfer models. Ratios of the OBT activity concentration in plants ([OBT]plant) to the OBT activity concentration in soils ([OBT]soil) appear to be a good indicator of the long-term behaviour of tritium in soil and vegetation. In general, OBT activity concentrations in soils were nearly equal to OBT activity concentrations in plants in the vicinity of the two nuclear power plants. [OBT]plant/[OBT]soil ratios considerably below unity observed at one nuclear processing facility represents historically higher levels of tritium in the environment. The results of our study reflect the dynamic nature of HTO retention and OBT formation in vegetation and soil during the growing season. Our data support the mounting evidence suggesting that some parameters used in environmental transfer models approved for regulatory assessments should be revisited to better account for the behavior of HTO and OBT in the environment and to ensure that modelled estimates (e.g., plant OBT) are appropriately conservative."
“Tritium is no big deal. All it can do is destroy a DNA molecule.” – a health physicist, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 1977
Nobody Can Undo the Doo Doo from a Candu, let alone contain it. “Tritium, the radioactive sibling of hydrogen, is created by fissioning inside a CANDU reactor. They use heavy water. Heavy water then becomes radioactive water. Chemically there is no way to separate radioactive water from stable water. Because Lake Ontario water provides the coolant water, it becomes populated with radioactive water before it is released back into the Lake. Lake Ontario is now a tritium dump.” ~ Tim Seitz
“Tritium is bad for sperm.” ~ Diane D’Arrigo (NIRS or Nuclear Information & Resource Service)
“There’s been new research documenting cancer & other health maladies in people who live near nuclear plants. Nuclear plants need not undergo an accident to kill. They emit “routine releases” of radioactive poisons including xenon, krypton & tritium because nuclear plants are not sealed. Once, nuclear scientists spoke of a “threshold dose” of radiation & maintained that below that there was no harm. Now it is acknowledged that any amount of radioactivity can lead to illness & death. The Radiation & Public Health Project has documented rates of cancer significantly higher for distances of up to 40 miles around nuclear plants.” – Karl Grossman, in the Preface to his book Cover Up: What You Are Not Supposed to Know About Nuclear Power (available free on-line)