Director General of the French nuclear regulator, Autorite de Surete Nucleaire, Jean-Christophe Niel, calls on nuclear operators to control their tritium emissions in this article from Le Monde dated July 8, 2010.
The risks of tritium on health could be underestimated
The risks of tritium – the radioactive form of hydrogen – could be undervalued because it could be bound into the DNA of cells, according to experts who participated in a White Paper published on Thursday July 8 by the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN). Read more…
TAP advisory board member Dr. Ian Fairlie just sent this comment about the “Tritium Studies Project Synthesis Report” , published on the CNSC website here.
“My initial perusal indicates that this another highly slanted, misleading, CNSC defence of the practice of releasing very large amounts of tritium near Canadian nuclear power facilities. It is perhaps revealing that the report (Figs 5 and 6) shows high tritium levels very near the SRB facility at Pembroke, but remains silent about the high tritium intakes by people near nuclear power facilities.
The report takes a hesitant one step forward in actually mentioning the ACES and ODWAC reports (for the first time by CNSC). But two steps backward in refraining from discussing the concerns about tritium which led to the reports.
The report has many defects and omissions but the main deficiency is that it ignores the mounting scientific evidence from radiation biology that tritium is a serious health hazard.”
Ontario Power Generation sells waste tritium from CANDU reactors to two Ontario companies that manufacture tritium lights, SRB Technologies in Pembroke and Shield Source in Peterborough. These companies use the tritium to make self-luminous exit signs. TAP believes that the marketing of radioactive waste in these products should be prohibited. Safer, more effective and more energy efficient alternatives are available.
Besides being hazardous during manufacture and disposal, tritium lights and products containing them are hazardous during use. The tritium contained in a single exit sign, if fully oxidized and inhaled would constitute a lethal dose of radiation. Incidents have occurred in the United States where lights have been accidentally or intentionally broken, thus requiring expensive emergency measures including evacuations and decontamination operations.
This and other problems are described in the TAP fact sheet “Problems with tritium exit signs” available in PDF format for download in the documents section of this website.