Shield Source Incorporated (SSI) will appear before the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) on May 2, 2012 seeking a 10-year license to manufacture glow-in-the-dark devices filled with tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen. CNSC staff support ra 5-year renewal of SSI’s license, which expires July 31, 2012. SSI, located at the Peterborough, Ontario airport, routinely emits large quantities of radioactive tritium gas into the surrounding environment.
The CNSC has refused to release a full report on a February 1, 2010 accident when SSI released roughly 150 trillion Becquerels of radioactive gas in a period of only about five minutes, nearly ten times the company’s weekly release limit, and 30% of its yearly limit. Groundwater in the area is highly polluted with tritium oxide. Local vegetation has incorporated tritium into a broad range of organic compounds.
During the current licence period in late 2009, CNSC staff allowed SSI to increase the height of its stack without public notice or environmental review, so that the company could spread its radioactive pollution farther away from the factory. CNSC staff, commenting on their decision in this matter, claim that “improvements to the design of the stack positively impacted the dispersion of tritium in the environment, consistent with industry best practice.”
For those familiar with the history of serious contamination of Pembroke, Ontario by tritium light manufacturer SRB Technologies, this is an unpleasant case of deja vu.