Posts Tagged ‘Shield Source Incorporated’

Radioactive apples and incompetence at CNSC

April 10th, 2012 No comments

The transcript of the January 2011 mid-term review by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission of the operating license for Shield Source Incorporated (SSI) contains interesting verbal exchanges on the subject of tritium in apples from trees near SSI. According to the transcript, crabapples in a tree located 220 meters northeast from SSI question tested in 2010 contained over 2500 Becquerels per liter of tritium, compared to a normal background level of around 2 Becquerels per liter. Also of serious concern, apples 4.45 km north of SSI on Brealey Drive in Peterborough have consistently shown over 200 Becquerels per liter of tritium.

These findings are a warning sign that tritium contamination is widespread around SSI. However, CNSC staff do not see it that way. They state, for the record, that something unusual about apples causes them to concentrate tritium more than other types of vegetation. To quote from the transcript:

“We did observe as well that apples have this unique characteristic of having fairly high tritium concentrations even far away from some facilities and this is a subject of — will be the subject of some future research efforts to look at how apples are behaving this way. “

The CNSC is mandated to protect Canadians from radioactive pollution. Yet, CNSC staff repeatedly fall short in this regard. They seem unable to understand that tritium gas, which SSI releases from its stack, is readily oxidized to radioactive water, spreads throughout the environment and is incorporated into all organisms living nearby – including humans. Please see the tritium primer on this website for more on this.

Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility opposes SSI license

April 10th, 2012 No comments

In a recent intervention filed with the CNSC, the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility presents a strong case against licensing of Peterborough-based tritium light factory, Shield Source Incorporated. CCNR points out that tritium is a radioactive waste byproduct of CANDU nuclear reactors which should be carefully isolated from the environment and living organisms. Instead,tritium extracted from Ontario reactors is being sold to SSI and incorporated into self-luminous devices, the manufacture of which results in chronic radioactive pollution of local air, water, soil and foodstuffs due to the inability of the SSI facility to handle this radio-toxic substance without spilling large quantities into the surrounding environment.

A PDF version of the three-page CCNR intervention is available here .

SSI’s absurd release limit for tritium enables CNSC to cover up serious accident

April 9th, 2012 No comments

When Shield Source Incorporated (SSI), a Peterborough, Ontario-based manufacturer of tritium lights, applied to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) in 2009 for a renewal of its operating license, Dr. Ole Hendrickson of Concerned Citizens of Renfrew County pointed out the absurdity of SSI’s “derived release limit” for tritium gas (HT) in the following statement:

“CNSC has currently set the derived release limit for HT from SSI at 3.40E+19 Bq/year (3.4 x 1010 GBq/a). This is over 200 times higher than the total global natural tritium production rate, and more than ten times the total world steady state natural inventory of tritium. (emphasis added)

Each year during the past five years, in theory, SSI could have emitted more than ten times the world’s current natural tritium inventory. Had they done so, tritium levels in rainfall, and in every water body in the world, would have risen several hundred-fold, reaching levels exceeding those measured at the peak of nuclear weapons testing in 1963.

Read more…

1.5 million Bq/l tritium at the base of SSI stack

April 9th, 2012 No comments

During preparations for intervention in the upcoming licensing hearing for SSI, the Peterborough-based citizen’s group SAGE has learned that soil tritium concentrations at the base of SSI’s stack exceeded 1.5 million Bq/l .  This is eerily similar to what happened at SRB Technologies in Pembroke several years ago where groundwater remains contaminated as a result and the stack area is surrounded by a fence.

In the case of SSI,  there is no signage or any indication  of the tritium hazard. Unbelievably there is a picnic table right beside the stack. Read more in the SAGE intervention for the upcoming hearing at the CNSC on May 2, 2012.

International experts to speak on relicensing of tritium-based industry in Peterborough

April 9th, 2012 No comments

Dr. Gordon Edwards and Dr. Linda Harvey, international experts on the risks of nuclear energy and health effects of radiation, will be presenting their perspective on the hazards of radioactive tritium, specifically in regard to the current federal relicensing process for Shield Source Incorporated (SSI), located at the Peterborough airport.

This important public event organized by Safe And Green Energy (SAGE) Peterborough will be held Wednesday, April 11th, 7:00 pm at the George Street United Church located at the corner of George Street and McDonnel Street. The event titled “Tritium and the Quality of Life In Peterborough” is free and all are welcome.

Safe and Green Energy (SAGE) opposes new license for SSI

April 9th, 2012 No comments

Peterborough citizen’s group, Safe and Green Energy (SAGE) recently submitted an excellent written intervention opposing re-licensing of the Shield Source Incorporated facility. A pdf version of the SAGE intervention is available here (SAGE intervention SSI).

SAGE is being represented by the Canadian Environmental Law Association.


SSI announces possible error in tritium emission calculations

April 9th, 2012 No comments

This public notice,  posted recently on the SSI website, is eerily reminiscent of a similar event several years ago in Pembroke when SRB Technologies Inc. discovered a 10-fold underestimation of its tritium emissions that had been ongoing for many years:

(From the Website of Shield Source Incorporated on April 8, 2012)


On March 28, 2012, we suspended operations to investigate potential errors in calculated HT emission data.  HT is tritium gas that is emitted in small quantities from our exhaust stack during our production process.  The CNSC was notified of this decision on the same day.

After consultation with independent consultants and the CNSC, we have decided to hire a third party consultant to install a parallel monitoring system to verify emission data during a limited production three day test scheduled to commence on April 3rd. Based on the values under consideration, this is not considered a threat to the public.  Verified independent environmental sampling of air, water, and vegetation remains at historically safe levels.  Additional information will be posted on this website as soon as it’s available.”

Note that SSI refers to “small quantities of tritium gas” being emitted from its exhaust stack. In fact, the tritium light factories, SSI in Peterborough, Ontario and SRB Technologies in Pembroke, Ontario are the two largest point sources for tritium gas emissions in the world, as far as we are aware.

Glow-in-the-dark light factory in Peterborough seeking a 10-year license

April 9th, 2012 No comments

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.