CNL responds to environment column

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This is regarding your alarming reporting regarding Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ (CNL) releases of water into the Ottawa River in Katharine Fletcher’s Our Environment column in the March 28 issue. 

This is regarding your alarming reporting regarding Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ (CNL) releases of water into the Ottawa River in Katharine Fletcher’s Our Environment column in the March 28 issue. 
 It’s an inaccurate portrayal of how we operate. Like all industries, we do have planned releases to the environment, both liquid and airborne, but the levels of tritium in the Ottawa River due to our releases are far below regulatory limits. 
 We want to clarify some points that arise in the column:  
 First, all radiological releases from NPD fall well below the derived release limits, which are regulatory standards set by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to ensure the Ottawa River is protected. It is safe to eat the fish and swim in the water. In fact, the releases at NPD are more than 10,000 times lower than the derived release limit, which means NPD has little to no impact on the public or environment.  The resulting levels of tritium in the Ottawa River are much lower than Canadian drinking water quality guidelines as well as other
international limits for tritium.
Second, the column makes it seem as though the releases at NPD are carried out in an uncontrolled fashion. This is not true. The releases from NPD are generally only once or twice a year, and are very limited in volume. CNL always samples and compares the results of the samples to the applicable regulatory limits prior to a discharge.
Third, what is not mentioned is that the proposed decommissioning project would in fact further reduce the level of releases.
Fourth, we are transparent about our releases. Annually, we share information on the effluent releases at all of our sites through our website. This January, we hosted the Algonquins of Anishinabeg Nation Tribal Council and their technical consultant to the NPD site to share information on the hydrogeology of the site and we have shared numerous documents related to our environmental performance to assist with their review of the NPD Closure Project. The report in question was submitted as a part of the Environmental Assessment – a process the public and Indigenous communities are encouraged to participate in.
We are not hiding anything because we know we are operating in a manner that
protects our environment.  At CNL, the safety of humans and the environment are our top priorities.  
 
George Dolinar
Director of Radiation Protection and Environmental Protection
Canadian Nuclear Laboratories