Friday, November 20, 2009


Friday, November 20, 2009Nuclear Industry Flooding Canada with Radioactive Tritium (Ottawa) Canadians should be concerned about birth defects and cancerscaused by radioactive tritium in their drinking water according toTritium on Tap, a report by Sierra Club Canada. The report also notesthat routine and accidental releases of tritium are rising. Canada’s nuclear industry releases massive quantities of tritium intowaterways, sewers and the atmosphere. Levels in drinking water remainbelow present federal guidelines, but Canada allows 70 times moretritium than the European Union standard, and 473 times more tritiumthan California’s Public Health Goal of 14.8 becquerels per litre. “According to the UK’s Committee Examining Radiation Risks of InternalEmitters (CERRIE), current estimates of risk from tritium exposure donot take into account the properties of tritium, especially its abilityto exchange with non-radioactive forms of hydrogen and combine withhuman DNA leading to cancer and birth defects,” said Mike Buckthought ofSierra Club Canada. The report documents a nuclear industry that relies on lax out of datefederal guidelines in order to ignore the problem of increasing releasesof tritium from its aging reactors. Following leaks at the NRU reactor in Chalk River, Atomic Energy ofCanada Limited (AECL) deliberately dumps radioactive water into theOttawa River -- resulting in spikes in tritium levels in Ottawa’sdrinking water. During the summer, AECL collected an estimated 4.5tonnes of radioactive water, leading to concerns that it may be about todump the contaminated water into the river. “The problem is not just leaks and accidents. Every year 6.6 quadrillionbecquerels of radioactive tritium is released into our rivers, lakes andthe atmosphere -- leading to widespread contamination. Radioactive watergets into our food and drinking water, exposing millions of people to aknown carcinogen,” said Buckthought.Monitoring of fruits and vegetables around Pembroke and Peterboroughhave found radioactive potatoes, rhubarb and apples. There have beensimilar problems with radioactive contamination around the Bruce andDarlington nuclear plants. “The nuclear industry should consider the impact of releasing largequantities of tritium. When tritium gets into our food and drinkingwater, it can cause cancer and birth defects,” said John Bennett, SierraClub Canada’s Executive Director. - 30 – For more information, contact: Mike Buckthought, National Climate Change Campaigner, Sierra ClubCanada, 613-241-4611 x235John Bennett, Executive Director, Sierra Club Canada, 613-241-4611 x222 Jb. John BennettExecutive Director.Sierra Club Canada.

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