Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

November 20, 2009 18:49 ET

Junk Science: Sierra Club of Canada Misleads the Public

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 20, 2009) - Contrary to the report issued today by the Sierra Club of Canada entitled "Tritium on Tap", the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) would like to reassure members of the public that tritium levels in drinking water and the releases of Canada's nuclear industry poses no risk to their health. The CNSC would not licence a facility unless it was operating safely.

Tritium levels found in the municipal drinking water of the communities near nuclear facilities are well below national and international standards, and below the 20 Bq/L limit recently proposed by the Ontario Drinking Water Advisory Council.

The Sierra Club's report contains no new information on tritium. However, it contains many misleading statements that may create unwarranted concerns and fears among members of the public. For instance, the Sierra Club concludes that current tritium levels cause birth defects and increase cancer risk, which is not the case. In fact, there is no evidence that people living near nuclear power stations have increased risk of any diseases, including leukemia. Furthermore, nuclear workers in Canada experience a lower rate of cancer and live longer than the general population.

Given current concerns about health and the environment, it is unfortunate that the Sierra Club chose to ignore the important benefits of nuclear technology to Canadians. Nuclear isotopes save and improve lives. Furthermore, nuclear power is a safe way of producing low-emission electricity.

The CNSC regulates the use of nuclear energy and materials to protect the health, safety and security of Canadians and the environment; and to respect Canada's international commitments on the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Other links:

Tritium in drinking water: http://www.nuclearsafety.gc.ca/eng/mediacentre/updates/tritium_drinking_water_aug_2009.cfm

Standards and Guidelines for Tritium in Drinking Water: http://www.nuclearsafety.gc.ca/eng/readingroom/healthstudies/tritium/index.cfm

FAQ: Tritium: http://www.nuclearsafety.gc.ca/eng/readingroom/factsheets/tritium_studies_faq.cfm

Tritium Studies Fact Sheet: http://www.nuclearsafety.gc.ca/eng/readingroom/factsheets/tritium_studies.cfm

Health of nuclear workers and people living near nuclear power stations in Canada: http://www.nuclearsafety.gc.ca/eng/mediacentre/updates/health.cfm

Contact Information

  • Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
    Aurele Gervais
    Media and Community Relations
    613-947-0247
    1-800-668-5284
    www.nuclearsafety.gc.ca