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NEWS: Peterborough chapter engaged in fight against tritium pollution

The Toronto Sun reports, “Environmental groups say an Ontario company that uses tritium in its products is being cavalier with the radioactive material – and Canada’s nuclear watchdog isn’t doing enough to crack down on the operation. Peterborough-based Shield Source Inc., which manufactures signs with tritium that glows without electricity, is asking the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) for a license renewal and that the licensing period be extended from three to 10 years. …Tritium is an isotope of hydrogen gas that occurs both in nature and as a byproduct of nuclear reactors.”

The Peterborough Examiner adds, “Safe and Green Energy Peterborough hosted a panel on the topic of tritium at George Street United Church Wednesday night featuring (nuclear expert and physicist Dr. Gordon) Edwards and fellow expert Dr. Linda Harvey.” The Council of Canadians Peterborough-Kawarthas chapter plays a leading role in SAGE.

“(Edwards) says lax federal regulations allow a company such as Peterborough’s Shield Source Inc. to release dangerous levels of radioactive material into the environment. …The commission’s regulations concerning tritium are far behind the times and allow the contamination of the environment and water, Edwards said. …’Those regulations are laughable. They are ridiculous. They are a licence to pollute. These limits are completely ridiculous,’… (While) Harvey, a medical doctor and member of Physicians for Global Survival, says any level of radioactivity is harmful to the environment and humans. ‘Tritium in the human body…interferes with the development of the fetus, causes cancer and can have hereditary effects,’ she said. ‘When it gets into things it can undergo radioactive decay, which means it fires off its radioactivity and can damage whatever is around it.'”

Additionally, “The licence process has drawn the ire of Peterborough medical officer of health Dr. Rosana Pellizzari who says Shield Source has a higher ‘critical dose’ level of radiation than the massive Darlington nuclear power plant. …In a letter to the commission, Pellizzari recommends a three-year licence renewal and raises concerns about the health hazards associated with the company’s activity.” And, “The Peterborough County-City Health Unit also recently raised concerns about the health effects of tritium.”

In March 2011, CBC reported that 73,000 litres of demineralized water – with trace amounts of tritium ‘below the regulatory limits’ – spilled into Lake Ontario from the Pickering A nuclear generating station, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=6026.

“The application (by Shield Source Inc. to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission), which is open to the public, will be heard May 2.”

The Toronto Sun report is at http://www.torontosun.com/2012/04/11/green-groups-raise-peterborough-radiation-fears, the Peterborough Examiner report is at http://www.thepeterboroughexaminer.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3531015.