Clarifications on recent CBC reporting

You may have heard on CBC radio, or read on its web site, some alarming reporting regarding CNL releases of water into the Ottawa River.

It is 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 below the applicable regulatory limits. Far below.

Specifically, when effluent is released from the Nuclear Power Demonstration (NPD) site the resulting tritium levels in the Ottawa River meet drinking water standards.

We want to clarify some points that arise in the article.

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 and we are 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 article 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 in this reporting, 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 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 that 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.

For more on our environmental performance visit