Tritium - Why Not?

Radioluminescent 1.2 Curie 4" x .2" Tritium vials are simply tritium gas-filled, thin glass vials whose inner surfaces are coated with a phosphor. The "gaseous tritium light source" vial shown here is 1.5 years old. 


Report and Advice on the Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standard for Tritium

On February 21, 2007, the Minister of the Environment requested that ODWAC review and provide advice on the current Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standard for Tritium of 7,000 becquerels per Litre (Bq/L), in response to a request from the City of Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health.

The Council was also requested at that time to take into consideration the 1994 report entitled “A Standard for Tritium” prepared by the former Ontario Advisory Committee on Environmental Standards (ACES), which recommended a Standard of 100 Bq/L, to be further reduced to 20 Bq/L after 5 years.

Standards and Guidelines for Tritium in Drinking Water

© Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada 2008

Catalogue number CC172-43/2007E-PDF

ISBN 978-0-662-47497-5

Published by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC)

Catalogue number INFO-0766

Tritium On Tap

Sierra Club Canada

Canada’s nuclear industry releases massive quantities of radioactive pollution on a routine basis. In 2008, Canada's nuclear reactors released 6.6 quadrillion becquerels of tritium. Radioactive tritium gets into our food and drinking water, exposing millions of people to a known carcinogen.

Radioactive tritium can be incorporated into our DNA – and that’s where it does its damage, from close range. Tritium decays within our body, ejecting beta particles that can disrupt our genetic code. Chronic exposure to tritium can increase rates of cancer and birth defects. A developing fetus is particularly susceptible to damage from exposure to radiation.

Manufacturers of radioactive glow-in-the-dark signs in Pembroke and Peterborough are also large emitters of tritium. Monitoring of fruits and vegetables around Pembroke and Peterborough have found radioactive potatoes, rhubarb and apples. There have been similar problems with radioactive contamination around the Bruce and Darlington nuclear plants.

We need safer standards to keep radioactive pollution out of our food and drinking water. Over the long run, we need to phase out nuclear power - and invest in safer alternatives. Investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency will protect our health, and create tens of thousands of green jobs for Canadians.

Groundwater Contamination (Tritium) at Nuclear Plants


Tritium is a mildly radioactive type of hydrogen that occurs both naturally and during the operation of nuclear power plants. Water containing tritium and other radioactive substances is normally released from nuclear plants under controlled, monitored conditions the NRC mandates to protect public health and safety. The NRC recently identified several instances of unintended tritium releases, and all available information shows no threat to the public. Nonetheless, the NRC is reviewing these incidents to ensure nuclear plant operators have taken appropriate action and to determine what, if any, changes are needed to the agency's rules and regulations

Public Health Goal for TRITIUM in Drinking Water

Prepared by Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment
California Environmental Protection Agency
Public Health Goal for TRITIUM in Drinking Water


The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) hereby establishes a Public Health Goal (PHG) of 400 pCi/L for tritium in drinking water. Tritium is a radioactive compound that decays to produce beta particle emissions, with a half-life of 12.35 years. The PHG is based on the known carcinogenic effects of radiation observed in humans. In 1999, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) published “Cancer Risk Coefficients for Environmental Exposure to Radionuclides: Federal Guidance Report 13” on the relative risks of radioactive substances to humans, specifically to provide technical guidance to federal and state risk assessors.

No to Fukushima at Shepperdine!

Tritium ~ Why Not?

We urge the government to consider the implications of rushing into a nuclear partnership at Shepperdine without doing proper due diligence on the potential new investors into the Horizon shell. It should be offering solutions such as energy independence to the micro generators and not playing the whipping boy to trans national investors who decide to move their capital on a whim.

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