Releases of radionuclides from nuclear facilities (impacts on non-human species)

The final risk assessment report, entitled “Releases of Radionuclides from Nuclear Facilities (Impact on Non-human Biota)”, concluded that releases of uranium and uranium compounds contained in effluent from uranium mines and mills are “toxic” as defined in Section 64 of CEPA. Uranium (U) and thorium (Th) and their decay chain daughter radionuclides are the radionuclidesof primary interest released from U mines and mills. Releases of radionuclides from these facilities are primarily to air or to water. Emissions to air will result in the deposition of particle-reactive radionuclides and increased scavenging of radionuclides from the plume with distance from the source. Mobile radionuclides such as the inert gases will disperse quickly and reach background concentrations a short distance (a few km) from the source. Most of the radionuclides released are particle reactive and partition either from water to sediment or from air to soil. The Ministers of Health and Environment are proposing "no further action," in terms of developing a prevention or control instrument under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999). However, taking "no further action" under CEPA 1999, as allowed under section 77 of the Act, does not mean that no action is being taken to address the risks posed by uranium and uranium compounds contained in effluents from uranium mines and mills. The Ministers are recommending this approach, because the Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA) is a more appropriate federal statute to manage the risks posed by uranium and uranium compounds contained in effluents from uranium mines and mills. Environment Canada and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) are working co-operatively to ensure that preventive and control actions are developed under the NSCA to address these effluents in a manner that is consistent with and comparable to the type of risk management measures that could have been developed under CEPA 1999.

CAS number not applicable.

Risk Assessment

Risk Management Strategy

Click on the following link to view strategies and actions recommended to manage risks associated with the substance:

Other Information


Email address:
Fax number: (819) 994-0007

Chemicals Management Division
Environment Canada
Fontaine Building
200 Sacré Coeur Blvd.
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0H3

Date modified: