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A Pembroke, Ont., company that was temporarily shut down in August for contaminating groundwater with radioactive tritium will not be allowed to use tritium to manufacture light sources anymore, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has ruled.
In a news release issued Wednesday, the commission said it would not renew SRB Technologies’ operating licence because it believes the company “will not make adequate provision for the protection of the environment when carrying out activities that include the processing of tritium.”
The company will still be allowed to possess radioactive materials for the next 18 months.
SRB Technologies, which uses the tritium to manufacture glow-in-the-dark signs and emergency lighting at a plant 130 kilometres northwest of Ottawa, had asked for a three-year renewal of its operating licence.
Local environmental groups said they were concerned about the way the company handles the radioactive material washed off its smokestacks, and they fiercely opposed the renewal at public hearings on Oct. 25 and Nov. 27.
On Nov. 30, the commission gave the company a temporary two-month renewal of its licence while it made a final decision.
The plant was shut down temporarily in August after nuclear safety inspectors found the groundwater near the plant was contaminated with levels of radiation up to 80 times higher than what is considered safe.
As part of its licence renewal proposal, the company said it would store the tritium-contaminated water washed off its smokestacks and release it periodically into Pembroke’s sewer system, where it would be diluted to safe levels before flowing into the Ottawa River.CBC News