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Independent Environmental Monitoring Program (IEMP)

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Hi, my name is Elias and I work for the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

Today, I'd like to tell you about the CNSC's new Independent Environmental Monitoring Program, or what we call the "IEMP".

The IEMP's goal is to make sure that public health and the environment around licensed nuclear facilities are protected from the releases to the environment, related to the activities of the facility.

Licensees are already required to implement an environmental protection program. Under their licence, they have to control releases and monitor the levels of contaminants in the environment.

The IEMP is another tool to ensure their programs are effective.

So, how does it work?

Through the IEMP, CNSC staff take samples of the air, water, soil, sediment, vegetation, and some local foods, like meat and produce, from publicly accessible areas around the facility.

These could include parks, residential communities, local farms and beaches.

Let's take a look at some CNSC staff taking samples from around a nuclear facility.

These samples may be tested for radiological or non-radiological contaminants here at the CNSC's state-of the art lab, where they are analyzed by highly qualified scientists, using industry best practices.

The contaminant levels are compared to applicable guidelines and natural background levels to confirm that there is no impact on the public or on the environment.

The data gathered from the samples and analyses are then published on the CNSC website in our new user-friendly, interactive IEMP webpage.

Let me show you how it works.

Click on the facility you are interested in.

The map that pops up has icons that show you what type of sample was taken; for instance the droplet indicates water, and the cloud represents air.

When you click on the icon, you get an immediate snapshot of the results.

For more detailed information, you can scroll down to the full data which is presented in a table.

We've compared the results to all guidelines and limits to make it easy for you to see if there are any health concerns.

The IEMP is being implemented for facilities in all segments of the nuclear fuel cycle, including:

-uranium mines and mills,

-uranium and nuclear processing,

-nuclear power plants,

-research and medical isotope production, and waste management.

It's important to note that the IEMP does not relieve licensees of their responsibilities.

Licensees continue to be responsible for their own environmental protection programs and the CNSC continues to perform our regular compliance verification activities. These include reviews of compliance reports and regular inspections.

The IEMP is one more way that we can confirm that our regulation of the nuclear sector is effective in protecting the health and safety of the public and the environment near nuclear facilities.

At the CNSC we will never compromise safety!

For more information and to see our interactive webpage for yourself, visit our website

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