An Environmental Radionuclide Baseline Study Near Three Canadian Naval Ports
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This paper summarizes an environmental radionuclide baseline study undertaken for the Department of National Defence in Canada. The purpose of the project was to establish levels of radionuclides present in the environment around areas where nuclear propelled vessels may be berthed. Specifically, this report describes environmental baselines near Halifax (Nova Scotia), Esquimalt (British Columbia), and Nanoose Bay (British Columbia). Valued ecosystem component samples were taken from dairy farms, beef producers, market gardens, vegetables, tree fruits and berries within the study areas, as well as marine bivalves (mussels and clams), salmon, seaweed, and food from native fisheries. Numerous naturally occurring isotopes were detected and quantified. The only non-naturally occurring isotope positively identified was in the form of trace quantities of 131I, measured in the Halifax study zone (attributed to local hospital cancer therapy). 137Cs is the only other anthropogenic radionuclide detected. Its origin may be the combination of fallout from the Chernobyl accident and fallout from atmospheric nuclear weapon tests. The results indicate that nuclear-powered vessels have not resulted in activity levels that would contribute a significant radiation exposure to the public, the biota, and the environment within the three study zones.
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