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Environmental monitoring programs at nuclear facilities and uranium mines and mills
This is the third edition of CSA N288.4, Environmental monitoring programs at nuclear facilities and uranium mines and mills. It supersedes the previous editions, published in 2010 under the title Environmental monitoring programs at Class I nuclear facilities and uranium mines and mills, and in 1990 under the title Guidelines for Radiological Monitoring of the Environment.
The first edition of this Standard addressed only the monitoring of radioactive contaminants in the environment in pathways leading to human exposure. The scope of the second edition of this Standard was expanded to include protection of the environment in conformance with the regulations under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, which came into force on May 31, 2000. As a result, the scope of the second edition was updated to include monitoring of radioactive and non-radioactive contaminants, physical stressors, potential biological effects, and pathways for both human and non-human biota.
This edition of this Standard has been updated to reflect current industry practice, and include new research and analysis methods. Major changes to this edition include the following:
a) The structure of the Standard and definitions have been updated for consistency with the CSA N288 series of Standards.
b) Administrative provisions (e.g., the term Class 1) were removed.
c) The duplicate generic requirements of CSA N286 were removed, with more specific direction for those requirements provided where necessary.
d) References to recently issued CSA N288 Standards are included to provide further clarification, and replace duplicated content (i.e., CSA N288.6, CSA N288.7, and CSA N288.9).
e) Additional guidance on analytical results that are below the decision threshold is provided in alignment with current industry standards.
f) New guidance from relevant publications addressing sampling, analysis, and quality assurance/quality control has been incorporated.
g) Additional references and guidance on representative sampling, sampling media, and annual reviews have been included.
h) The former informative Annex A was removed, as it is addressed by CSA N288.6.
This Standard is part of the N288 series of Standards and Guidelines on environmental management for nuclear facilities.
The CSA N-Series Standards provide an interlinked set of requirements for the management of nuclear facilities and activities. CSA N286 provides overall direction to management to develop and implement sound management practices and controls, while the other CSA Group nuclear Standards provide technical requirements and guidance that support the management system. This Standard works in harmony with CSA N286 and does not duplicate the generic requirements of CSA N286; however, it may provide more specific direction for those requirements.
Users of this Standard are reminded that the design, manufacture, construction, commissioning, operation, and decommissioning of nuclear facilities in Canada are subject to the provisions of the Nuclear Safety and Control Act and its supporting Regulations.
1.1.1 Types of facilities
This Standard addresses the design and operation of EMPs for nuclear facilities.
Note: On-site conventional waste management facilities (e.g., landfills, incinerators, and sewage treatment plants handling non-radioactive material) are included in the scope of this Standard.
1.1.2 Facility lifecycle
The nature and extent of environmental monitoring requirements will change during the lifecycle of the facility. This Standard addresses monitoring performed during
a) site preparation, construction, and commissioning;
c) decommissioning; and
d) any period of institutional control that might follow closure of the facility.
1) In Canada, baseline monitoring prior to the submission of an application for a licence to prepare a site might not be fully addressed by this Standard. For more information on pre-licensing baseline monitoring, see CNSC REGDOC-1.1.1, Section 3.4, Appendix B.3, and Appendix C, CNSC REGDOC-2.9.1, and BCMOE, 2016.
2) Data from baseline monitoring are generally used as an input into the ERA. Many of the recommendations and considerations provided within this Standard are applicable to environmental baseline activities. In addition, pre-licensing baseline data collection ideally places special emphasis on environmental factors and elements that might be carried forward to the EMP.
1.2 Operating conditions
1.2.1 Monitoring during normal operations
The monitoring described in this Standard is applicable where human and/or non-human biota might routinely be exposed to
a) low-level emissions of nuclear and hazardous substances released to the environment as the result of the normal operation of a nuclear facility; or
b) physical stressors imposed on the environment as the result of the normal operation of a nuclear facility.
1.2.2 Monitoring during accidental releases
This Standard does not address acute or high-level exposures that can result from accident scenarios e.g., design basis accidents, beyond design basis accidents), although some parts of this Standard might be applicable to the monitoring of the long-term effect of such an event. In these cases, the operator of the facility is responsible for determining the applicability of the guidance.
1.2.3 Monitoring program boundary
This Standard addresses monitoring conducted in the environment within the spatial boundaries defined in the ERA. This monitoring starts beyond
a) the final point of control for an airborne or waterborne release; or
b) the facility boundary.
Note: The facility boundary may be the outer wall or foundation of the building housing the licensed activity. In Canada, the facility boundary may be the boundary of the protected area as defined in Section 9 of the Nuclear Security Regulations for nuclear facilities to which those Regulations apply.
Monitoring extends out to locations determined in the ERA by receptors and receptor range. The spatial boundaries might be different for each media.
1) This Standard does not address effluent monitoring, which involves the monitoring of the release of nuclear and hazardous substances to the environment. See CSA N288.5 for additional information on effluent monitoring programs.
2) This Standard assumes that the exposure to nuclear or hazardous substances by persons working or visiting inside the facility boundary will be controlled through the facility radiation protection program, environmental protection program, or health and safety program.
1.3 Contaminants and physical stressors
This Standard provides guidance on monitoring for the contaminants and physical stressors in environmental media, as identified in the ERA and/or determined by the AHJ. These contaminants and physical stressors can include one or more of the following:
a) hazardous substances such as toxic, corrosive, or environmentally deleterious substances;
b) nuclear substances and radiation; and
c) physical stressors.
1.4 Receptors and biological effects
This Standard provides guidance on designing an EMP that can
a) provide the data necessary to assess potential biological effects on receptors; and
b) measure direct biological effects on receptors.
1) Receptors are as identified in the ERA and/or as determined by the AHJ. The receptors can include human or non-human biota.
2) Measurements of effects in non-human biota (measurement endpoints) can occur at the level of an individual organism, a population, or a community. Often measurement endpoints at the individual level are intended to represent the potential for higher level effects (assessment endpoints) that are of primary concern to environment managers.
1.5 Interpretation of data
This Standard provides guidance on the interpretation of data collected by an EMP. However, users are cautioned that AHJs can impose requirements regarding data analysis and interpretation that differ from those described in this Standard. The operator of the nuclear facility is responsible for determining what data analysis and interpretation are necessary to ensure compliance with AHJ requirements.
1.6 Dose assessment
Although one of the objectives of an EMP may be to provide the data required to support radiation dose assessments or assessments of exposure to hazardous substances, this document does not address dose assessment methods for either human or non-human biota.
Note: Assessments of dose/exposure are normally part of the ERA and any subsequent assessments based on environmental monitoring data are ideally done the same way, using CSA N288.6 or equivalent standards and guidance that were used in the ERA or their most recent updates. Monitoring to support dose assessment is further addressed in Clause 7.4.
This Standard provides guidance on reporting the results of an EMP. However, users are cautioned that AHJs may impose reporting requirements that differ from those described in this Standard. The operator of the nuclear facility is responsible for determining the required frequency and content of reports to AHJs necessary to ensure compliance.
In this Standard, shall is used to express a requirement, i.e., a provision that the user is obliged to satisfy in order to comply with the standard; should is used to express a recommendation or that which is advised but not required; and may is used to express an option or that which is permissible within the limits of the Standard.
Notes accompanying clauses do not include requirements or alternative requirements; the purpose of a note accompanying a clause is to separate from the text explanatory or informative material.
Notes to tables and figures are considered part of the table or figure and may be written as requirements.
Annexes are designated normative (mandatory) or informative (non-mandatory) to define their application.
Environmental monitoring programs at nuclear facilities and uranium mines and mills