Groundwater protection and monitoring programs for nuclear facilities and uranium mines and mills
View Access for this document is only available for viewers in Canada
This is the second edition of CSA N288.7, Groundwater protection and monitoring programs for nuclear facilities and uranium mines and mills. It supersedes the previous edition published in 2015 under the title Groundwater protection programs at Class I nuclear facilities and uranium mines and mills.
Major changes in this edition include:
a) alignment with the CSA N288 series of Standards; and
b) improved guidance and clarity.
The purpose of this Standard is to provide requirements and guidance which facilitate groundwater protection and monitoring at nuclear facilities and uranium mines and mills. Compliance with the Standard will allow facilities to demonstrate that they will not pose an unreasonable risk to the environment or the health and safety of humans and non-human biota from groundwater.
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 nuclear Standards provide specific 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 can provide more specific direction for meeting those requirements.
This Standard addresses the design, implementation, and management of groundwater protection and monitoring programs that incorporate best practices in Canada and internationally.
Users of this Standard are reminded that additional and site-specific requirements might be specified by federal, provincial/territorial, or municipal authorities. This Standard should not be considered a replacement for the requirements contained in any
a) applicable federal/territorial or provincial statute, including the Nuclear Safety and Control Act; or
b) regulation, licence, or permit issued pursuant to an applicable statute.
This Standard was prepared by the Subcommittee on Groundwater Protection Programs at Class I Nuclear Facilities and Uranium Mines and Mills under the jurisdiction of the Technical Committee on Environmental Management for Nuclear Facilities and the Nuclear Strategic Steering Committee, and has been formally approved by the Technical Committee.
This Standard is used in conjunction with CSA N288.0, which captures those requirements that are common across the CSA N288 series of Standards. These include requirements on
a) criteria for determining the need to establish a monitoring program;
b) design of a monitoring program, including the use of a systematic planning process;
c) sampling and analytical procedures;
d) interpretation of data;
e) QA and QC;
f) reporting, review, and audit;
g) staff qualifications and training; and
Note: Any requirements pertaining to these elements that are not common across the CSA N288 series of Standards but are specific to a GWPP or GWMP, are addressed in this Standard.
1.2.1 Types of facilities
This Standard addresses the design and operation of GWPPs for nuclear facilities. These facilities include
a) nuclear reactors;
b) uranium mines, mills, refineries, and conversion plants;
c) uranium fuel fabrication plants;
d) isotope processing facilities;
e) particle accelerators with a beam energy equal to or greater than 50 MeV; and
f) nuclear waste management facilities.
1) In this Standard, all of these facilities are included in the term “nuclear facilities”.
2) 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.
220.127.116.11 Additional considerations
As per CSA N288.0, Clause 1.2.2, this Standard may also apply to the design and operation of GWPPs for
a) a facility that includes
i) an irradiator that uses more than 1015 Bq of a nuclear substance;
ii) an irradiator that requires shielding that is not part of the irradiator and that is designed to deliver a dose of radiation at a rate exceeding 1 cGy/min at a distance of 1 m;
iii) a radioactive source teletherapy machine;
iv) a particle accelerator that is capable of producing nuclear energy and has a beam energy of less than 50 MeV for beams of particles with a mass equal to or less than 4 atomic mass units;
v) a particle accelerator that is capable of producing nuclear energy and has a beam energy of no more than 15 MeV per atomic mass unit for beams of particles with a mass greater than 4 atomic mass units; or
vi) a brachytherapy;
b) facilities that use or store naturally occurring radioactive materials;
c) institutions operating under the authority of a nuclear substances and radiation device licence; or
d) low-level effluent or emissions of nuclear and hazardous substances released to the environment due to existing exposure situations such as those resulting from the contamination of areas with radioactive materials produced or used in past activities.
1) In these situations, however, the operator of the nuclear facility is responsible for determining the applicability and suitability of this Standard in consultation with the AHJ.
2) The list of facilities under Clause 18.104.22.168 a) corresponds to the definition of “Class II nuclear facility” under the Class II Nuclear Facilities and Prescribed Equipment Regulations.
1.2.2 Facility lifecycle
This Standard addresses monitoring performed during
a) site preparation, construction, and commissioning;
b) site operations;
c) site decommissioning; and
d) any period of institutional control that might follow closure of the facility.
1) The nature and extent of GWPP and GWMP requirements change over the lifecycle of the facility.
2) The need for a GWMP can be evaluated as part of the periodic review discussed in Clauses 8.4.3 and 8.4.4 of CSA N288.0.
1.3 Operating conditions
1.3.1 Monitoring during normal operations
The monitoring described in this Standard is applicable where nuclear and hazardous substances might be released to groundwater during normal operations over the lifecycle of a nuclear facility.
Note: Any release resulting from a deviation from routine operational practice that is expected to occur once or several times during the operating lifetime of a nuclear facility or licensed activity (i.e., reasonably foreseeable upset events, also known as anticipated operational occurrences including leaks and spills) is considered part of normal operation.
1.3.2 Monitoring during accidental releases
This Standard does not address groundwater monitoring during accidental releases.
1) Monitoring during accidental releases is not included in this Standard due to the emergent and highly specific nature of such events. Planning to mitigate impacts to groundwater from accidental releases is important, and parts of this Standard may be used in this planning.
2) Some parts of this Standard might be applicable to the monitoring of groundwater following an accidental release. In these cases, the operator of the nuclear facility is responsible for determining the applicability of this Standard.
1.4 Spill response and the management of the spill event
This Standard does not address spill response and the management of the spill event; however, if there is residual contamination to groundwater, then this Standard would apply.
Note: A facility should have in place a spill response plan to address the immediate response to spills. Some parts of the Standard are applicable to the longer term monitoring of groundwater following a spill event.
1.5 Contaminants and physical characteristics
This Standard considers the following COPCs or groundwater characteristics that might cause potential adverse effects:
a) hazardous substances such as toxic, corrosive, or deleterious substances;
b) nuclear substances; and
c) geochemical (e.g., groundwater quality) and physical characteristics of groundwater (e.g., groundwater quantity or temperature).
1.6.1 Leak detection
This Standard addresses
a) the role of monitoring in relation to leak detection, although this monitoring does not replace leak prevention;
b) review of structures, systems, and components (SSC), and sentinel monitoring to provide early warning of any potential groundwater contamination issues, notwithstanding technical limitations (see Clause 6.3.4); and
c) to a limited degree, repair, preventative maintenance, and ageing of monitoring equipment.
1.6.2 Mixed effluent and groundwater
This Standard does not address groundwater that is intercepted, collected, mixed with an effluent stream, and subsequently discharged.
Note: Monitoring of that effluent is discussed in and is part of CSA N288.5, as outlined in Clause 1.5.2 of CSA N288.5 (see Clause 0.5 of this Standard).
1.7 Interpretation of data
Guidance on the interpretation of data collected by a GWMP is provided in CSA N288.0. Any additional guidance specific to a GWMP is provided in this Standard.
Note: Users are cautioned that the AHJ can impose requirements regarding data analysis and interpretation that differ from those described in this Standard and in CSA N288.0. The operator of the nuclear facility or a licensed activity is responsible for determining what data analysis and interpretation is necessary to ensure compliance with AHJ requirements.
1.8 Risk management and remediation
This Standard does not provide guidance on risk management or remediation.
Note: This Standard provides guidance to identify situations where risk management and remediation might be needed to protect identified receptors, but does not provide further advice on selecting or implementing risk management or remediation options.
1.9 Dose assessment methods
This Standard does not address dose assessment methods.
1) The GWMP does provide information for the groundwater pathway and input for dose assessment.
2) It is anticipated that dose assessment might be one of the tools used in interpreting groundwater data or defining groundwater evaluation criteria for the program.
3) Guidance on dose assessment methods is provided in CSA N288.6.
Guidance on reporting the results of a GWMP is provided in CSA N288.0. Any additional guidance specific to a GWMP is provided in this Standard.
Note: Users are cautioned that the AHJ can impose requirements regarding reporting that differ from those described in this Standard and in CSA N288.0. The operator of the nuclear facility or a licensed activity is responsible for determining what reporting is necessary to ensure compliance with AHJ requirements.
In this Standard, “shall” is used to express a requirement (i.e., a provision that the user is obliged to satisfy 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.
In this Standard, “shall be considered” or “shall consider” means that the user is required to consider the possibility, make a decision, and document the reason(s) for that decision.
Note: Examples of decisions can include no action, operating procedures, and design features.