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Here are answers to the questions we’re most commonly asked.
Does Nordion have an Environmental, Health and Safety Policy?
Yes. We provide a safe and healthy working environment for our employees. The following principles are the cornerstones of our Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) policy: compliance, prevention of pollution, ALARA and continuous improvement.
How is Nordion regulated in regards to Environmental, Health and Safety requirements?
We operate in a highly regulated environment. Our operations continually exceed the standards set by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). Nordion also works closely with Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, Human Resources and Social Development Canada, Environment Canada and the City of Ottawa. We are a leader in protecting the health and safety of our employees, our neighbours, and the environment.
Nuclear medicine is one of the most powerful analytical tools available to physicians and patients today because of its ability to provide dynamic views of organ structure and function. Medical isotopes, a critical component of global nuclear medicine, are very small quantities of radioactive substance used in safe, cost-effective imaging and treatment of disease. Once processed into radiopharmaceuticals, medical isotopes are used to better diagnose and treat a multitude of diseases including cardiac and neurological conditions, in addition to several types of cancers.
In 2005, Nordion received an unprecedented ten-year license renewal from the CNSC for our facilities in Ottawa—a testament to our demonstrated standards of performance.
Astronauts eat irradiated meat in space.
There are a variety of sources of radiation including the sun, granite countertops and potash fertilizers, just to name a few.
How do you irradiate food products, like spices?
The goal is to prevent the spread of agricultural pests such as fruit flies. This is mostly relevant to fruit and vegetables imported from tropical or subtropical countries. The dose of gamma rays required to kill pests is much less than the doses required to inactivate micro-organisms.
Does Nordion work with third-party emergency preparedness organizations?
Nordion works in partnership with local emergency organizations to ensure a safe and appropriate response to potential emergency situations. Nordion provides regular orientation sessions to the local Fire and Police Departments to familiarize them with our facility and to discuss how we would work together in an emergency situation. We also periodically invite local emergency response organizations to participate in emergency response drills at our site to test how these types of emergencies would be managed.
Nordion is ISO 14001:2004 certified. This certification is an internationally recognized standard which specifies the actual requirements for an environmental management system (EMS) and for controlling and improving a company’s environmental performance. Currently our Ottawa, Laval and Vancouver sites are certified against ISO 14001:2004.
How do you ensure security of your site?
Nordion takes security very seriously. The processing, handling, shipping and use of radioisotopes are highly-regulated and we comply with all existing and new security requirements from multiple authorities around the world. We have taken steps to do more in terms of safety and security and take an industry leadership position to ensure we meet ongoing requirements in this area. Our security systems and programs have been extensively audited by our regulator, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). Our security practices have been found to be appropriate for the risks/threats identified for this type of facility. We also regularly conduct our own internal security audits and promptly address any shortcoming. Being responsible ensures isotope supply. The world’s healthcare community depends on this.