Radon is produced by the decay of uranium, which is naturally present in rock and soil. Radon gas is released into the air when uranium ore is mined and, to a lesser extent, during the production of uranium fuel for nuclear power plants.
The CNSC regulates radon in Canada’s nuclear facilities to protect workers, members of the public and the environment.
- Long-term exposure to elevated levels of radon increases the risk of developing lung cancer, which is why the CNSC ensures that the air quality in a uranium mine is strictly controlled with good ventilation.
- Current uranium mines require engineering design and control processes to evacuate radon in order to limit exposures to safe levels.
- As a result, the lung cancer risk for today’s uranium mining and processing workers is the same as that for the general Canadian public.
- Presently, worker exposures to radon in the uranium mining and processing industry are as low as, or only slightly greater than, public exposure from natural radon.
- The level of radon in the environment near uranium mines is similar to radon levels monitored in background locations.
- Radon exposure to members of the public from CNSC-regulated activities is virtually zero.
Read the Radon and Health Information Document (INFO-0813) (PDF)