Artefact Recovery

The Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Office (LLRWMO) provides technical advice on the identification and management of radium and other radioactive artefacts found on public and private properties throughout Canada. Where necessary, the artefacts are characterized, removed and stored at licensed LLRWMO storage sites.

As the primary point of contact for technical advice on radioactive artefacts, the LLRWMO responds annually to numerous enquiries from diverse locations across Canada. Most of the work is done through a cooperative program with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to locate, collect and manage radioactive artefacts.

•  Historic Artefact Recovery Program – Fact Sheet

Radium-contaminated artefacts can include radium-dials, gauges, instruments, static eliminators and smoke detectors. Sources of the artefacts may include museums, metal recyclers, landfills and private properties. Where necessary, artefacts are shipped to an interim consolidation site for characterization and preparation for transfer to the LLRWMO’s licensed facilities at Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL)’s Chalk River Laboratories, Chalk River, Ontario.

Some examples of LLRWMO diverse activities, through the Artefact Recovery Program, include:

  • Some 300 radium luminous dials from the Canadian Museum of Flight in Langley, BC.
  • Radium-bearing instruments from the National Aviation Museum in Ottawa, ON.
  • Thorium-coated lenses from aerial cameras at the Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa, ON.
  • Radium luminous devices from a college in Toronto, ON.
  • Solid radium paint from a private residence in Burnaby, BC.
  • Forty radium luminous devices from a private residence in Ottawa, ON.
  • Radium luminous dials from a laboratory of the Ontario Ministry of Labour’s Radiation Protection Service in Toronto, ON.
  • A radium luminous aircraft dial from a landfill operator and a radium luminous gauge from a scrap metal dealer at locations in Alberta.
  • Radium luminous watch dials and a radium luminous indicator device from locations in Quebec.
  • Twenty radium luminous deck markers from a location in Nova Scotia.
  • Assisted in the relocation of a private collection of uranium ore samples from the Republic of Congo, Africa, to the Haileybury School of Mines in Haileybury, ON for research and display purposes.

Over the years, the LLRWMO Artefact Recovery program has significantly expanded to respond to an increase in requests for technical assistance related to radium and other radioactive artefact from across Canada.