Cameco Port Hope conversion plant - Current Issues (Ontario, Canada)
(last updated 13 Sep 2017)
> View Cameco Port Hope Community page
> View Port Hope Environmental Incidents (Cameco)
License renewal for Port Hope conversion plant
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) will hold a public hearing (Nov. 8-9, 2016) to consider an application from Cameco Corporation (Cameco) to renew, for a period of 10 years, its Nuclear Fuel Facility Operating Licence for the Port Hope Conversion Facility located in Port Hope, ON. The current licence expires February 28, 2017.
Requests to intervene must be filed by October 3, 2016.
> Download CNSC Notice of Public Hearing and Participant Funding, Mar. 30, 2016 (PDF)
> Download Revised Notice of Public Hearing, October 17, 2016 (PDF)
> Download Public Hearing Agenda (PDF)
> Download Revised Public Hearing Agenda , Oct. 31, 2016 (PDF)
> Download Revised Public Hearing Agenda , Nov. 3, 2016 (PDF)
> Download Hearing Transript: Nov. 8, 2016 · Nov. 9, 2016 (PDF)
On Feb. 27, 2017, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) announced its decision to renew Cameco Corporation's nuclear fuel facility operating licence for the Port Hope Conversion Facility (PHCF) for a 10-year period.
> Download: Record of Decision, Feb. 27, 2017 (PDF) · Erratum, March 8, 2017 (PDF)
Study finds no unusual cancer incidence rate in Port Hope
> View abstract/Download: An ecological study of cancer incidence in Port Hope, Ontario from 1992 to 2007 , by J. Chen, D. Moir, R. Lane and P. Thompson, in: Journal of Radiological Protection, Vol. 33 (2013), Issue 1, p. 227–242
CNSC issues license renewal for Port Hope conversion plant
Following a two-day public hearing (November 3, 2011, and January 18 and 19, 2012), the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) announced on Feb. 29, 2012, its decision to renew for a period of five years the Nuclear Fuel Facility Operating Licence for Cameco Corporation’s Port Hope Conversion Facility located in Port Hope, Ontario. The licence will be valid from March 1, 2012 to February 28, 2017.
> Download Notice of Public Hearing Aug. 24, 2011 (PDF)
> Download Relicensing Documents (Cameco)
> Download Public Hearing Transcript - Port Hope Conversion Facility: Nov. 3, 2011 · Jan. 17, 2012 · Jan. 18, 2012 (PDF)
> View CNSC release Feb. 29, 2012
> Download Record of Proceedings, including Reasons for Decision (PDF)
Cameco releases reports on environmental impacts of Port Hope plant
Cameco has submitted several technical studies and reports to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and other regulators, which provide important information on matters of local interest pertaining to the Port Hope conversion facility.
The reports include:
> View Cameco release July 14, 2009
Canada's Environment Minister refers "Vision 2010" Redevelopment Project for Cameco's Port Hope conversion facility back to CNSC:
On Dec. 14, 2012, Canada's Environment Minister announced that the proposed Vision 2010 Redevelopment Project for Cameco Corporation's Port Hope Conversion Facility located in Ontario is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects. The Minister has referred the project back to the responsible authority, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, for appropriate action. (CEAA Dec. 14, 2012)
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) invites the public to comment on the Comprehensive Study Report for the proposed Vision 2010 Redevelopment Project for Cameco Corporation's Port Hope Conversion Facility located in Ontario.
Written comments must be submitted by July 25, 2012.
> View CEAA release June 25, 2012
> View CEAA Public Notice June 25, 2012
> Download Comprehensive Study Report
> View Registry reference number 06-03-22672
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) will hold a hearing in May to consider CNSC staff's proposed Comprehensive Study Report for Cameco's planned redevelopment of its Port Hope Conversion Facility (PHCF), the Vision 2010 project. The proposed project includes:
The Commission has determined that a public hearing is not necessary to consider Cameco's request in this case.
- the cleanup and demolition of a number of old or underutilized buildings;
- the removal of contaminated soils, building materials and historic wastes at the PHCF; and
- additions or modifications to existing buildings with associated landscaping and infrastructure.
> Download Notice of Hearing, May 30, 2012 (PDF)
> Download Record of Proceedings, including Reasons for Decision, May 30, 2012 (PDF)
On Sep. 22, 2011, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) invited public comment on the Environmental Assessment (EA) draft Comprehensive Study Report (CSR) for Cameco Corporation's (Cameco) proposed Redevelopment of the Port Hope Conversion Facility (Vision 2010). The draft report is not available online.
The public comment period runs to October 22, 2011.
> View CNSC Request for Public Comment Sep. 22, 2011 .
On March 7, 2011, CEAA announced that the document entitled "Draft, Cameco Vision 2010: Environmental Impact Statement: Port Hope Conversion Facility, December 2010" is available on request.
> View CEAA announcement Mar. 7, 2011
On Nov. 3, 2010, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) announced that it is making available an additional $10,000 under its Participant Funding Program to assist groups or individuals to participate in the environmental assessment of the proposed Vision 2010 Redevelopment Project for Cameco Corporation's Port Hope Conversion Facility in Ontario. Funding applications received by the Agency by December 6, 2010 will be considered.
On March 24, 2009, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) announced that it will move forward with an environmental assessment (EA) for Cameco's Vision 2010 project to clean up and redevelop its conversion facility in Port Hope, Ontario.
> View CNSC release March 24, 2009
In a letter to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), Cameco Corporation (Cameco) proposed the "Vision 2010" project, which involves a comprehensive redevelopment of its Port Hope Conversion Facility located in Port Hope, Ontario.
The project consists of decommissioning and demolishing approximately 20 old or underutilized buildings, removing contaminated soils, building materials and stored historical wastes, and constructing new replacement buildings. On-site plant operations would be maintained while the works are being carried out.
> View "Vision 2010" website (Cameco)
> Download Project Description, June 2006 (1.9M PDF - Cameco)
> View Cameco Corporation Vision 2010 Redevelopment project (CNSC)
> View Cameco Corporation Vision 2010 Redevelopment Project (CEAA)
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) invites public comment on the draft Environmental Assessment (EA) Guidelines for the project.
The public comment period closes on April 11, 2008.
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) is making available $40,000 under its participant funding program to assist groups and/or individuals to take part in the environmental assessment of this proposed project.
Funding applications received by the Agency by April 11, 2008 will be considered.
> View Request for Public Comment on Draft Environmental Assessment Guidelines / Participant Funding Availability Proposed Cameco Corporation Vision 2010 Decommissioning Project, March 5, 2008 (CNSC)
> Download Draft EA Guidelines (Scope of Project and Assessment), March 5, 2008 (502k PDF - CEAA)
> Download Environmental Assessment Guidelines (Scope of Project and Assessment), May 2009 (729k PDF - CNSC)
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) will hold a one-day public hearing (November 6, 2008 - date revised) to consider the Environmental Assessment Track Report (Track Report) regarding Cameco Corporation's (Cameco) proposal for the Vision 2010 project, which involves a comprehensive redevelopment of its Port Hope Conversion Facility located in Port Hope, Ontario. The Commission will also consider the Proposed Environmental Assessment Guidelines (EA Guidelines).
Requests to intervene must be filed by September 8, 2008.
> Download Revised Notice of Public Hearing, Sep 25, 2008 (PDF)
On December 8, 2008, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) announced its decision to recommend to the federal Minister of the Environment that the environmental assessment of Cameco Corporation's proposed Vision 2010 Project to redevelop its Port Hope Conversion Facility located in Port Hope, Ontario be continued as a comprehensive study. The Minister of the Environment must now decide on this recommendation.
> View CNSC release Dec. 8, 2008
CNSC holds hearing on amendmend to financial guarantee for Cameco Port Hope conversion plant
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) held a one-day public hearing (September 13, 2007) on the application by Cameco Corporation for acceptance of the proposed amendment to the value of its existing financial guarantee for its nuclear conversion facility located in Port Hope, Ontario.
> Download Notice of Public Hearing, July 13, 2007 (PDF)
> Download Hearing Transcript Sep. 13, 2007 (PDF)
> View CNSC release Oct. 25, 2007
> Download Record of Proceedings, Including Reasons for Decision (PDF)
CNSC issues license renewal for Cameco Port Hope conversion plant
On Feb. 26, 2007, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), after holding a two-day public hearing (October 4, 2006 and November 28 and 29, 2006) issued a renewal for Cameco Corporation's operating licence for the Port Hope Nuclear Fuel Facility, located in Port Hope, Ontario.
> Download Hearing Notice, July 31, 2006 (PDF)
> Download Oct. 4, 2006, Hearing Transcript (corrected) (PDF)
> Download Nov. 28, 2006, Hearing Transcript (PDF)
> Download Nov. 29, 2006, Hearing Transcript (PDF)
> View CNSC release Feb. 26, 2007
> Download Record of Proceedings, Including Reasons for Decision, Nov. 29, 2006 (PDF)
CNSC holds hearing on mid-term performance of Cameco Port Hope conversion plant
> Download Hearing Notice Dec. 3, 2004 (PDF)
> Download Information from CNSC Staff, CMD 05-H5, Dec. 20, 2004 (PDF, Cameco)
> Download Feb. 23, 2005, Hearing Transcript (PDF)
> View CNSC release May 18, 2005
> Download Record of Proceedings, May 18, 2005 (PDF)
Cameco seeking approval for recycling of wastes from Blind River and Port Hope nuclear fuel facilities at Key Lake mill
> View details
License Renewal for Cameco Port Hope fuel facility
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), after holding a two-day public hearing, issued a 5-year license renewal for Cameco Corporation of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to operate its uranium processing facility in Port Hope, Ontario.
> Download CNSC Announcement (Sep. 6, 2001) (PDF)
> Download Transcript of November 15, 2001, hearing (PDF)
> Download Transcript of January 17, 2002, hearing (PDF)
> View CNSC Release Feb. 18, 2002
> Download Record of Proceedings, Including Reasons for Decision, Feb. 18, 2002 (PDF)
In a dissenting statement (made public on Feb. 22, 2002), unprecedented in the history of the commission and of its predecessor, the Atomic Energy Control Board, Commission Member Dr. C. R. Barnes disagreed with the 5-year duration of the license term (rather than the 3-year terms issued earlier):
"Commission Member Dr. C. R. Barnes concurred with the other Members that the licensee meets
the requirements of section 24(4) of the NSCA and therefore that a licence should be issued.
Dr. Barnes, however, disagreed with the majority view on the duration of the licence term. In
Dr. Barnes' view, a maximum licence term of three years should be approved. Dr. Barnes held
that a five-year licence should be reserved for facilities where the effects have been demonstrated
to be well characterized and where public concerns about health and safety are not high.
Dr. Barnes found that a five-year licence in this case would not adequately address the
significant remaining concerns of the public about the health effects of the facility in
combination with the past uranium contamination in the community. Furthermore, Dr. Barnes
was also concerned about the current lack of environmental effects monitoring in the vicinity of
the facility. Dr. Barnes is of the view that bringing the matter of the licence renewal before the
Commission in three years time, as opposed to a status report, will have a greater influence on
ensuring the licensee maintains close attention to the design and implementation of the
environmental effects monitoring program and the need to continue to address the significant
remaining concerns of the people potentially affected." (Record of Proceedings, Including Reasons for Decision, Feb. 18, 2002)
On December 16, 1999, the Atomic Energy Control Board (AECB) approved the license renewal for the Cameco Corporation uranium conversion facility in Port Hope, Ontario.
> View AECB News Release of Dec. 17, 1999
During the 1940's to 1960's, the Port Hope fuel facility caused massive releases of contaminants into the enviroment. In the Mill Street/ Madison Street area located south-east to the facility, the Ontario MOE found a uranium concentration of 135 ppm in 1986. The concentration had decreased to 40 ppm in 1997 (AECB BMD 00-29, Feb. 1, 2000).
The current uranium deposition rate is being monitored at 5 test plots, at two of them by Ontario MOE and at three by Cameco. At the Cameco soil test plots, a maximum increase in soil uranium concentration of 0.58 ppm per year was observed for the first year 1998.
At MOE's Town Hall plot, the uranium concentration in soil dropped from initially 0.85 ppm to 0.56 ppm in 1997 and 0.58 ppm in 1998. At MOE's Marina plot, the uranium concentration increased from initially 0.85 ppm to 1.78 ppm in 1997 and further to 3.93 ppm in 1998. Normal background levels for uranium in soil in Ontario are up to 2 ppm. (AECB BMD 99-123, Sep. 21, 1999)
Respirable uranium particulate in air is being monitored at three locations around the Port Hope fuel facility since 1998. The highest average monitored at one of these stations was 0.0074 µg/m3 (AECB BMD 99-123, Sep. 21, 1999).
The corresponding radiation dose from inhalation can be calculated at 0.013 mSv/a.
At the request of the Port Hope Community Health Concerns Committee (PHCHCC), AECB has ordered a cancer incidence study in Port Hope from Health Canada.
PNCHCC has requested further studies by independent researchers. (AECB BMD 00-30, Jan. 31, 2000).
The Health Canada study was released on August 22, 2000. It has found that the overall cancer rates in the town of Port Hope, Ontario are comparable to rates throughout the Province of Ontario.
Copies may be requested from the CNSC (successor of AECB) by calling 1-800-668-5284 (in Canada) or e-mail to email@example.com
(view CNSC News Release August 22, 2000)
On June 17, 2002, CNSC released Health Canada's Port Hope mortality report (Cancer and General Mortality in Port Hope, 1956–1997):
"The cancer findings are, on the whole, consistent with the earlier cancer incidence report and previous Port Hope studies. The patterns of cancer mortality in Port Hope are comparable to the province of Ontario as a whole. This pattern is consistent with existing knowledge of doseresponse relationships of radiation risk that an observable excess of cancer wound not be expected because the cumulative doses in Port Hope were low (Tracey 1995, ICRP-60, Boice 1996)."
These findings were discussed at the Commission meeting on June 27, 2002.
(Information from Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission Staff Regarding Cancer and General Mortality in Port Hope, 1956–1997, CMD 02-M47, June 10, 2002)
> View CNSC release June 17, 2002
> View abstract of the study
> Download CNSC meeting transcript, June 27, 2002 (PDF, see p. 30-44)
On April 15, 2009 , the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) released a synthesis report that indicates that the health of Port Hope residents is not at risk and is consistent with the health of the general population of Ontario and Canada.
> View CNSC release April 15, 2009
> Download Understanding Health Studies and Risk Assessments Conducted in the Port Hope Community from the 1950s to the Present, Information Document INFO-0781, April 2009 (490kB PDF - CNSC)
> View CNSC background info
> View Cameco Port Hope page
CNSC issues CDN$ 17,830 penalty to Cameco for violations leading to hydrogen fluoride release in Port Hope UF6 plant
While preventative maintenance work was being conducted, a small amount of Hydrogen Fluoride (HF) fumes escaped from a transfer tank within the UF6 plant. Cameco's Emergency Response Team (ERT) was activated. The plant's safety systems activated and operated as designed to control the HF. There were no injuries and no impact to the environment.
(Cameco May 9, 2017)
On Sep. 6, 2017, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has issued an administrative monetary penalty (AMP) to Cameco Corporation (Cameco) in the amount of $17,830. In May 2017, CNSC staff conducted an inspection at Cameco's Port Hope Conversion Facility (PHCF) and found that Cameco had failed to verify that work was being performed correctly and according to approved procedures as required by Cameco's PHCF licence conditions handbook.
> Download: Notice of Violation, Sep. 6, 2017 (431k PDF - CNSC)
Small fluorine release in Cameco Port Hope UF6 plant
During routine operation on Feb. 19, 2017, a small fluorine leak occurred inside the UF6 plant. The plant's systems activated and operated as designed to control the fluorine. No employees required treatment as a result of this event. No environmental action levels were exceeded.
(Cameco Feb. 21, 2017)
Small fluorine release in Cameco Port Hope UF6 plant
During routine operation on February 2, 2017, a small fluorine leak occurred in the UF6 plant. The plant's systems activated and operated as designed to control the fluorine. While three employees in the area smelled fluorine, they had no related symptoms and were - as a precaution - provided with treatment at the site. No environmental action levels were exceeded.
(Cameco Feb. 3, 2017)
Small UF6 release in Cameco Port Hope UF6 plant
On Jan. 7, 2017, an HF detector within the plant activated indicating a potential leak of UF6. The site's Emergency Response Team (ERT) investigated and confirmed a gasket in the plant was leaking. There were no injuries and no uptakes, or ingestion of the chemical, were reported. Measurements were taken, with a maximum concentration in the area of 1.3 ppm. Further, monitoring confirmed that the safety systems and response ensured this was contained within the plant. (Cameco Jan. 10, 2017)
Uranium trioxide transport from Blind River to Port Hope involved in traffic accident (Ontario)
> See here
Small fluorine gas release in Cameco Port Hope UF6 plant
Cameco reported to the CNSC, as per regulatory requirements, that there was a small unplanned release of fluorine gas within its Port Hope Conversion Facility on February 4, 2016. The release was quickly detected and stopped, and emergency ventilation was activated. The plant was shut down as a precaution and later restarted.
(CNSC Feb. 5, 2016)
Small hydrogen fluoride release in Cameco Port Hope UF6 plant
On November 26, 2014, a small release of anhydrous hydrogen fluoride (AHF) occurred within the uranium hexafluoride (UF6) plant.
Three employees who potentially were exposed to AHF received medical treatment at the facility and were then transferred to Northumberland Hills Hospital for further treatment. All three employees were released within a few hours. There was no impact to the environment as all of the AHF was contained within the building.
(Cameco Nov. 28, 2014)
Cameco Port Hope conversion plant cooling water discharge fails to pass toxicity test due to higher-than normal concentration of potable water (!)
Analysis of cooling water discharge on Oct. 7, 2014, indicated that the north discharge did not meet the toxicity requirement for Daphnia magna (water fleas). The testing on rainbow trout passed the toxicity requirement.
The toxicity failure occurred during a period when the facility was experiencing issues with pumping of cooling water from the harbour. Potable water (municipal drinking water) flow to equipment in the UF6 plant continued. Due to the higher-than normal concentration of potable water relative to harbour water in the discharge, elevated levels of chlorine residual were found in the samples. Chlorine in municipal drinking water is toxic to Daphnia magna. Additional water samples have been taken and the results are pending.
(Cameco Oct. 10 2014)
Cameco Port Hope conversion plant discharges cooling water containing elevated levels of uranium and fluoride to harbour
A leak within a heat exchanger in the UF6 plant resulted in cooling water coming into contact with process water, which was then discharged to the harbour. This situation appears to have begun on Friday, September 26 and was discovered on Monday, September 29. Initial sampling indicates that there was no significant impact on water quality in the harbour.
(Cameco Sep. 30, 2014)
Cameco Port Hope conversion plant effluent exceeds toxicity standard for water fleas
Results from the quarterly testing of the north cooling water discharge indicate the samples do not meet the toxicity requirement for Daphnia magna (water fleas). (Cameco Feb. 19, 2014)
Study finds no significant increase in cancer incidence rate in Port Hope radium and uranium processing workers
> View abstract/ Download: Mortality (1950–1999) and cancer incidence (1969–1999) of workers in the Port Hope cohort study exposed to a unique combination of radium, uranium and gamma-ray doses, by L B Zablotska, R S D Lane, S E Frost, in: BMJ Open 2013;3
Cameco Port Hope UF6 plant shut down after loss-of-control incident
CNSC staff received notification from Cameco on January 29th, 2014, about an incident which required Cameco to perform a manual shutdown to a critical process for uranium hexafluoride (UF6) conversion. This manual shutdown was necessary due to a potentially unsafe valve configuration required to maintain a safe working condition within the facility.
On February 10, 2014, the CNSC permitted Cameco to restart the facility.
> View details (CNSC)
String of incidents prompts investigation at Cameco Port Hope conversion plant
There have been several incidents of "exceedances" and spills at Cameco over the last few months and Rebecca Peters, superintendent, compliance and licensing for Cameco's Port Hope conversion facility, says the company is looking into them.
(Northumberland Today Oct. 14, 2009)
- She reported that besides the two earlier reports of Freon leaks in July, there have been several others since then.
- She told council that in August there was a hydrofluoric acid leak inside the loading area of the HF Building, but that the area is sealed and the leak was contained within the sealed area.
- Then, in early September, a uranium hexafluoride (UF6) leak occurred in the flame reactor area, but once again the barriers worked and the leak was contained inside the building.
- Shortly after that incident, Cameco exceeded the allowable municipal limits in the sanitary sewers for pH.
Peters said they were transferring condensate via a hose and discovered a pinhole leak in the hose near the sanitary sewer system.
- Just last week Cameco received the report on elevated lime candle readings for the month of September, but has yet to analyze it.
Peters said the daily and weekly readings did not show any significantly high results, so they will be investigating why the monthly reading was higher.
Cameco senior communications specialist Doug Prendergast said the fluoride levels read 58, when the allowable limit is 40 - but this is only during the growth period for vegetation.
Cameco resumes UF6 production in Port Hope
On May 19, 2009, Cameco Corporation announced that it is preparing to resume uranium hexafluoride (UF6) production at its Port Hope conversion facility. Cameco has signed a new contract with its historic supplier of hydrofluoric acid (HF).
UF6 production is expected to resume early in the third quarter of 2009.
On June 17, 2009, Cameco Corporation announced that it has resumed production of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) at its Port Hope, Ontario conversion facility.
Leak under UO2 plant contributes to contamination at Cameco's Port Hope conversion plant
> View here
Cameco temporarily suspends UF6 production in Port Hope
On Nov. 28, 2008, Cameco Corporation announced it is suspending uranium hexafluoride (UF6) production at the company's Port Hope plant.
As previously announced, a contract dispute between Cameco and its sole supplier of hydrofluoric acid (HF) has resulted in unreliable and expensive deliveries of this material necessary for the production of UF6. The dispute remains unresolved and Cameco has exhausted the inventory of HF it had purchased on a spot basis.
(Cameco Nov. 28, 2008)
Cameco plans temporary shutdown of Port Hope conversion plant for poor economics
Cameco anticipates the UF6 (uranium hexafluoride) building is expected to close in December 2008 until at least mid-summer 2009.
The closure is blamed on the high cost of hydrofluoric acid (HF) and plummeting sales.
(Northumberland Today Nov. 13, 2008)
Cameco suspends operation of Port Hope conversion plant, after contaminants found in subsoil
On July 20, 2007, Cameco Corporation reported that during a construction project it discovered uranium and evidence of other production-associated chemicals in the soil beneath its Port Hope uranium hexafluoride (UF6) conversion plant. The affected area "appears to be" within, and near, the perimeter walls of the UF6 plant based on the preliminary information available at this time. The chemicals are in a contained area so public health and worker safety are not affected.
Due to the nature of soil at the plant, Cameco expects the ground water flow rate, with the chemicals, to average approximately 40 to 60 metres each year. The perimeter of the plant is about 70 metres from the edge of the property. Cameco has monitoring wells around the property to detect chemicals in the area. These wells are checked quarterly and reported to the regulator annually. The last scheduled samples were taken in April and did not indicate potential issues. Cameco has arranged for additional samples to be taken.
Cameco has suspended operations at the UF6 conversion plant, and full production of UF6 will likely be suspended for a minimum of two months until Cameco has determined the source of the chemicals and developed appropriate plans.
On Oct. 3, 2007, Cameco reported that groundwater test results from a new monitoring well indicate slightly elevated levels of uranium and arsenic at a location eight metres inside the fenceline south of the UF6 production building.
This is the first indication that contamination may be present beyond the property line.
On Oct. 15, 2007, Cameco released a root cause report on the incident. The report identified the following causal factors:
> Download root cause report summary Oct. 15, 2007 (1.7M PDF)
- Some 'floors, sumps & trenches' are not designed to resist a corrosive
- Liquid entering 'floors, sumps & trenches' is frequently corrosive and
attacks the 'floors, sumps & trenches';
- Uranium and chemicals frequently enter the 'floors, sumps & trenches';
- Liquid and sludge remain in the 'floors, sumps & trenches' for sustained
periods of time;
- Some 'floors, sumps & trenches' deteriorated over time and began to leak;
- The monitoring system does not detect deterioration of and/or leakage
from the 'floors, sumps & trenches'.
> Download root cause report Oct. 15, 2007 (1M PDF)
On Jan. 28, 2008, Cameco Corporation reported it has received regulatory approval to begin repairing and upgrading the Port Hope uranium hexafluoride (UF6) conversion plant following the discovery of soil contamination beneath the facility. UF6 plant operations have been suspended since the discovery in July 2007. Cameco has set a target of resuming UF6 production in the third quarter of 2008 at the earliest.
The estimate for the cleanup of the contaminated soil at Port Hope has been increased to C$15 to C$20 million from the C$3 million previously recorded due to an increase in the scope of work required to remediate the contaminated areas. In addition, Cameco expects to spend C$20 to C$25 million on plant improvements.
The leak from Cameco's uranium hexafluoride (UF6) plant has reached the harbour, federal nuclear regulators were told on May 14, 2008.
(Northumberland News May 15, 2008)
On Sep. 16, 2008, Cameco announced that CNSC staff has accepted Cameco's plans to restart UF6 production. The restart is expected to happen within the next several days.
Cameco expects total remediation costs to be $50 to $55 million of which approximately $20 million (including $17 million incurred in 2007) will be expensed and the remainder capitalized.
Cameco said the money was used to investigate the possibility that uranium, arsenic and fluorides may have seeped into Lake Ontario, rehabilitate the plant and install a system of wells that collect impacted groundwater.
The company also made a number of improvements inside the plant, including replacement of large sections of the ground floor and application of chemical-resistant coatings to all floors, as well as removal of some contaminated soil from under the building.
(Canadian Press 17 Sep 2008)
On September 30, 2008, Cameco Corporation announced that it has resumed production of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) at its Port Hope conversion facility. Cameco voluntarily halted production in July 2007 and indicated recently that the company had resolved the issues that led to the presence of uranium and other production-related chemicals beneath the plant.
> Download Final Golder report on UF6 subsurface investigation (September 2008) (11.2M PDF)
> Download Comprehensive risk assessment for UF6 plant (September 2008) (3.4M PDF)
In March, 2009, Cameco replaced the above reports by the following redacted image scan versions:
> Download: Report on subsurface investigation, Building 50 (UF6 plant), Cameco Corporation Port Hope conversion facility , Golder Associates, Aug. 2008 (38.7M PDF)
> Download: Port Hope conversion facility Building 50 risk assessment , Senes Consultants Ltd, Aug. 2008 (12.5M PDF)
> View Updates on subsurface contamination (Cameco)
Small fire in Cameco Port Hope UO2 plant
On April 30, 2017, fire extinguishers were used to put out a small fire that occurred on insulation near a dryer heater in the UO2 plant.
No employees were injured as a result of this event. There were no environmental impacts.
The valve identified as the source of the leak is being replaced.
(Cameco May 2, 2017)
Cameco Port Hope UO2 plant shut down after elevated uranium emissions
On June 29, 2010, Cameco notified the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), that it had potentially exceeded an Action Level for uranium emissions from its UO2 plant in Port Hope, Ontario.
On June 30, 2010 Cameco voluntarily shut down the UO2 plant to conduct their investigation to determine potential sources of elevated uranium emissions.
On July 12, 2010, Cameco submitted its report on uranium emissions from its UO2 plant main stack.
Based on the review of this report, the CNSC has determined that on June 29 the UO2 plant uranium emission rate was 7.21 gU/h (grams of uranium emissions per hour). Although this rate is well below the licensed limit of 150 gU/h, it is above the plant's Action Level of 7 gU/h.
The CNSC has asked that Cameco submit its final investigation report, including the causes of elevated uranium emissions and the corrective actions that will be taken to prevent reoccurrence of the June 29 incident.
> View CNSC release July 15, 2010
Leak under UO2 plant contributes to contamination at Cameco's Port Hope conversion plant
A leak was found under the UO2 (uranium dioxide) plant during its shutdown that has been contributing to the historical and recent contamination of the soils at Cameco's Port Hope Conversion Facility, general manager Andy Thorne told Port Hope council last night.
He said a yellow stain led to the discovery of the leak under the main sump near the eastern wall of the UO2 building and on Nov. 5, excavation took place to remove 17.5 cubic metres of contaminated soil.
(Northumberland Today Dec. 17, 2008)
> See also: Cameco: SEU Blending Project
> See also: Cameco Regulatory Initiatives - Port Hope
> See also: CNSC Environmental Assessment
> Download Cameco Project Proposal January 2003 (12M PDF - Cameco)
> Download Cameco Updated Project Proposal June 2003 (12M PDF - Cameco)
> Download Draft environmental assessment study report, June 2003 (85MB PDF; split file - Cameco)
> Download Final Environmental Assessment Study Report, November 2004 (97MB PDF; split file - Cameco)
Cameco abandons Slightly Enriched Uranium (SEU) blending project at Port Hope due to public concerns
On Sep. 23, 2005, Cameco Corporation announced that it will not proceed with the slightly enriched uranium dioxide (SEU) blending project at its Port Hope conversion facility. Public concerns about technical issues had delayed the project beyond schedule. Cameco will rather contract non-Canadian suppliers for the SEU blending services.
(Cameco Sep. 23, 2005)
CNSC cancels hearing on EA Screening Report - Proposal for Blending Slightly Enriched Uranium (SEU) at Port Hope
On Sep. 23, 2005, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) canceled a one-day public hearing scheduled for October 20, 2005, to consider the results of an Environmental Assessment Screening (EA Screening) of Cameco Corporation's (Cameco) proposal to produce commercial quantities of blended slightly enriched uranium dioxide (SEU), to process scrap in a scrap recovery circuit, and to produce blended dysprosium oxide and natural uranium dioxide (BDU) at its facility located in Port Hope, Ontario.
> Download Revised CNSC Notice of Public Hearing, Aug. 25, 2005 (PDF)
> Download Notice of Cancellation of Public Hearing, Sep. 23, 2005 (PDF)
CNSC issues Request for Public Comment on Draft Screening Report - Proposal for Blending Slightly Enriched Uranium (SEU) at Port Hope
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) invites
public comment on the Draft Screening Report concerning the
Environmental Assessment of Cameco's proposal to blend
slightly enriched uranium (SEU), blend dysprosium uranium
(BDU) and operate a scrap recovery circuit at its conversion
facility in Port Hope, Ontario.
> View CNSC Request for Comment May 11, 2005
Citizens' groups oppose proposed processing of enriched uranium at Port Hope
Newly formed citizens' group Families Against Radioactive Exposure (FARE) opposes Cameco's Slightly Enriched Uranium (SEU) Blending Project, since the Cameco site at Port Hope were prone to flooding, and flooding of the enriched uranium could present a criticality hazard.
(Toronto Star Sep. 18, 2004)
CNSC approves Environmental Assessment Guidelines for proposed blending circuits for new type of CANDU fuel
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), after holding a one-day public hearing on November 27, 2003, approved the Environmental Assessment Guidelines (EA Guidelines) for the proposed blending of Slightly Enriched Uranium (SEU) and Blended Dysprosium Uranium (BDU) at the Cameco Corporation Conversion Facility in Port Hope, Ontario.
> Download CNSC Notice (Sep. 9, 2003) (PDF)
> Download Nov. 27, 2003, Hearing Transcript (PDF)
> View CNSC release Jan. 8, 2003
> Download Record of Proceedings, including the Reasons for Decision, Jan. 8, 2004 (PDF)
CNSC invites public comment on proposed blending circuits for new type of CANDU fuel
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) invites public comment on the draft environmental assessment guidelines for the proposed blending of Slightly Enriched Uranium (SEU) and Blended Dysprosium Uranium (BDU) at the Cameco Corporation Conversion Facility in Port Hope, Ontario.
> View CNSC Request for Public Comment (Aug. 15, 2003)
> View Project Description
"In the production of UO2, an ammonium nitrate by-product solution is produced. The solution is treated to reduce uranium and radium
to levels less than 10 mgU/L and 370 mBq/L respectively. Each batch
of this by-product solution is analysed for uranium, radium and selected
heavy metals to ensure compliance with the AECB limits, and then released
to a local agricultural supply company for use as a fertilizer. Approximately
two million litres of solution is transferred every year for this purpose." (AECB BMD 99-123, Cameco Corporation - Port Hope - Renewal of Fuel Facility
Operating Licence AECB-FFOL-225-4, 1999-09-21)
2 million litres of this solution contain up to 20 kg of uranium.
> See also Port Granby Project (Low Level Radioactive Waste Management Office - LLRWMO)
CNSC to hold hearing on license for Port Granby waste management facility
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) will hold a one-day public hearing (September 27, 2011) to consider Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL)'s application for a licence for the Port Hope Area Initiative Port Granby Project. AECL is seeking a ten-year licence term to develop the new Long-Term Low-Level Radioactive Waste Facility and to complete the remediation of the existing Port Granby Waste Management Facility. The Port Granby Project intends on providing for the management of low-level radioactive waste currently located in Clarington, Ontario.
Requests to intervene must be filed by August 29, 2011.
> Download Notice of Public Hearing, July 11, 2011 (PDF)
> Download Revised Notice of Public Hearing, July 20, 2011 (PDF)
CNSC approves Environmental Assessment Screening Report for Port Granby waste management facility
Following a hearing held on August 17, 2009 in Ottawa, Ontario, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) announced today its decision that the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Office's (LLRMWO) proposed project to construct and operate the Port Granby long-term low-level radioactive waste management facility in the municipality of Clarington is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects, taking into account mitigation measures identified in the Environmental Assessment Screening Report.
The Commission can therefore proceed, under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, with its consideration of a licence application from the LLRWMO for the proposed project.
> View CNSC release Aug. 19, 2009
NRCan and CNSC invite public comment on draft screening report for Port Granby waste management facility
Natural Resources Canada and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission invite comments on the draft screening report for the proposed Port Granby Long-Term Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Project.
The public comment period for the Port Granby Project draft screening report will end on June 17, 2009.
> Download Natural Resources Canada Public Information Notice May 4, 2009 (PDF - CNSC)
> Download Draft Screening Report (withheld)
Concerns about leaking uranium conversion waste dump at Port Granby
The environmental group Lake Ontario Keeper raises concerns about toxic waste leaking from the Port Granby waste management facility into Lake Ontario. The Port Granby facility, located 15 km west of Port Hope, is holding wastes from the Port Hope uranium conversion plant.
> View Lake Ontario Keeper press release Aug. 27, 2001
> View report: Port Granby: Leaking radioactive hazardous waste site