ONTARIO – Saskatoon-based CAMECO CORP. says that during a construction project it discovered uranium and evidence of other production-associated chemicals in the soil beneath its Port Hope uranium hexafluoride conversion plant. The affected area appears to be within and near the perimeter walls of the plant. The company has closed the plant while a thorough investigation is conducted.
Hexafluoride production will be suspended for at least two months, but Cameco says it will meet scheduled deliveries for the rest of the year based on existing inventory. Production of uranium dioxide and other activities at the site are not affected by the shutdown. The plant employs 420 people, and no layoffs are expected.
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. This provides ample time to address, contain and mitigate the affected area. 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.
The company’s website is at www.Cameco.com.