Cameco Fuel Services
Uranium must be processed before it can be used to generate electricity. The transformation from ore in the ground to nuclear fuel is described as the nuclear fuel cycle.
The major stages in producing fuel for Candu reactors from mined and milled uranium are:
- fuel manufacturing
Cameco is active in each of these areas through its Ontario fuel services operations. We also convert uranium to a product called UF6 which is the feedstock for enrichment plants that process uranium for light water reactors.
The Blind River refinery is the largest of its kind in the world and has been in operation since 1983.
Uranium concentrates from mines around the world are shipped to Blind River where they are refined into uranium trioxide (UO3), an intermediate product in the uranium conversion process. This product is then shipped to our Port Hope conversion facility or Springfields Fuels Ltd. in the UK for further processing.
The refinery provides employment for approximately 160 people.
Cameco operates Canada's only uranium conversion facilities at Port Hope, Ontario. Our Port Hope conversion plants chemically change the UO3 from Blind River into either uranium hexafluoride (UF6) or uranium dioxide (UO2).
Cameco's conversion operations employ approximately 375 people. The conversion facility site is also home to Cameco's Innovation and Technology Development Research Centre, which employs approximately 30 people.
Cameco is one of only two fuel manufacturers serving Canada's reactor fleet.
We operate a facility at Cobourg, Ontario that fabricates zirconium tubing and other specialized components, and a nuclear fuel fabrication plant at Port Hope where UO2 is prepared and assembled into reactor-ready fuel bundles.
Approximately 340 people are employed in fuel manufacturing.