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March 22, 2011
Subsequent to the initial report and update information below, all of the sea containers have been safely removed from the Altona and are now back at the Key Lake mill in Saskatchewan.
February 24, 2011
Subsequent to the initial report and update information below, Cameco's remediation plan has now been approved by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Transport Canada and Port Metro Vancouver. Uranium recovery activities on the Altona will take place at the Port of Vancouver and will begin immediately. The company expects work on the Altona will continue over the coming weeks.
January 20, 2011
Subsequent to the information below, the MCP Altona has docked at the Port of Vancouver to replenish fuel and supplies. Cameco is working with government agencies to finalize plans for a full remediation of the ship's hold and determine the location where this will occur. All the uranium remains safely confined within the ship's hold and the hold will remain sealed and locked until remediation activities commence.
January 18, 2011
Subsequent to the initial report and update information below, Cameco's assessment team was able to view a section of the cargo hold of the container ship MCP Altona. It now appears a number of the sea containers that held drums of uranium concentrate have been damaged and our team has confirmed there is some loose uranium in the hold. All the uranium remains safely confined within the ship's hold. We are continuing to work with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and Transport Canada to finalize the remediation plan and determine the best location to implement the plan.
January 16, 2011
Subsequent to the information below, the ship has anchored at Ladysmith, British Columbia, where a team from Cameco has commenced preliminary assessment work in preparation to enter the ship's hold. Once the extent of the remediation work has been determined, Cameco will work with Transport Canada to finalize a location where the cargo will be cleaned up, repackaged and shipped on to its original destination.
January 14, 2011
A cargo ship carrying Cameco's uranium concentrate (U3O8) left Vancouver on December 23, 2010 and encountered severe weather conditions en route to China. The ship continued to operate normally through the storm and there were no injuries to the crew.
On January 3, 2011 Cameco was notified that sea containers, loaded with drums filled with uranium concentrate, had shifted and two opened drums were outside of their sea container. All the uranium is safely sealed off in one of the ship's cargo holds, the crew is safe and the environment is protected. At the time, the ship was between Hawaii and Midway Islands.
On Cameco's recommendation, the ship is returning to British Columbia where a team from Cameco is positioned to assess, secure and remediate the cargo.
Uranium concentrate is generally handled the same as other heavy metals such as lead. Information on uranium concentrate is available here.
The procedure for cleaning up uranium concentrate is similar to other routine industrial chemicals. The radiation and chemical risks are reduced by limiting the time of direct exposure and avoiding inhalation and ingestion. Radiation from uranium concentrate is quite low and is well below natural background levels four to five metres from a drum.
For more information contact Rob Gereghty at (306) 956-6190.