Environment

Combatting climate change

Our uranium is used around the world in the generation of safe, carbon-free, affordable, base-load nuclear energy.

There is growing recognition that uranium is the cleanest energy fuel in the world and of the role nuclear power must play in ensuring safe, reliable and affordable carbon-free electricity generation from key global agencies, such as the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The nuclear industry recognizes the scale and immediacy of the challenge outlined in the Paris Agreement, and the important role that all low-carbon and carbon-free energy sources have to play. Led by the World Nuclear Association, the nuclear industry has a program and vision for the future of electricity supply called “Harmony”. The Harmony program sets a target for nuclear power to provide 25% of electricity by 2050 to help avoid the worst consequences of climate change.

As members of the World Nuclear Association, and through participation in other industry organizations we fully support and are advocates of this initiative. We believe that the reduction of carbon and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is important and necessary in Canada and around the world, and that nuclear power must be a central part of the solution to the world’s shift to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy.

Protecting our local environment

As we seek to bring the benefits of carbon-free nuclear energy to the world, including the fight against climate change, we will do so in a manner that reflects our values. We are committed to identifying and addressing the environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities through every stage of our activities, including exploration, development, operations, tailings management, decommissioning and reclamation, that we believe may have a significant impact on our ability to add long-term value for our stakeholders.

We employ an integrated management system that applies to all phases and aspects of our business. The system is governed by one integrated Safety, Health, Environment and Quality (SHEQ) policy and is supported by multiple corporate SHEQ management programs.

We work in a highly-regulated industry and are subject to a complex set of international, national and provincial laws and requirements. These laws and requirements govern the licensing of our sites, environmental performance standards, decommissioning standards and activities, and the transportation and sale of our products. Our relationships with regulators are important and our compliance with all laws and requirements is itself indicative of a high standard of performance.

Cameco’s environmental management program is based on the International Organization for Standardization environmental management system (ISO 14001). We maintain ISO 14001 certification at a corporate level and have implemented comprehensive ISO 14001-certified environmental management systems across all our operating sites, which are supported by the corporate environmental management program. This program and systems outline the operating requirements sites must meet. Cameco’s operations are registered to this standard by an external registrar. Certification to the ISO 14001 standard is important as it is the world’s most widely-utilized and recognized environmental standard.

Our environmental management system encourages and promotes continuous adaptation of our practices based on new information and technologies, and provides all our sites with the following direction as it relates to environmental management:

  • establish objectives, targets and plans that are consistent with SHEQ policy, and that are based on identified significant environmental aspects
  • implement the plans
  • monitor and measure performance
  • continually improve on activities and controls to achieve the SHEQ policy commitments

We check our performance through monitoring corporate and site-specific key performance indicators, environmental monitoring programs and non-conformance corrective and preventative action programs. We use the information from all these programs to help us to identify opportunities to improve.

There are several important feedback processes within our SHEQ area. One of these is the SHEQ audit process. This process ensures we remain in compliance with regulatory requirements as well as internal Cameco requirements. The results of our audits are reported to senior management and the safety, health and environment committee of the board of directors. The outputs from our SHEQ processes feed into our annual strategic planning process and are reassessed, as necessary, in the risk process.

Our corrective action process is benchmarked to the nuclear power plant model and adapted for use at our operations. This process offers a consistent, systematic approach to recording, tracking and classifying the severity of all types of non-conformance with Cameco policies and standards, the laws and regulations of the jurisdictions we operate in, and the terms and requirements of our operating licences. It allows us to systematically investigate accidents and other incidents, identify effective corrective actions, track their implementation, and share information across Cameco’s operations.

Learn more about environmental management at our Canadian operations from:

Environment and safety at our uranium operations Environment and safety at our fuel services business

See Our 2019 Performance for Environment GRI Indicators