Learn how uranium is mined, milled and processed at Cameco
In Uranium Part 2 - watch how uranium is turned into fuel at our fuel manufacturing facilities in Ontario.
Video courtesy of How It's Made, a Discovery Communications, Science Channel program
Cameco is a prominent supplier of uranium processing services required to produce fuel for the generation of clean electricity. We operate the world's largest commercial refinery in Blind River, have about 25% of the world UF6 primary conversion capacity in Port Hope, and are a leading manufacturer of fuel assemblies and reactor components for CANDU reactors at our facilities in Port Hope and Cobourg.
Our focus is on cost-competitiveness and operational efficiency. We offer a range of products and services to customers helping us broaden our business relationships and expand our uranium market share.
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2020 Q2 Update
Fuel services produced 2.7 million kgU in the second quarter, 31% lower than the same period last year as a result of the temporary suspension due to precautions for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Temporary suspensions due to COVID-19
On April 8, 2020, due to the increasing challenges of maintaining an adequate workforce as a result of the COVID-19 screening protocols put in place to align with the directives and guidance of government and public health authorities, we announced our plans to temporarily shutdown our UF6 conversion plant for approximately four weeks. The UF6 plant is a complex operation, designed to run as a continuous process without interruptions in production.
Since the majority of the UO3 produced at the Blind River refinery is used to produce UF6 at the conversion plant, we also announced the temporary suspension of production at the refinery. We were successful in advancing a portion of the summer maintenance work scheduled for both facilities.
On May 11, 2020, we announced the restart of production at Port Hope conversion facility’s UF6 plant and at the Blind River refinery. Both operations were restarted the week of May 18, 2020 and achieved full production levels by the week of May 25, 2020. Due to the temporary suspension of production we are now expecting to produce between 11 million and 12 million kgU in 2020 (previously between 13 million and 14 million kgU). In addition, we incurred $9 million in care and maintenance costs.
UO2 production at the conversion facility, as well as fuel pellet and fuel bundle production at CFM continued to operate safely during the period. The UO2 and CFM facilities are important links in the supply chain for Canada’s nuclear energy sector and these plants are designed and operated to shut down and start up every week. Although they may experience workforce fluctuations in conjunction with ongoing circumstances, they are better able to adapt quickly to changes in staffing levels and more frequent starts and stops in production if required.
Cameco's Blind River operation is the world's largest uranium refinery producing an intermediate product in the nuclear fuel cycle.
The Port Hope Conversion Facility provides uranium dioxide (UO2) and uranium hexafluoride (UF6) conversion services for nuclear operators around the world.
Cameco Fuel Manufacturing produces fuel bundles for CANDU reactors and also provides reactor components and consulting services to CANDU operators around the world.