Environment & Safety

Safety

The Port Hope conversion facility has an excellent safety record. The operation has systematic programs to identify, evaluate and mitigate risks and engage all workers and managers in development of a strong safety culture. These programs follow the international OHSAS 18001 model and have delivered excellent safety performance.

Full-time equivalent dose

(mSv/yr)

  2017
Port Hope Conversion Facility 1.05 

Radiation Protection

Radiation risks are effectively managed at the Port Hope conversion facility through a formal radiation protection program and dedicated personnel who ensure that doses to workers are as low as reasonably achievable. The program ensures that radiation protection is considered in the physical design of all facilities and operating procedures. It also provides for systematic monitoring of radiation in work areas and tracking the exposures of individual workers using a combination of monitoring devices and health testing. Radiation exposures at the facility are far below regulatory limits.

Environmental Protection

Environmental protection at the Port Hope conversion facility is assured through an ISO 14001-certified environmental management system. These programs ensure that the environmental aspects associated with the facilities are systematically identified and controlled. Comprehensive environmental monitoring ensures that emissions to air and water are kept as low as reasonably achievable and well below regulatory limits.

Environmental Incidents and Other Events​​

Environmental incidents and other events are reported to regulatory agencies as required by federal and provincial regulations. This includes releases to the environment reportable to Ontario Ministry of Environment's Spills Action Centre.

Latest incident or event:

Date October 4, 2019
Incident

ERT Activation

Details

The on-site Emergency Response Team was activated as a result of a small fluorine leak being detected inside the UF6 plant. The source of the fluorine was identified and has been isolated and controlled. The plant’s safety systems worked as designed and mitigated impacts to the environment. There was no health or safety risk posed to the public or environment.

Corrective Action

Cameco is investigating the incident further. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the Municipality of Port Hope were notified.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

Read more

Date October 4, 2019
Incident

ERT Activation

Details

The on-site Emergency Response Team was activated as a result of a small fluorine leak being detected inside the UF6 plant. The source of the fluorine was identified and has been isolated and controlled.  The plant’s safety systems worked as designed and mitigated impacts to the environment. There was no health or safety risk posed to the public or environment.

Corrective Action

Cameco is investigating the incident further. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the Municipality of Port Hope were notified.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

 

Date July 27, 2019
Incident

Reportable Spill

Details

While flushing a new condensate line using town water, a loose connection resulted in the release of municipal potable water onto the roof. Approximately 55L of this water entered the storm drain and into the storm water system, which drains directly to the harbour adjacent to the Port Hope conversion facility. There was no health or safety risk posed to the public or environment.

Corrective Action

The line was contained to prevent further releases to the storm water system. Cameco is investigating the incident further. Cameco notified the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Environment & Climate Change Canada, Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks, and the Municipality of Port Hope.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

 

Date July 22, 2019
Incident

Environmental Action Level Met or Exceeded

Details

The daily sanitary sewer discharge value met or exceeded the uranium sanitary sewer action level of 100 µg/L on July 17 and 18. There was no health or safety risk posed to the public, workers or the environment.

Corrective Action

Repairs to the sanitary sewer system are planned for later this year to reduce groundwater infiltration into the sanitary sewer system which is the likely cause of these exceedences. Cameco notified the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the Municipality of Port Hope.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

 

Date July 17, 2019
Incident

Reportable Spill and ERT Response

Details

Heavy rain caused localized water inflow at the conversion facility. Cameco’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) was activated. As part of the response, water was pumped into totes to prevent further release of water from the building. There is no adverse environmental impact or injuries from the event and the emergency response team performed as designed.

Corrective Action

Samples of the water have been collected and results are pending. Cameco is investigating the incident further. Cameco notified the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks, and the Municipality of Port Hope.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

 

Date July 8, 2019
Incident

Environmental Action Level Met

Details

The daily sanitary sewer discharge value met the uranium sanitary sewer action level of 100 µg/L on July 4, 2019. There was no health or safety risk posed to the public, workers or the environment.

Corrective Action

Repairs to the sanitary sewer system are planned for later this year to reduce groundwater infiltration into the sanitary sewer system which is the likely cause of these exceedences. Cameco notified the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the Municipality of Port Hope.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

 

Date July 1, 2019
Incident

Environmental Action Level Exceedance

Details

The 24 hour Fluoride emission value for July 1, 2019 at the UF6 plant slightly exceeded the action level of 230 g/hr (HF). There was no health or safety risk posed to the public, workers or the environment.

Corrective Action

After Cameco identified that the action level was exceeded, Cameco followed the applicable procedure and safely shutdown the UF6 plant in order to determine the likely cause. In accordance with corrective action process, Cameco is investigating the incident. Cameco notified the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the Municipality of Port Hope.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

 

Date July 1, 2019
Incident

Environmental Action Level Exceedance

Details

The daily sanitary sewer discharge value met or exceeded the uranium sanitary sewer action level of 100 µg/L on June 22. There was no health or safety risk posed to the public, workers or the environment.

Corrective Action

Repairs to the sanitary sewer system are planned for later this year to reduce groundwater infiltration into the sanitary sewer system which is the likely cause of these exceedences. Cameco notified the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the Municipality of Port Hope.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

 

Date June 27, 2019
Incident

Environmental Action Level Exceedance

Details

The daily sanitary sewer discharge value met or exceeded the uranium sanitary sewer action level of 100 µg/L on June 22. There was no health or safety risk posed to the public, workers or the environment.

Corrective Action

Repairs to the sanitary sewer system are planned for later this year to reduce groundwater infiltration into the sanitary sewer system which is the likely cause of these exceedences. Cameco notified the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the Municipality of Port Hope.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

 

Date June 22, 2019
Incident

Environmental Action Level Exceedance

Details

The daily sanitary sewer discharge value met or exceeded the uranium sanitary sewer action level of 100 µg/L on June 22. There was no health or safety risk posed to the public, workers or the environment.

Corrective Action

Repairs to the sanitary sewer system are planned for later this year to reduce groundwater infiltration into the sanitary sewer system which is the likely cause of these exceedences. Cameco notified the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the Municipality of Port Hope.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

 

Date June 21, 2019
Incident Reportable Spill 
Details

A steam condensate release occurred from an exterior piperack. An estimated 6L of clean condensate entered the storm sewer system that drains to the harbour adjacent to the Port Hope conversion facility. There was no health or safety risk posed to the public or environment.

Corrective Action

The steam lines involved were isolated and Cameco is investigating the incident further. Cameco notified the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Environment & Climate Change Canada, Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks, and the Municipality of Port Hope.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

 

Date June 18, 2019
Incident Reportable Spill 
Details

A failure of the underground sanitary sewage piping system led to sanitary sewage pooling in the central area of the Cameco yard. The sanitary sewage flowed to a nearby storm sewer inlet that releases to the Port Hope Harbour.   

Corrective Action

The sanitary sewage system and the storm drain in the vicinity of the spill were isolated and a temporary repair has been completed. Further permanent repairs are planned for the short term. Cameco notified the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, and the Municipality of Port Hope.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

 

Date June 1, 2019
Incident Environmental Action Level Exceedance
Details

The daily sanitary sewer discharge value met or exceeded the uranium sanitary sewer action level of 100 µg/L on June 5, 6, 7 and 8.

There was no health or safety risk posed to the public, workers or the environment.

Corrective Action

Cameco is continuing to conduct additional sampling and is investigating the incident further. Repairs to the sanitary sewer system are planned for later this year to reduce groundwater infiltration into the sanitary sewer system which is the likely cause of these exceedences.  Cameco notified the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the Municipality of Port Hope.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

 

Date June 3, 2019
Incident Environmental Action Level Met
Details

The daily sanitary sewer discharge value met the uranium sanitary sewer action level of 100 µg/L on May 26.

There was no health or safety risk posed to the public, workers or the environment.

Corrective Action

Cameco is conducting additional sampling and is investigating the incident further. Cameco notified the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the Municipality of Port Hope.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

 

Date May 22, 2019
Incident Environmental Action Level Exceedance 
Details

The daily sanitary sewer discharge value either met or exceeded the uranium sanitary sewer action level of 100 µg/L for May 12, 13, 15 and 16.

There was no health or safety risk posed to the public, workers or the environment.

Corrective Action

Cameco is conducting additional sampling and is investigating the incident further. Cameco notified the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the Municipality of Port Hope.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

 

Date May 10, 2019
Incident Environmental Action Level Exceedance 
Details

An air sampling station near the Port Hope Conversion Facility recorded levels of total suspended particulate (dust) in the air slightly above regulatory criteria on May 8-9.

There was no health or safety risk posed to the public, workers or the environment.

Corrective Action

Cameco is investigating the incident further. Cameco notified the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks, Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Municipality of Port Hope.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

 

Date May 8, 2019
Incident Reportable spill
Details

A steam condensate leak occurred from an exterior piperack. An estimated 54L of clean condensate entered the storm sewer system which drains to the harbour adjacent to the Port Hope conversion facility. There was no health or safety risk posed to the public or environment.

Corrective Action

The steam lines involved were isolated and Cameco is investigating the incident further. Cameco notified the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Environment & Climate Change Canada, Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks, and the Municipality of Port Hope.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

 

Date March 28, 2019
Incident Small Fire Quickly Extinguished at Port Hope Conversion Facility
Details

At approximately 4:30 a.m. Cameco’s Port Hope Conversion Facility experienced a small fire on a flow meter that was quickly extinguished. Cameco’s Emergency Response Team responded as precautionary measure and verified that the fire was extinguished. There was no health or safety risk posed to the public or environment and operations continue as normal.

Corrective Action

Cameco is further investigating the incident. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission  and the Municipality of Port Hope were notified.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

 

Date August 8, 2018
Incident Reportable Spill and ERT Response
Details

Heavy rain caused localized flooding at the conversion facility in the vicinity of the waste processing facility.  Cameco’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) was activated. To prevent rainwater from making contact with electrical systems and posing a safety hazard, rainwater that had entered an electrical room was redirected to the ground outside.  There were no injuries and no impact to the environment.

Corrective Action

Cameco is further investigating the incident. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the Spills Action Centre and the Municipality of Port Hope were notified.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

 

Date April 18, 2018
Incident HF fumes contained within UF6 plant
Details

While Hydrogen Fluoride (HF) was being unloaded a small amount of fumes escaped from a connecting valve. The plant’s safety systems activated and operated as designed to control the HF and the fumes were contained in the plant. Cameco’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) was activated. There were no injuries and no impact to the environment.

Corrective Action

Cameco is further investigating the incident. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission was notified.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

 

Date January 11, 2018
Incident Groundwater release
Details

Due to fluctuating weather conditions,  a transfer pipe was damaged and released a small amount of groundwater to the storm water system which drains to the harbour adjacent to the Port Hope conversion facility. The duration of the leak was less than one hour.

Corrective Action

Pumping wells were shut off to halt groundwater flow through the pipe. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change and the Municipality of Port Hope were notified. 

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating

  • Level 1 - no measurable impact to the environment
  • Level 2 - negligible impact
  • Level 3 - short-term, seasonal impact
  • Level 4 - mortality of some species, but not affecting ecosystem function
  • Level 5 - impairment of ecosystem function
  • N/A - not applicable

Notes

  1. 1

    Includes all releases to the environment reportable to Ontario Ministry of Environment's Spills Action Centre and other significant events.

Waste Management

Solid wastes contaminated by uranium are reprocessed, recycled and re-used to the extent possible. Waste materials that cannot be reprocessed, recycled or re-used are safely stored on site until appropriate disposal options are available.

Wastes generated at the facility are segregated at the point of generation into contaminated and non-contaminated. Non-contaminated waste is either recycled or transferred to a suitable facility. Contaminated waste is stored in appropriate containers pending assessment of recycling or disposal options.

Decommissioning

Detailed plans and financial guarantees are in place to restore the conversion facility site to public use once the facility reaches the end of its productive life.

Environmental Assessment

All new significant changes to existing operations are subject to environmental assessments to identify potential effects on the environment.

Regulatory Oversight

The Port Hope conversion facility is licensed and regulated by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). The operation is also subject to other federal and provincial regulations for the protection of people and the environment, including by Environment Canada and Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment. Federal and provincial regulators conduct regular site inspections and audits to verify that people and the environment are protected.