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 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

Read more

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

 

Date October 18, 2017
Incident Emergency Response Team (ERT) was activated to respond to a small fire in the UF6 plant.
Details

Emergency response team (ERT) was activated in response to a small fire and release of process off-gasses at the conversion facility. The fire was extinguished quickly by ERT members using fire extinguishers and plant safety systems worked effectively to contain the release. There was no environmental release and no one was injured. The Municipality of Port Hope and the CNSC have been notified.

Corrective Action

An investigation of the incident has been initiated.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

 

Date September 11, 2017
Incident High dust levels
Details

Air sampling stations near the Port Hope Conversion Facility recorded levels of total suspended particulate (dust) in the air above regulatory criteria for visibility on six days between September 11 and September 25, 2017. The uranium level in the samples was not elevated. There was no impact to employees, the community or the environment. The CNSC, the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change and Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Municipality of Port Hope were notified. ​

Corrective Action

Activity in the area was suspended while actions are implemented to mitigate any further dust from the roadway. 

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

 

Date May 5, 2017
Incident Small HF release contained within UF6 plant
Details

While preventative maintenance work was being conducted, a small amount of Hydrogen Fluoride (HF) fumes escaped from a transfer tank within the UF6 plant. Cameco’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) was activated. The plant’s safety systems activated and operated as designed to control the HF. 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 of the incident.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

 

Date May 2, 2017
Incident Reportable spill  
Details

Repair work to a building created an open excavation on the PHCF site. Following a heavy rainfall, contractors used a sump pump to remove rainwater from the excavation. The water was pumped from the site for approximately ten minutes and migrated to the adjacent harbour.

Corrective Action

Work was halted and 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 30, 2017
Incident Fire extinguishers were used to put out a small fire that occurred on insulation near a dryer heater in the UO2 plant.   
Details

Cameco’s emergency response team was activated to confirm there were no further traces of heat or fire. No employees were injured as a result of this event. There were no environmental impacts.

Corrective Action

Cameco is further investigating the incident. The CNSC was 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.