Environment & Safety

Safety

Cameco Fuel Manufacturing (CFM) 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)

  2016
CFM 1.9

Radiation Protection

Radiation risks are effectively managed at CFM 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 CFM are far below regulatory limits.

Environmental Protection

Environmental protection at CFM 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 24, 2016
Incident

Action Level Exceedance

Details

On October 24 results from CFM’s north air sampling location indicated emissions exceeded the facility’s action level. Three other sampling locations remain below the action level.

Action levels are set well below regulatory limits and intended to provide an early warning of potential issues and ensure radiation doses to members of the public remain as low as reasonably achievable. Exceedance of an action level does not pose a risk to employees, members of the public or the environment.

Corrective Action All other air emission data was reviewed with no anomalies found. Additional cleaning work was completed inside the plant as a precautionary measure. Improved measurement methods are being evaluated to increase the reliability of ‎data from this type of monitoring device. The CNSC was notified.
Cameco Environmental Effect Rating Not applicable

Read more

Date October 24, 2016
Incident

Action Level Exceedance

Details

On October 24 results from CFM’s north air sampling location indicated emissions exceeded the facility’s action level. Three other sampling locations remain below the action level.

Action levels are set well below regulatory limits and intended to provide an early warning of potential issues and ensure radiation doses to members of the public remain as low as reasonably achievable. Exceedance of an action level does not pose a risk to employees, members of the public or the environment.

Corrective Action All other air emission data was reviewed with no anomalies found.  Additional cleaning work was completed inside the plant as a precautionary measure. Improved measurement methods are being evaluated to increase the reliability of ‎data from this type of monitoring device. The CNSC was notified.
Cameco Environmental Effect Rating N/A

 

Date September 19 and 20, 2016 
Incident

Action Level Exceedance

Details

On September 19 and 20, the daily stack emissions from the process area had a concentration above the action level. Action levels, which are set well below regulatory limits, are intended to provide an early warning of potential issues and ensure radiation doses to members of the public remain as low as reasonably achievable. Exceedance of an action level does not pose a risk to employees, members of the public or the environment.  

Corrective Action The system was immediately shut down and the filter assembly was inspected and repaired. The CNSC was notified. 
Cameco Environmental Effect Rating N/A

 

Date July 11, 2016 
Incident

Internal release of diluted hydrofluoric acid solution

Details At approximately 2 p.m. while transferring a dilute acid solution, a line leading from the transfer pump failed. The pump was fully enclosed and the acid solution was directed into a containment system. The detector immediately above the pump triggered an alarm within our Cobourg facility. All safety systems worked as designed following the line failure. There was no release to the environment.
Corrective Action The Cobourg Fire Department was dispatched to the plant by an automated alarm monitoring system.  As a safety precaution, the fire department evacuated the building and six employees who were in closest proximity were taken to hospital for assessment. After examination at the hospital, the employees were released and will return to work July 12.
Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

 

Date June 15, 2016 
Incident

Improper packaging and transport of surface contaminated objects.

Details On June 15, 2016, obsolete duct work and related objects were received at the Port Hope conversion facility (PHCF) from Cameco Fuel Manufacturing’s (CFM) Port Hope facility. The material was to be decontaminated at PHCF prior to being released as scrap metal. On unloading the trailer, it was discovered that surface contamination levels exceeded regulatory levels for the method used to transport these objects. Based on the contamination level, the objects should have been packaged differently at CFM prior to loading onto the trailer in which they were transported. 
Corrective Action Operators at PHCF immediately identified the contamination and ensured there was no release to the environment. The trailer will be cleaned and checked for contamination before it will be allowed to leave PHCF. In accordance with Cameco’s corrective action process, an investigation will be initiated and the corrective actions identified implemented. 
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

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 ensure that sufficient funds are in place to restore CFM facilities to public use once the operation reaches the end of its productive life.

Environmental Assessment

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

Regulatory Oversight

CFM 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.