Environment & Safety

In 2016, our Blind River Refinery celebrated 10 years of operation without a lost-time injury and received Cameco's top award for safety performance, the Mary-Jean Mitchel Green Award.  

Blind River has received this award eight times since 1990.

Safety

The Blind River refinery has an excellent safety record. The operation has systematic programs to identify, document and address risks and engage all workers and managers in development of a strong safety culture. These programs meet the international OHSAS 18001 and have delivered excellent safety performance.

Full-time equivalent dose

(mSv/yr)

  2015
Blind River 2.08 

Radiation Protection

Radiation risks are effectively managed at Blind River through a formal radiation protection program and dedicated personnel who ensure that workers are safe. 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 Blind River are far below regulatory limits.

Environmental Protection

Environmental protection at Blind River is assured through an ISO 14001-certified environmental management system. The system provides for systematic identification and mitigation of environmental risks and reduction and effective management of waste. Blind River has comprehensive environmental monitoring programs to ensure 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 December 2, 2016
Incident

Traffic accident involving uranium in transit from Blind River, Ontario to Port Hope, Ontario.

Details

A transport truck carrying uranium concentrate from Montreal to Cameco’s Blind River refinery was involved in a minor accident on the Trans-Canada Highway near West Nipissing, Ontario. There were no injuries and no damage to the truck or its load.

Corrective Action

Local police and CNSC were notified. The truck continued on to Blind River where the load was inspected. No damage was found.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating

N/A - not applicable

Read more >

Date December 2, 2016
Incident

Traffic accident involving uranium in transit from Blind River, Ontario to Port Hope, Ontario.

Details

A transport truck carrying uranium concentrate from Montreal to Cameco’s Blind River refinery was involved in a minor accident on the Trans-Canada Highway near West Nipissing, Ontario. There were no injuries and no damage to the truck or its load.  

Corrective Action

Local police and CNSC were notified. The truck continued on to Blind River where the load was inspected. No damage was found.  

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating

N/A - not applicable

 

Date April 17, 2016 
Incident

Traffic accident involving uranium in transit from Blind River, Ontario to Port Hope, Ontario.

Details

2:00 p.m. - UPDATE

The tractor trailer and the three U03 tote bins have been safely returned to the Blind River Refinery.  The tote bins will be transferred to a different trailer and transported to the Port Hope conversion facility later today.


At approximately 8:30 a.m., a tractor trailer transporting three tote bins of uranium trioxide (UO3) from the Blind River refinery to the Port Hope conversion facility was involved in a two-vehicle traffic accident on the TransCanada Highway (Highway 17) near Massey, Ontario. From initial reports, there appear to be no serious injuries to anyone involved in the accident. The robust tote bins performed as designed and the accident did not result in any release of uranium to the environment. Cameco has dispatched a team of technical experts including a radiation safety officer to the scene. The trailer will not be moved until the radiation safety officer confirms that there has been no release of material. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and Transport Canada have both been notified.

Corrective Action The transportation company is making repairs to the trailer so that the material can be safely transported back to Blind River
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.

Decommissioning

Detailed plans and financial guarantees are in place to restore the Blind River 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 Blind River refinment 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.