- July 15, 2013: On Thursday, July 4th, Cameco reported to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) that there was an exceedance of a monthly action level for fenceline gamma radiation at one of its 18 monitoring locations at the Port Hope Uranium Conversion Facility (PHCF). Action levels are established to provide early warning to the operator to prevent an exceedance of licence release limits. Cameco has since removed the source of radiation and put in place increased monitoring at the location of the event. CNSC staff reviewed this event as part of a scheduled inspection on July 8th, 2013. CNSC staff is satisfied with the interim corrective actions put in place by PHCF. There is no impact to the public or the environment due to this event. The radiation dose to the public remains well below the regulatory limit of 1 mSv/year. For more information, read Cameco’s reportFor more information (Source: Cameco). (Source: Cameco)
- March 14, 2013: The CNSC has been published in the February edition of the British Medical Journal Open, outlining the results of one of the largest cohort studies on workers exposed to radium, uranium and γ-ray doses. In this published article, the CNSC and its collaborators presented the results of a study that looked at new cancer cases and deaths from uranium and radium processing workers in the Port Hope community. Overall, workers had lower mortality and cancer incidence compared with the general Canadian population. Read the technical abstract: Mortality (1950-1999) and Cancer Incidence (1969-1999) Of Workers in the Port Hope Cohort Study Exposed to a Unique Combination of Radium, Uranium and Gamma-Ray Doses.
- March 5, 2013: The CNSC, in collaboration with Health Canada, has been published in the March 2013 edition of the Journal of Radiological Protection. In the published article, the authors presented the results of a study that looked at new cancer cases in the Port Hope community from 1992 to 2007. The study did not find any differences in cancer incidence in Port Hope compared to other similar communities and the general population. These findings are consistent with previous studies conducted in Port Hope and studies conducted elsewhere on populations living around similar facilities with similar environmental contaminants. Read the technical abstract: An ecological study of cancer incidence in Port Hope, Ontario from 1992 to 2007.
- January 31, 2012: Cameco Fuel Manufacturing updates employee dose assignments (source: Cameco)
- November 15, 2012: Following a public hearing held on October 24, 2012, in Ottawa, Ontario, the CNSC announced its decision to authorize AECL to proceed with Phase II of the Port Hope Long-Term Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Project, and to extend the licence expiry date to December 31, 2022.
- September 10, 2012: On Saturday, September 8th, Cameco reported to CNSC and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment that there was an incident of uranium contamination spill from a solid waste storage bag on the premises of the Port Hope Conversion Facility. Due to heavy rainfall that day, some contamination may have entered the harbour through the stormwater drainage system, before it was contained and cleaned-up. Early analysis has indicated that this incident has not impacted the surrounding environment and there has been no risk to the general public. Nevertheless, Cameco is required to investigate the causes of the spill and take actions to prevent re-occurrence. read Cameco’s reportFor more information (Source: Cameco)
- August 27, 2012: CNSC staff received notification from Cameco Fuel Manufacturing Inc. (CFM) of an unusual event at their facility on August 21, 2012. There was a localized spill of uranium dioxide powder at one of the transfer stations within the facility that resulted in one worker being exposed to uranium and three other workers potentially exposed during cleanup. The worker was wearing personal protective equipment, and was examined by medical personnel immediately. Early urinalysis tests on all four workers do not indicate abnormal results, however they were temporarily re-assigned as a precautionary measure. There was no risk to the surrounding environment and the general public as a result of this event. Recognizing the health and safety significance of this incident to workers, CNSC staff is monitoring CFM's response and subsequent investigation of this incident, and will follow-up through our planned compliance verification program.
- September 22, 2011: Port Hope Open House on the Environmental Assessmentfor the Redevelopment of the Port Hope Conversion Facility (Vision 2010)
- April 19, 2011: Update to regulatory action issued to all Class I facilities and uranium mines and mills in Canada
- March 22, 2011: CNSC request to all Class I nuclear facilities and uranium mines and mills in Canada pursuant to subsection 12(2) of the General Nuclear Safety and Control Regulations
- March 7, 2011: Cameco reported to the CNSC a minor incident at the Port Hope Conversion Facility on February 11, 2011, that resulted in a lost time injury. An employee sustained minor injuries following an acid spill inside the UF6 plant and has returned to work. There were no releases to the environment, nor impact to the general public. CNSC staff have conducted a detailed follow-up on this event and continue to monitor the progress of the Cameco investigation. CNSC's project officers and inspectors are engaged in the regulatory oversight of the Conversion Facility throughout the year. The matter will be discussed at the Commission’s next regularly scheduled meeting on March 30, 2011.
- February 11, 2011: The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) will be holding a one-day information session at the Capitol Theatre located at 20 Queen Street, in Port Hope, Ontario on March 10, 2011.
- October 20, 2010: As part of the Port Hope trial resurvey and remediation project in Port Hope, private properties have been selected for clean-up by the Port Hope Initiative Management Office. The CNSC will actively verify processes and procedures developed by Atomic Energy Canada Limited (AECL) and the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Office (LLRWMO) for the soil remediation activities of properties in the Port Hope Area. CNSC staff will perform on site verification of the trial remediation to ensure the work is completed safely in accordance with the methods and procedures proposed by AECL, and to confirm that the properties have been cleaned up in a satisfactory manner.
Read more about the Port Hope Project and the trial resurvey and remediation project:
- The Port Hope Project (source: PHAI Web site)
- The Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Office Web site
- August 12, 2010: Slow release of refrigerant to the harbour at theCameco UF6 plant in Port Hope, Ontario. The CNSC is satisfied that this loss of refrigerant has not resultedin any immediate impact on the surrounding environment and the generalpublic.
- March 1, 2010: Government of Canada commits to long-term low-level radioactive waste containment facility in Port Hope (source: Public Works and Government Services Canada Web site)
- October 16, 2009: CNSC Announces Decision to Issue a Waste Nuclear Substance Licence for the Long-Term Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Project in Port Hope, Ontario
- October 8, 2009: CNSC monitoring water pooling caused by damaged pipeline during pipeline replacement project at Welcome Waste Facility
- September 23, 2009: Welcome Waste Facility pipeline replacement project begins
- Read Commission transcripts of the August 26, 2009 public hearing on the application by AECL for a WasteNuclear Substance Licence to operate a long-term low-level wastemanagement facility in Port Hope
- CNSCAnnounces its Decision on the Screening Environmental Assessment for thePort Granby Proposed Long-Term Low-Level Radioactive Waste ManagementProject in Clarington, Ontario
Find out more about health and environmental issues in the Port Hope area:
- Port Hope Health Studies Report: Read CNSC’s report on Understanding Health Studies and Risk Assessments conducted in the Port Hope Community from the 1950s to the Present and find information related to this report.
- Cameco’s Vision 2010 Project: Environmental assessment to proceed as a comprehensive study.
- Regulatory Action: Read CNSC’s requests to Cameco Corporation related to discharges from the Welcome and Port Granby waste management facilities.
- Commission Tribunal Information: Read Commission transcripts and Records of Decision from Hearings and Meetings related to facilities in the Port Hope area.
- Letters: Read letters from Port Hope residents to the CNSC and CNSC responses, as well as other letters.
- Port Hope Area Initiative: Read more about the cleanup and the safe long-term management of historiclow-level radioactive waste in Port Hope and Clarington, Ontario.
Nuclear facilities in Port Hope
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) regulates numerous nuclear facilities in the vicinity of Port Hope, Ontario.
Uranium conversion facility
Cameco Corporation's Port Hope Uranium Conversion Facility is a nuclear substance processing facility licensed to process uranium trioxide into both uranium dioxide (UO 2) and uranium hexafluoride (UF6). UO 2 is used to manufacture fuel for power reactors in Canada, while UF 6 is exported to companies in other countries for enrichment and fabrication into fuel for nuclear power reactors around the world.
Nuclear fuel facility
The Port Hope Nuclear Fuel Facility is a nuclear fuel fabrication facility that manufactures nuclear fuel bundles for power reactors in Canada.It is owned and operated by Cameco Fuel Manufacturing Inc. (formerly Zircatec Precision Industries).
Read more about these Cameco uranium conversion and nuclear fuel facilities and about Cameco’s involvement in the Port Hope community.
Radioactive waste management facilities
The Port Hope Radioactive Waste Management Facility comprises three separate sites within the Municipality of Port Hope.These are the Strachan Street Ravine consolidation site, the Pine Street Extension consolidation site and the Sewage Treatment Plant Temporary Storage Site. These sites no longer receive radioactive waste, and are in a storage-with-surveillance mode. They are overseen by the Government of Canada's Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Office.
The Pine Street Extension Temporary Storage Site is a radioactive waste management site which is licensed to receive historic radioactive waste from construction activities within the municipality. This facility is also run by the Government of Canada's Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Office.
The Welcome Waste Management Facility in Port Hope is owned and operated by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited and the Port Granby Waste Management Facility, located in nearby Clarington, is owned and operated by Cameco Corporation. These facilities, which house low-level wastes and contaminatedsoils, no longer receive new wastes. Their long-term management will beaddressed by the Port Hope Area Initiative.
In November 2008, regulatory action was taken when CNSC staff sent two Requests for Information letters to Cameco asking them to provide the CNSC with a characterization of the current effluent discharge and a review of its effluent treatment and pipeline design for the Welcome Waste and Port Granby Management Facilities. ]
CNSC personnel routinely inspect and evaluate nuclear facilities in the Port Hope area to verify compliance with regulatory requirements and licence conditions. They also visit Port Hope to inform the public, community members and other interested parties of current and upcoming issues related to regulation of the licensed facilities.
About 45 km west of Port Hope is the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station in Bowmanville, Ontario.