Cameco still looking for preferred option for redevelopment

Northumberland Today: Joyce Cassin - January 6th, 2010

It’s 2010 and Cameco’s Vision 2010 is still in the works, says senior communications specialist Doug Prendergast.

“We expect to continue to work to finalize the preferred option for redevelopment of the Cameco conversion facility site,” Prenderg a s t said.

The company is currently working on technical studies and reviews as part of the environmental assessment that is underway, he says.

And they’re looking at affordable and sustainable solutions for the future and addressing longstanding issues, he says, such as the historical waste from Eldorado and remediation of the historical subsurface contamination.

“We do not have a preferred option to announce,” Prendergast said. “We want to find the one that makes the most sense, is affordable and incorporates community input.”

He says a number of options have been presented to the public and, armed with public input, Cameco will make the final decision.

“We do expect it will occur at some point this year,” said Prendergast. “We want to ensure we make the right decision.”

The remediation component of the plan is still on track, but he says it was made clear early in 2009 that Cameco had to take a look at costs due to the economic situation, and that other things might change with the Vision 2010 plan.

Cameco Vision 2010 is a plan to clean up, modernize, and improve the appearance of the Port Hope conversion facility. This is a large, long-term investment in Port Hope that builds on work now underway through the Port Hope Area Initiative to address historical low-level waste issues.

It includes removal and long-term storage of 150,000 cubic metres of inherited waste materials, removal of some of the site’s 30 buildings and construction of new buildings to improve the look and efficiency of the site.

Historical waste continues to be stored on Cameco’s Port Hope property in a safe condition, says Prendergast. But they’re continuing to explore options as to where it may be disposed of.

Contaminated waste from the July 13, 2007 uranium hexafluoride leak also continues to be stored at the conversion facility.

Ownership of the Marsh Road long-term low-level waste facility will be transferred later this year, says Prendergast.

“Cameco continues to work with the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI), moving toward the transition of ownership,” said Prendergast. “We don’t have a date yet, but it will be this year.”

He says there are a number of details to be worked out between the PHAI and Cameco, but the former Bailey property that is part of the transfer of lands has been vacated and the buildings have been demolished.

The pipeline from the Welcome waste site has been installed and the project completed and in full operation other than a few housekeeping matters such as fencing, he says.

“In the past, the pipeline had concrete slabs over it (at the shoreline),” said Prendergast.

“The new one is under the shoreline bed and is not readily visible from the shoreline.”

No physical work can begin on Vision 2010 until the groundwork is complete, and it is intended to coincide with the completion of the PHAI’s Welcome waste facility, when they will be ready to accept Cameco’s contaminated waste, he says.