Cameco and PHAI Update the Public on Vision in Motion and the Port Hope Waterfront
Port Hope, September 27, 2016
Nearly 90 people packed the Cameco Capitol Arts Centre Sculthorpe Theatre on September 26 to hear Cameco and the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI) give an update on the waterfront area cleanup and renewal project. While many technical details were discussed, the strong sense of teamwork and collaboration between the two organizations was at the forefront of the presentation.
Craig Hebert, general manager of the Port Hope Area Initiative, and Dale Clark, vice-president Cameco Fuel Services Division, began the meeting with a high level overview of the project.
"The Port Hope Area Initiative is Canada’s commitment to clean up and safely manage historic low-level radioactive waste resulting from the refining processes of the former Eldorado Nuclear Limited, which operated from 1933 to 1988 on the Port Hope waterfront," explained Craig. "The cleanup is based on a community-recommended solution, and local stakeholders, including residents, remain very involved in the implementation of the project."
Under the PHAI’s Port Hope Project, waste from various sites in Port Hope, including the waterfront area, will be safely stored in a long-term waste management facility, currently under construction. The facility’s engineered aboveground mound will accommodate approximately 1.2 million cubic metres of history waste and includes space for 150,000 cubic metres of pre-1988 Eldorado decommissioning waste material currently in storage on Cameco property. The PHAI and Cameco will coordinate work on the removal and storage of that waste.
Dale then gave an overview of Cameco’s Vision in Motion project, which will see some substantial changes to the Port Hope conversion facility site, and how that fits in with the remediation process.
Though federal government funding of just over $1 billion has been committed to the PHAI for the completion of the Port Hope Project, it was clarified at the meeting that Cameco is paying for all of the work and modifications that will take place on Cameco property. Speaking on the project, Dale said it represents a very significant private, industrial investment in the town, perhaps the largest in Port Hope’s history.
"We are committed to it because we see these as tremendous benefits, both for Cameco and for our community," said Dale. "This is an opportunity to remove a very large amount of legacy waste material and really improve our property overall; in appearance and efficiency. And we see it as an exciting opportunity to improve the Port Hope waterfront, which we are committed to doing with close cooperation with the Port Hope Area Initiative and the Municipality of Port Hope."
Shane Watson, Cameco’s Vision in Motion project manager, and Glenn Case, PHAI senior technical advisor, teamed up to give the audience a more in-depth look at how the work will be carried out and which organization will be responsible for each element of the remediation.
Clean-up work is expected to begin in 2018, once the PHAI’s long-term waste management facility in Port Hope is ready to receive waste. During the centre pier remediation, the PHAI will remove historic waste from the temporary storage site on the pier, and Cameco will remove the drummed waste currently stored in one of the centre pier buildings. Cameco will then demolish the buildings. The contaminated material will be safely transported along designated truck routes to the waste management facility, where it will be managed and monitored for hundreds of years into the future.
The PHAI will then complete significant work in the harbour, replacing or upgrading the harbour walls, and then remediating approximately 120,000 cubic metres of contaminated sediment from the harbour.
"Some people have heard we’re going to drain the harbour," said Glenn. "That is incorrect. The water will stay in place, but we will put a wave attenuation system at the mouth of the approach channel to isolate the harbour water, allowing us to do the work in a controlled environment."
The contaminated sediment will be dredged up from the bottom of the harbour and placed in Geotubes - essentially giant permeable bags - on the centre pier. The water will drain from the Geotubes and will be collected for treatment. Once the sediment in the Geotubes has dried out, it will be transported to the waste management facility for long-term storage.
Shane then detailed the impact the Vision in Motion project will have on the conversion facility and the community. Cameco will be removing several buildings from the site. This will allow the company to shift the fence line of the property inwards at various points, transferring portions of land, including the centre pier, to the municipality of Port Hope.
"All in all, we’re reducing Cameco’s footprint at the waterfront by about 20% from what you see today," said Shane. "That’s an additional seven acres that’s available at the waterfront area for the community to make use of."
It will be up to the municipality and the community to decide what to do with this newly available space.
Dale then took to the podium to bring the presentation to close.
"We are certainly working very closely together," said Dale. "For PHAI to remediate the historic waste in the waterfront areas of our community. For Cameco to renew and remediate some key aspects of our conversion facility. And both with the intent of providing long-term environmental and community benefits for many years to come."