Fluoride Action Network

Cameco reports small non-radiological gas leak at Port Hope facility

Source: Northumberland News | November 29th, 2014 | By Dominik Wisniewski
Location: Canada, Ontario
Industry type: Nuclear Industry

PORT HOPE — Three employees of Cameco’s conversion facility received medical treatment but returned to work following a leak of “non-radiological” material on Nov. 26.

The company said there was no impact to the public or the environment following the release of a small amount of anhydrous hydrogen fluoride gas inside the Port Hope conversion facility. The company said the release of a small puff of the gas was a “non-radiological” event.

On Nov. 26 employees working in the area at the time of the release received medical attention and have since returned to work, according to an incident report the company filed with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

The employees were investigating a blocked gas feed line in the cell room of the UF6 [Uranium hexafluoride] plant when an operator noticed a small puff of the anhydrous hydrogen fluoride. While the operator immediately closed the valve, sensors in the area detected it and the local area alarms were automatically activated.

The gas sensors also automatically shut down the cell room and activated the emergency ventilation, before the room was cleared of fumes within 15 minutes.

As per Cameco protocol, three employees who potentially were exposed to AHF received medical treatment at the facility, were then transferred to Northumberland Hills Hospital for further treatment and were released within a few hours.

According to the CNSC, their staff will be on-site to verify the interim corrective measures Cameco has put in place to prevent a similar occurrence.

With an initial investigation underway, the incident will be discussed at the next public meeting of the commission on Dec. 18.

Molecular formula for UF6