The likelihood of layoffs at Cameco’s Port Hope uranium conversion facility is high but no final decisions have been made, Cameco communications specialist Doug Prendergast said yesterday.
In a later interview on Tuesday, Cameco director of public and government affairs Bob Kelly said they still hold some “glimmer of hope” they will be able to negotiate with their supplier of hydrofluoric acid, but it’s “looking likely” there will be layoffs.
United Steelworkers Local 13173 president Chris Leavitt said after a Nov. 12 meeting with Cameco fuel services division vice-president Andy Oliver and general manager Andy Thorne that the shutdown of the UF6 (uranium hexafluoride) plant is estimated to begin as early as the end of this month, to reopen sometime next summer.
Asked if this down time could be used to bring Cameco closer to its goal of reducing emissions, Mr. Kelly only said the company would have some people on hand to maintain the UF6 building.
“We have already made some major upgrades in the UF6 building,” Mr. Kelly said, saying high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters have been installed to address fugitive emissions and the company is currently installing them in the UO2 (uranium dioxide) building as well.
It is all part of their contractual improvement plan, Mr. Kelly said.