PORT HOPE — Elevated fluoride contamination from Cameco Fuel Manufacturing in September was caused by several small procedural incidents which were released to the surrounding air through the facility’s heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system, said a company spokeswoman.
“We have investigated the reason behind the events and are confident we have identified the underlying causes,” said Rebecca Peters, superintendent of compliance and licensing at Cameco, at the Feb. 16 Port Hope council meeting.
The September 2009 reading showed a release of 58 micrograms of fluoride per 100 square centimetres. The investigation level is 40 micrograms of fluoride during the growing season because fluoride can damage vegetation.
“It’s a criteria, not a limit,” Ms. Peters told Mayor Linda Thompson. “We did address the incidents.”
After Oct. 31, the action limit doubles to 80 micrograms.
Cameco had several small incidents in 2009, which have been investigated and can be largely attributed to start up events at the uranium hexafluoride (UF6) plant, according to Ms. Peters.
Cameco environmental and compliance reports on the second and third quarter of 2009 at the recent Committee of the Whole meeting showed no other reportable incidents.
Cameco’s collection well system began full operation in the third quarter of 2009 and the results will be included in the upcoming fourth quarter report.
A public meeting on Cameco’s plan for managing ground water will be held on Monday, March 15 at the Carpenters’ Union Hall, in Port Hope.