June 15, 2018 10:56 am
Updated: July 18, 2018 5:37 pm

Cameco in Port Hope continues remediation of harbourfront

The current status of Cameco's "vision in motion" project was on display in Port Hope on Wednesday.

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Cameco says its Vision in Motion project will reduce the footprint of its uranium conversion facility in Port Hope and ready the area around the harbour for reuse by the municipality.

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On Wednesday night, the nuclear manufacturer held an open house to update the public on the project, which aims to address legacy waste at the facility from historic operations. The company is working with the Port Hope Area Initiative to manage the historic low-level waste.

READ MORE: Cameco reports net earnings of $55M in 2018 Q1

“It renews the facility in many ways,” said Dale Clark, Cameco’s vice-president of fuel services. “It will improve the appearance of the plant. It improves efficiencies in certain ways. It returns greater access to the public around the centre pier, around the harbour, the turning basin area.”

Part of the plan calls for the buildings on the centre pier on Lake Ontario to be removed. The pier will eventually revert to the municipality but has a part to play in the cleanup of historic low-level nuclear waste.

“Once they remove the buildings from the centre pier and bring them to our waste facility, we’re going to use that pier to dredge Port Hope Harbour, which has hundreds of thousands of cubic meters of contamination within it,” said Bill Daly with Canadian Nuclear Laboratories.

One area of concern brought up at Wednesday’s meeting was the construction of a new municipal access road to the plant just north of the west beach.

A group called Restore the West Beach says the road is a bad idea and should be scrapped.

“It would be a shame to put a road on that beach,” said Doug Smith with Save the Beach Committee. “It’s a beautiful beach, nice wide open space, so you’re going to have an industrial road on it and it’s going to wreck the whole ambiance of the beach. You could literally stand in the middle of this proposed road and, with a small rock, throw it into the lake. That’s how close it’s going to be.”

READ MORE: Canadian Firefighters Museum in Port Hope closing as search for new home continues

But Shane Watson, Cameco manager of major projects, says the company worked with the municipality on the concept for the road, aiming to minimize the amount of encroachment on the beach area.

“It being constructed on areas that are not part of the naturalized beach right now,” he said. “So, for example, there’s a grassy berm along the south edge of our parking lot and that is where the new road is going to be constructed so the amount of encroachment on the beach area will be absolutely minimized.”

Plans for construction of the road by the municipality must go through a public consultation process before construction can begin.

The project includes:

  • removal of up to 150,000 cubic metres of inherited waste materials, including some soil excavation;
  • removal of some of the site’s surplus buildings;
  • construction and refurbishment of buildings to improve the look and efficiency of the site
  • installation of flood protection barriers that will also provide radiation, noise and visual shielding along the eastern fence-line improvements to storm water management infrastructure
  • fence line shifts away from the harbour along the inner harbour and at the south end of the facility.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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