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UF6 production to start again this year, Cameco forum hears

By Pete Fisher, Northumberland Today

The Cameco Corporation's uranium hexafluoride (UF6) plant in Port Hope is on target to restart production in the second half of this year, those attending last night's Community Liaison Forum heard.

Andy Oliver, vice-president of Cameco's fuel services division, told the audience that while no contracts have yet been signed, he anticipates long-term contracts in the near future.

Some of the UF6 will have to be trucked in to the plant, Oliver said during his update on Cameco's progress in a number of issues concerning the community.

Oliver also stated five employees who were laid off as a result of the UF6 shutdown were recently recalled.

The uranium dioxide (UO2) plant is operating as usual, he said.

Oliver also stated the transfer of ownership of Cameco's Welcome Waste Management Facility to the Port Hope Area Initiative will occur in 2009. Prior to that transfer, a pipe approximately three kilometres long will be replaced. The pipe carries treated effluent from the the facility to Lake Ontario.

"Cameco will consult with a number of regulatory agencies, as well as property owners, before any construc- tion activity begins," Oliver said.

Last night's forum, the second of 2009, was the 13th forum sponsored by Cameco since 2006.

Three guest speakers talked for over an hour about an overview of risk assessment, exposure assessment, chemical risk assessment and radiation risk.

After the presentations, approximately 70 people in attendance were given the opportunity to ask questions.

Members of the Port Hope Health Concerns Committee and Families Against Radiation Exposure were also in attendance.