Canadian Regulators OK Restart at Port Hope Uranium Conversion Plant

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission granted the country's only uranium conversion plant permission to restart Monday as regulators continue to investigate an emergency shutdown.

Port Hope plant. Source: CamecoOn Jan. 28, a hydrogen recirculation valve for a cell room responded in an unexpected fashion during an update to safety-related software at Cameco's Port Hope facility. Shutting the plant down to regain control of chemical processes in that part of the plant required operator intervention beyond pushing the emergency stop button in the control room, provoking scrutiny from the CNSC.

On Tuesday, the agency announced its on-site inspections confirmed that Cameco had put in place adequate interim measures to prevent a similar incident. The CNSC will continue to review the situation as Cameco completes a root cause analysis and identifies any additional corrective actions. The plant – one of three in the western hemisphere that produces uranium hexafluoride feedstock for enrichment facilities – will be allowed to operate in the interim.

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