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KEY LAKE: Uranium Leak into ground water

PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 11:33 am
by Oscar
*Serious underground leak of uranium at Key Lake mill*

From Candyce, posted here with permission. Here's the link to her public post for ease of sharing:
[ ... 2993940319 ]

It is also at the Coalition's Facebook page: ... 935014222/

"To summarize what was reported at the April 9th, 2019 Meeting with ERFN (English River First Nation), Cameco and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC).

There was a leak of uranium into ground water from beneath the floor of the Molybdenum Extraction Plant, one of the most radioactive and toxic places at the Key Lake Uranium Mill. It occurred because water leaked through a concrete floor carrying uranium into the sandy till below the building. Water had been intentionally put on the floor to contain the radon that would off-gas into the building from the contaminated floor.


A) they knew the floor was contaminated and,

B) the floor had been resurfaced with concrete and ductall sealant in 2012 or 2013 which means they knew previously that the floor was contaminated and failing.

C) The materials they use in the building are acidic and ate through the surface sealant which they should have been able to predict.

D) They were being cheap in not putting sufficient ventilation in the building and not replacing the floor with impermeable material. The CNSC were negligent in that they do not regulate what materials are used in the construction of such radiotoxic facilities and depend on the Canada Building Code which is at most a bare minimum set of standards which obviously are inadequate for this purpose.

It has been 4 months since the leak was discovered and it is not known for sure how long it was leaking because Cameco only monitors those test wells every 6 months. They did not state what the elevated level of uranium was. At one point they said they know it is localized and that 50 cubic meters were leaked in total but later they said they needed site assessment and computer modelling from Golder Associates (a geology firm) to find out the direction and extent of the flow which they assume moves at the "slow" rate of several meters/year. Given that the monitoring well is 15 or 20 m (which is it?) from the building, how long has it been leaking or how fast has it been flowing?

It is concerning that they did not have a plan of action in place for such events and that the CNSC did not require them to have one.

CNSC said that the impacts of such a leak would have been covered in the original Environmental Impact Assessment but when a member brought up that she had questioned whether underground water would be contaminated prior to the opening of the mine, she was told no.

Knowing that there were multiple caustic chemicals that are used in that building and that they were known to have corroded the surface of the floor, there should also be levels of those in the ground water. Ammonia was mentioned by Cameco because it has permeated the ground all over the Key Lake site. There is more than uranium in that ground water and we do not know what impacts that they have either. That question was not adequately answered.

The meeting was too short and too restricted to achieve a completely informed process. People want solutions."

Please share this information widely. Thanks.