EA report on Zircatec fuel plan recommended for acceptance

PORT HOPE, ONTARIO - Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) staff have recommended the Environmental Assessment (EA) Screening Report for proposed slightly enriched uranium (with BDU) CANDU fuel production at Port Hope's Zircatec Precision Industries Inc. be accepted.

"It's certainly a milestone event in the project," said Doug Prendergast of Zircatec; the report went before the CNSC in Oshawa Wednesday. "It's clearly a big step and we're now awaiting the commission decision."

If the EA is accepted, Zircatec will begin to prepare for a licence amendment hearing to allow Zircatec to begin production.

"Zircatec expects to be before the CNSC sometime this year - by May at the earliest, for a licence amendment," said Mr. Prendergast. "Production of the new lines would begin in 2010."

The licence amendment would only proceed if the EA is accepted, he said.

Port Hope residents Sanford and Helen Anne Haskill, who attended the hearing, were pleased with the results.

"I think on the whole it was a very interesting meeting," said Mr. Haskill. "It was good for everybody."

As part of his presentation, Mr. Haskill asked that some sort of buffer zone be placed at the western edge of the Zircatec property. "All there is, is a chain link fence there," he said.

Mr. Haskill added that monitoring wells across and beyond the property boundaries were showing contamination.

Mr. Prendergast said contamination was found in the monitoring wells near the waste storage area at the Zircatec building's northeast end during the licence application process in the late summer of 2006.

"This is clearly not news as it was discussed at length during the 2006 licensing hearings," said Mr. Prendergast. "Ongoing monitoring shows that levels are not rising so ongoing operations are not contributing."

Zircatec, he added, is confident the contamination is historical and that it's been delineated.


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