Uranium hexafluoride (UF6) production at its Port Hope plant will be suspended until mid-2009 due to an insufficient supply of hydrofluoric acid (HF), Cameco said today.
As previously announced, a contract dispute between Cameco and its sole supplier of hydrofluoric acid (HF) has resulted in unreliable and expensive deliveries of the material. The dispute remains unresolved and Cameco has exhausted the inventory of HF it had purchased on a spot basis.
The process of suspending UF6 production in a safe manner is expected to take several weeks. During that time, the company will review staffing levels at its 440-man facility and, regrettably, up to an estimated 100 layoffs will result.
A number of projects will be carried out at the UF6 plant while it is shutdown, including refurbishment of fluorine cells.
Cameco said that it “anticipates meeting UF6 deliveries to customers in the first half of 2009.”
Port Hope restarted UF6 production at the end of September this year. It had been closed since July 2007, following the discovery of underground leaks at the facility.
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