A cargo ship carrying physical uranium was between Hawaii and Midway Islands when bad weather during the Pacific crossing caused two drums of uranium to spill into the hold, prompting the crew to turn the ship back to British Columbia.
By Dave Brown - Exclusive to Uranium Investing News Last week, Cameco (TSE: CCO) (NYSE: CCJ) announced loose uranium had spilled into a cargo ship's hold after a number of the sea containers that held drums of uranium concentrate were damaged; however, according to the company the uranium remains safely confined within the ship's hold. The MCP Altona is currently docked at the Port of Vancouver to replenish fuel and supplies. The ship left Vancouver just before Christmas, bound for China carrying powdered uranium concentrate. On January 3, the ship was between Hawaii and Midway Islands when bad weather during the Pacific crossing caused two drums of uranium to spill into the hold, prompting the crew to turn the ship back to British Columbia. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission issued a statement indicating there was "no risk to the environment or public at large." For public safety and remediation purposes uranium concentrate is generally handled the same as other heavy metals such as lead. The procedure for cleaning up uranium concentrate is considered to be similar to other routine industrial chemicals. The radiation and chemical risks are reduced by limiting the time of direct exposure and avoiding inhalation and ingestion. Radiation from uranium concentrate is quite low and is well below natural background levels four to five metres from a drum. As of last week, Cameco's assessment team was able to view a section of the cargo hold of the container ship and the company is continuing to work with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and Transport Canada to finalize the remediation plan. The expectation is to determine the optimal location to implement plans to clean up, repackage and ship on to its original destination.