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Recent Rugulatory Issues Related to Uranium Mining in Saskatchewan

The April 6, 2003 cave-in and flood of radioactive water at the McArthur River mine.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has conducted hearings into the renewal of Cameco Corporation's licence to operate the McArthur River underground uranium mine and Key Lake uranium mill in northern Saskatchewan. In the hearings, Cameco came under fire from commissioners and intervenors for its handling of the April 6, 2003 cave-in and flood at the McArthur River mine, the world's largest uranium mine. The flood threatened to engulf the lower levels of the mine and a lot of expensive equipment; it ended up stopping production for three months while the company contained the flood and rebuilt the underground workings.

The flooding of the Collins Bay Pit at the Rabbit Lake mine.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) decided to renew the operating licence for Cameco Corporation's Rabbit Lake uranium mine in northern Saskatchewan. As part of this licence, the company will be allowed to breach the dike that separates the mined-out Collins Bay A-Zone pit from Wollaston Lake itself. Mining Watch Canada was among the intervenors who demanded an environmental assessment of this decommissioning plan. In fact, no environmental or public consultation information was brought before the Commissioners. In a public meeting, people in the community of Wollaston Lake told the company they did not want the dike breached at all. The CNSC determined that breaching the dike is not "decommissioning" but rather part of the "ongoing site rehabilitation" and therefore no EA or consultation with the affected Athabasca Dené First Nations is required.