Mount Polley disaster spurs Nuclear watchdog to act

Vancouver, BC, Canada / (CKNW AM) AM980

As provincial authorities consider what could have been done to prevent this month’s Mount Polley mine disaster, federal regulators aren’t taking any chances.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has ordered all mines and mills using uranium to ensure tailings dams are properly maintained and monitored.

Chief Regulatory Operations Officer Ramzi Jammal sent out a letter last week requesting they review the causes of the August 4th breach in the Cariboo and confirm ‘the safety case for the tailings dam at your facility remains valid.’

He also wants assurances mitigation measures are in place and any problems are immediately reported.

September 15th has been set as the deadline for response.

In addition, CNSC staff have been directed to independently inspect above-ground tailings storage facilities to confirm they’re safe.

Comments

  1. It would have been nice if the provincial government had responded to two separate requests from the Polley mine. Twice they requested permits to release some of the water from the pond to relieve pond pressures. Twice our government did not respond.

  2. Now that a federal agency has ordered a review of tailings-ponds and an assurance that they are safe, look to other provinces taking similar action on mines under their jurisdiction.

    Naturally, they will ask for an independent qualified 3rd party to perform the assessment and provide the assurances, is there enough engneering talent avail able in Canada or BC to achieve timely results?

  3. I would think that immediately after the Polley failure, mining companies were taking a very close look at their tailings facilities.
    Canadian mining engineering standards are high which is why failures are so rare.
    But Polley was a wake-up call and I expect the industry will react with changes to their procedures including stopping operations and laying people off while they wait for government and First Nations approval for needed upgrades or permits.

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