Orano Mining
Corporate Social Responsibility
Report 2017
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We are identifying and evaluating solutions for optimizing our activities and reducing their impacts throughout the lifecycle of the mine, in terms of environmental, social and economic aspects, with the aim of preventing risks as far upstream as possible for the benefit of our employees and the general public.

Nuclear safety and risk prevention are supported at the highest management levels of our organization. This constitutes Orano's number one strategic pillar.

We are establishing many mechanisms for identifying, managing, monitoring and alerting to risks, reducing and eliminating risks in the long term, as well as preparing for emergency situations.


The CSR report on Orano’s mining activities covers workstation risks, health risks, industrial and environmental risks.

Each of our commitments presents the mechanisms in place more comprehensively.

Risks relating to security situations in the countries, as well as financial risks, are outside the scope of this reporting. Management and coverage of global risks are addressed in Orano's annual activity report on the basis of the Business Risk Model to which Orano Mining is a contributor.


Risk mapping Assessing Health - Safety - Environment risks

Risk mapping is a monitoring tool based on 11 themes:

  • leadership,
  • management of regulatory compliance and repositories,
  • projects and control of changes,
  • crisis management,
  • 3SE culture - safety, health, security and environment,
  • health and safety,
  • control of nuclear and radiation protection risk,
  • transport of hazardous materials on public roads,
  • control of technological and accidental risks,
  • hazardous substances,
  • control of long-term (chronic) risks and impact on the environment.

Our head office and onsite teams, and in all the countries in which we have a presence, participate in the process of evaluating Health, Safety, Radiation protection and Environmental risks, so that we can carry out risk mapping.

The aim of this mapping process is to identify the major risks encountered on sites in different areas, so that we can assess the degree of control and define priority action plans to implement.

Monitoring of this mapping process is carried out through inspection programs as part of a continuous improvement process.

Hazard studies Reducing technological risks

In order to reduce both technological and natural risks, hazard studies are regularly conducted upstream of new industrial projects and whenever there is a change of process at our "yellow cake" (U3O8) production sites, or during the project study phases (HAZID/HAZOP review).

These aim to identify major risks and the preventive and protective barriers to be implemented to minimize them.

They are also an opportunity to demonstrate the good practices employed by the teams and promote the sharing of experiences.

In 2017, a number of industrial investments have been made in this direction. For example, in Kazakhstan, at KATCO, a new chemical product unloading facility has been set up to take into account developments of the technology and of risk prevention systems.

Similarly, in 2016 the firefighting equipment at KATCO's facilities was improved and enhanced through the introduction of automatic extinguisher systems on certain installations. This optimization was carried out subsequent to an update to the American NFPA fire risk management codes.

In 2014, a leach solution pipe running between the South Torkuduk and North Torkuduk sites had also been replaced. This change followed feedback after an environmental event and a strengthening of our pipeline design and construction standards to prevent accidental spills.

In 2013, during preparation work for the restart of the McClean Lake mill located in northern Saskatchewan, Canada, the team of metallurgy experts established an updated assessment of risks.

With the help of the operational and engineering teams, and an outside consultant, a new design was proposed and implemented in 2014.

This assessment was also updated during the production ramp-up between 2014 and 2015, along with the associated action plan, in order to bring the level of identified risks within acceptable limits, in accordance with best practices, thus making the process safer.

Crisis exercise Preparing for emergency situations

Exercises to prepare for emergency situations are regularly performed at a local level, and emergency response plans are regularly updated. Different levels of exercise are implemented:

  • Level 1: Local exercises such as fire drills at least once per quarter.
  • Level 2: Local exercises with involvement of the subsidiary's general management, at least once every two years.
  • Level 3: Local exercises with involvement of the subsidiary's general management and Orano Mining headquarters. Level 3 exercises are performed once a year within the Mining BU.

In 2017, a level 3 crisis exercise was carried out at the KATCO site in Kazakhstan. Its aim was to test the crisis organization put in place to deal with an industrial accident situation.

This exercise took place overnight and lasted 8 hours. It was managed locally with the collaboration of the teams at the Almaty headquarters and at Orano Mining in Paris, involving the activation of three crisis control centers.

In 2018, one level 3 crisis exercises will be conducted, one at the Bessines site in France.

These exercises also provide an opportunity to train the various stakeholders (internal and external) and foster their skills and experience, test structures, procedures and equipment, and define new areas for improvement.

R&D programs Developing and sustaining multidisciplinary expertise to assess and minimize our environmental footprint throughout the life of our mining sites.

The scientific work for our R&D programs is performed by our onsite teams, as well as with numerous research partners. The work aims above all to:

  • understand, prevent and model the migration of chemical and radiological substances over the long term;
  • identify the issues relating to water management and treatment;
  • be proactive with regard to regulatory changes and the requirements of the authorities;
  • develop new tools for sampling and analysis, to improve our knowledge of environmental impacts.

In order to support Orano Mining in tackling scientific challenges, a number of academic partnerships have been set up.

These partnerships enable our R&D teams to enhance their work through contributions of skills and offer prospects for development.

Academic partnerships also provide a guarantee of published results and add to the R&D teams' own legitimacy and visibility.

Our partners include Université Paris VI, Université Paris VII, Ecole des Mines de Paris , Université de Poitiers, Université de Bruxelles, the University of Manchester, the University of Granada, the CEA, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, CREGU, the University of Wisconsin.