The complainant, Adam Lewis, said that there was an error of fact in a piece about a Russian-owned, U.S.-based uranium mining company. There had been an ongoing controversy regarding the approval of a deal under the Obama administration which gave Russia an interest in U.S. uranium production. CBCnews.ca provided analysis because the issue was back in the news.

The background is complicated, but I agreed that the phrase in question was imprecise.

COMPLAINT

You wrote to point out what you thought to be an error in an article about an ongoing political controversy surrounding a uranium mining operation, Uranium One, that is controlled by the mining arm of Rosatom, the Russian nuclear energy agency. The company was sold in 2010, with operations in Canada, the United States, Australia, Kazakhstan and South Africa. During the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign, there were accusations that Hillary Clinton had given away U.S. uranium rights in exchange for donations to the Clinton foundation. The accusations were false, but the story lived on. In November 2017, cbcnews.ca published an Analysis piece entitled: “Trump is hyping a uranium scandal about Hillary Clinton. Here’s why some observer’s call it ‘bogus’.” Republican senators had decided to look into the matter. In his analysis, Matt Kwong debunked some of the allegations and concerns. During the campaign, then candidate Trump stated that Ms. Clinton had given away 20% of the uranium in the country. In debunking it, Mr. Kwong said:

Even if the Russians wanted to do something with the relatively small amounts of U.S.-produced uranium, they wouldn’t be able to export any of it outside the U.S., anyway. That’s because they don’t have an export licence from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

You said this was “100% incorrect.” You pointed to a cbcnews.ca article published in 2012 involving the presence of yellowcake in an Ontario refinery which had originated from a Uranium One facility in the United States.

You also cited an article published in a U.S. publication, The Hill, which noted that while there was no export license, the atomic regulatory agency had granted permission to move some uranium to Canada and Europe for further process.

You also questioned the fact that all the sources cited in the article were from the Obama and Clinton administrations, and this violated journalistic standards.

MANAGEMENT RESPONSE

The Managing Editor of @cbcnews, Steve Ladurantaye, replied to your complaint. He told you he did not agree that the statement required a correction. He stated that Uranium One does not have a license to export uranium for commercial use. He acknowledged that the company does move uranium between Canada and the United States:

Continue reading this on the CBC website, where it was first published.