Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Water use, radiation hazard, in Cameco’s planned Pilbara uranium mine

Cameco’s Kintyre Uranium Project report details risks to mine workers from radiation exposure, the potential for groundwater contamination and the spread of radioactive dust and its potential to endanger flora and fauna.

Radiation fear for Pilbara uraium mine workers * Narelle Towie,   The Sunday Times  November 08, 2010 A CANADIAN company plans to draw five million litres of water a day – two Olympic-sized pools – to operate a uranium mine on the edge of a Pilbara national park.

State and Federal Government officials are investigating an environmental proposal released this week by one of the world’s biggest uranium companies to begin open-pit uranium mining upwind of an existing copper mine camp.

Cameco’s Kintyre Uranium Project report details risks to mine workers from radiation exposure, the potential for groundwater contamination and the spread of radioactive dust and its potential to endanger flora and fauna.

The report states that mine workers are at risk of: “direct irradiation by gamma radiation; inhalation of airborne dust containing long-lived alpha-emitting radionuclides of the uranium and thorium series; ingestion of radioactive contamination transferred from hands to mouth when eating or smoking; and inhalation of radon progeny”….. The Barnett Government formally overturned a ban on uranium mining in November 2008.

From 2013, Cameco plans to begin building the mine, which will eventually process up to 24 million tonnes a year of ore one of the biggest uranium projects in the state.

If given government approval, the project, next to the Karlamilyi National Park, will employ up to 850 fly-in, fly-out and on-site workers.

It will also create millions of tonnes of radioactive waste.

The proposed 600ha mine area was excised from Karlamilyi National Park in 1994.

As part of the plan, extracted uranium oxide concentrate is to be transported by road through to the outskirts of Kalgoorlie, via Telfer, Marble Bar, Port Hedland, Newman, Meekatharra, Mt Magnet, Leinster, Leonora and Menzies.

WA Greens senator Scott Ludlam voiced “deep concerns” about the project in an area of outstanding beauty.

`The proposed mine will create up to three million tonnes a year of radioactive tailings waste that will remain radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years, long after the proponents of this 15-year project have moved on,” he said.

“The details of Cameco’s submission regarding the Kintyre deposit in the east Pilbara show exactly why we need a public inquiry into uranium mining in WA.”

While the company’s priorities are keeping safety, health and environmental risks “as low as reasonably achievable” it expects its operations will lower the water table in the area, impact on local indigenous communities and affect endangered species such as the northern quoll, bilby and northern marsupial mole.

Radiation fear for Pilbara uraium mine workers | Perth Now

November 9, 2010 - Posted by | environment, uranium, water, Western Australia | , , , , , , ,

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