Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

ERA’S GROWING LIST OF URANIUM FAILURES IS NO BARREL OF LAUGHS

Ranger-retention-dam The Environment Centre NT and the Australian Conservation Foundation have condemned the latest in a conga line of failures at Ranger uranium mine amid revelations that four uranium barrels were discovered abandoned in Darwin’s rural area today.

 Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) is currently under investigation for a serious operational breach following the recent unauthorised removal of a mine vehicle used in the controlled and contaminated area of the Ranger mine. This latest incident is further evidence of systemic failure at Ranger and highlights the need for an urgent review into the mine’s operations.

 “ERA has not only lost control of a vehicle and uranium barrels, they’ve also clearly lost the capacity for responsible management and effective operations”, said Lauren Mellor from the Environment Centre NT. “Uranium mining, with its risks to public health and safety and long-term environmental contamination must be subject of greater Federal government scrutiny – not less as Northern Territory Mines Minister Willem Westra Van Holthe suggested today”.

Environmentalists are calling for a full, public and independent review of the operations and impacts of Ranger. “These drums are literally warning drums about the serious regulatory problems at Ranger and their description matches ERA’s assurances – empty, weathered and fire damaged”, said ACF nuclear campaigner Dave Sweeney. “ERA is currently undergoing an environmental assessment process for their proposed Ranger 3 Deeps underground mine and these systemic breaches should be a red light to Federal and Northern Territory Government assessors that ERA does not have either the capability or credibility to mine and export uranium safely and securely.”

“While there is still uncertainty as to the outcome of the investigation into ERA’s security breach, some things are crystal clear. It is clear that ERA has failed to control its operations on or off the Ranger mine, clear that the regulatory regime is deficient and clear that there is an urgent need for an open and independent review of Ranger.”

In 2011 it was confirmed that Australian uranium was inside the failed Fukushima nuclear reactor and the UN Secretary-General called on Australia to conduct an in-depth assessment of the net cost impact of the impacts of uranium mining on local communities and ecosystems. Environmentalists are calling for this assessment to now be urgently implemented.

“ERA is losing vehicles, barrels and credibility and the Northern Territory community is losing confidence and patience. It is time for the regulators and those who are meant to protect the community and country of Kakadu to get serious and get to work on closing the door to this toxic industry for good,” concluded Ms Mellor.

November 19, 2013 - Posted by | Northern Territory, safety, uranium

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