Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Spikes in radiation monitored during bushfires near Lucas Heights nuclear site

15th April 2018 – Residents told to “Shelter in place”, Peter Daley
technologypals.com.au, 20 Nov 18

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5617263/Sydney-bushfire-spreads-nuclear-reactor-army-base-residents-nearby-evacuated.html

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) local radiation monitor station shows significant spikes in radiation during the fire event.

Below are screen shots from the ANSTO radiation monitoring station at Endagine. Endagine is located East of the Lucas Heights reactor.

What caused this spike in local radiation?

Did the fire release local radioactive contamination?

Reactor venting?

Fault in equipment?

Their rainfall monitor shows it definitely was not raining at the time of these detections, so these detections can’t be explained away as Radon wash out events.

Radiation Spike plus rainfall chart 15th to 16th April

http://sccc.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Australia-Sydney-ANSTO-Monitoring-site-15th-to-16th-April-2018.png

More Radiation detection spikes showing on the live Engadine ANSTO monitor station chart, 19th April.

http://sccc.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Australia-Sydney-Engadine-ANSTO-live-Monitoring-Station-19th-April-2018.png

ANSTO live monitoring site,

http://www.ansto.gov.au/Resources/Localenvironment/Atmosphericmonitoring/Radiationmonitoring/index.htm

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November 20, 2018 Posted by | - incidents, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Another radiation contamination incident at Australia’s Lucas Heights nuclear reactor

Lucas Heights nuclear reactor in another contamination scare amid calls for safety review, By John Stewart and Rebecca Trigger, ABC Investigations 24 Oct 18 There has been another contamination scare at Australia’s only nuclear reactor in southern Sydney, in the same week a report was released recommending immediate action to review safety procedures at the site.

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) confirmed five workers reported receiving a dose of radiation, but it was not above allowable limits.

………The Australian Manufacturers and Workers Union (AMWU) told the ABC at 11:30am on Tuesday, five employees working in the industrial handling bay inside building 23 were contaminated by an airborne iodine isotope.

The AMWU said one employee had been sent for thyroid scans, and another had to shave part of his beard off as it was carrying contaminates.

The scare came in the same week as a report into the ageing facility found it failed modern nuclear safety standards, and needed to be replaced, after another worker was exposed to radioactive material last year.

The union said Tuesday’s contamination was a result of comprehensive and repeated failures to protect the safety of workers at the site.

……….‘Legacy’ buildings at nuclear site need action, report finds

A worker was exposed to hazardous material after dropping a vial in an area of the facility known as building 23 in August last year.

The event was deemed the most serious in the world in 2017, according to the International Nuclear Event Scale.

A review conducted by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPNSA) following this incident, found two buildings at the site — 23 and 54 — were relatively old “legacy” facilities designed to meet 1950s-era standards, “and therefore may not fully meet modern standards of nuclear design, safety and operational workflows”.

“However, it should be noted that both facilities have met the safety requirements of the applicable regulators,” the report said.

The report also noted concerns around “unacceptable” behaviours including allegations of bullying and harassment of ANSTO staff.

ARPNSA made 85 recommendations, and directed ANSTO to “take immediate steps to initiate an independent review of the approach to occupational radiation safety of processes and operational procedures in B23″……..https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-24/contamination-scare-at-australias-lucas-heights-nuclear-reactor/10422476

October 25, 2018 Posted by | - incidents, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Defence Department breached radiation regulations

Defence breached radiation regulations, THE AUSTRALIAN, By RORY CALLINAN, OCTOBER 22, 2018

The Defence Department has blamed poor record keeping for its failure to properly transport and dispose of small amounts of radioactive material contained in lighting systems accompanying old artillery pieces.

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency found Defence had breached licence conditions in relation to the material in lighting systems associated with the Hamel 105mm towed light howitzers that were phased out of operation in 2018

Defence failed to comply with regulations in regard to disposing of controlled material without prior approval and not following the transport code for radioactive sources, said ARPANSA’s recently released annual report.

……. The spokesman said after investigating the matter, Defence had acted to ensure that similar incidents would not occur.

He said ARPANSA had been satisfied with the action taken and it accepted no radiation safety impacts as a result of the incident. No fines or enforcement action was warranted, he said.https://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/defence/defence-breached-radiation-regulations/news-story/543e133be974ee5cd69e0343f54a2201

October 23, 2018 Posted by | - incidents, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Safety problems at Lucas Heights nuclear reactor

 

 

 

Nuclear radiation spills spur Lucas Heights review, THE AUSTRALIAN, SIAN POWELL, Higher Education & Science Writer, Sydney SEAN PARNELL-Health Editor, Brisbane @seanparnell

Australia’s nuclear safety agency has ordered a review of Sydney’s Lucas Heights nuclear medicine facility after two radiation spills, and a separate investigation is under way into a mechanical failure that has caused delays in diagnostic tests across the country.

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation has had four safety breaches in 10 months and in recent weeks has had to call on US…….

Distribution of the replacement nuclear medicine supplies was also disrupted this month after airline delays from the US prevented the medicine reaching clinics and hospitals for some days……….

The supply problems caused by the mechanical failure have come as a review was ordered by the independent regulator, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency and its chief executive Carl-Magnus Larsson, who issued the organisation with a direction under the Aus­tralian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act.

The agency said the independent review it had directed would focus on quality control of molybdenum-99 (Mo-99), the radio­active agent used in diagnostic imaging.

After the first safety breach when a staff member’s hands were contaminated on August 22 last year, ARPANSA found ANSTO to be noncompliant with its licence conditions, according to a statement from the safety agency.

“Three further events including the latest event on 7 June, 2018, indicate ongoing safety issues at ANSTO Health,” ARPANSA said………

An internal review is being conducted into the conveyor failure on June 22 while the separate independent safety review into the ageing ANSTO facility is ­undertaken.

ANSTO will appoint an independent reviewer. “This appointment is the next step on a path of continuous improvement.

“Using recommendations from the review, we’ll identify what more can be done to make that facility safer,” a spokesman for ANSTO said.

…….The conveyor has been fixed but compliance checks and a thorough audit will keep the production of nuclear medicine at a standstill for some time.

Repairs were originally delayed because ANSTO staff members were forced to wait until radiation levels in the conveyor room fell to a safe level……..https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/health-science/nuclear-radiation-spills-spur-lucas-heights-review/news-story/7c5f0c09e7847d8c0265e86c28d1e796

July 21, 2018 Posted by | - incidents, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Delay in production of Technetium-99m (Tc-99m) at Lucas Heights

Fault at Lucas Heights nuclear reactor halts production of medical isotope, Guardian, 28 June 18 
Spokesman says no safety risk but there are fears patients could face delays in cancer diagnosis   “….. 
production of the most commonly used isotope in nuclear medicine was halted at the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor in Sydney’s south.

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (Ansto) usually produces about 10,000 doses a week of Technetium-99m (Tc-99m), which is used to diagnose a variety of heart, lung and musculoskeletal conditions, as well as cancers.

An Ansto spokesman said production was temporarily suspended on Friday “after a mechanical fault was identified with a piece of equipment”. There was no safety risk due to the stoppage, he said………https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/jun/28/fault-lucas-heights-nuclear-reactor-halts-production-of-medical-isotope

 

June 29, 2018 Posted by | - incidents, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Past accidents at Lucas Heights don’t augur well for nuclear dump plan

Paul Waldon Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA  Today the 18th of March is another red letter day in the nuclear arena with the 31st anniversary of a accident at Lucas Heights, but first lets jump forward 29 years to the Hawker nuclear community meeting on the 6th of May 2016, where a man named Bruce Wilson from the DIIS whom chaired such meeting, a man who could be a totally inept clairvoyant, a nuclear decision psychopath, a misinformed government payed nuclear spruiker, or just a sad ignorant man.

This is a man whom said “We will NOT have accidents” while the opposing dichotomy believes in the old dictum “Pray for the best, prepare for the worst” and the such dichotomy keeps giving a resounding NO to a deadly radioactive dump, which keeps falling on deaf ears of the liars who said they would walk away from a community that doesn’t want to accept it.

Now lets return to the anniversary of the 1987 accident where a fire at Lucas Heights nuclear research laboratory resulted in the contamination of two workers and the discharge of radioactive gas into the atmosphere over populated areas.

Yes, Bruce this was a accident, however there was an event two years prior to such accident that may be called a purpose when alleged vandals dodged security patrols and smashed a underground pipe, releasing radioactive effluent into river ways. (What was this pipe made of, maybe brittle 2mm plastic?).

Are we to believe Bruce that there wont be anymore accidents, maybe because accidents will be suppressed, or called a planed event, or re-classed as “Technically produced anomalies” just like the erroneous, magniloquent re-classing of high grade waste to intermediate waste in an attempt to try and push through a egregious program while attempting to insult the intelligence of the majority of informed South Australians who don’t want a risky radioactive dump here. https://www.facebook.com/groups/344452605899556/

March 19, 2018 Posted by | - incidents, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Human error caused 71% of Australia’s radiation incidents in 2016: not a good omen for transporting radioactive trash

 Anti-Nuclear Coalition South Australia   Australian Radiation Incident Register 2016, ARPANSA

71% of incidents was caused by human error, primarily in hospital based medical procedures. Radioactive waste had no statistically meaningful contribution within the Register.

Transporting radioactive waste across the country is bound to increase the probability of human error in previously unaffected environments nationwide; whilst placing a radioactive suppository in South Australia will not reduce human errors in hospitals.

https://www.arpansa.gov.au/s…/g/files/net3086/f/arir2016.pdf

February 3, 2018 Posted by | - incidents, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

“Significant radiation dose” received by Lucas Heights worker in nuclear accident

Radioactive liquid spills on worker at Lucas Heights nuclear reactor in Sydney http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/national/radioactive-liquid-spills-on-worker-at-lucas-heights-nuclear-reactor-in-sydney/news-story/a14c71d0d093ddad94d39f5ea614359f, Peter Jean, Political Reporter, The Advertiser, December 14, 2017 A WORKER received a “significant radiation dose” when a vial of radioactive liquid spilt onto their hands in the most serious recorded safety incident to ever occur at Sydney’s Lucas Heights nuclear reactor.

The Advertiser can reveal the accident occurred on August 22 when a vial of the nuclear medicine product Molybdenum-99 was dropped when its cap was being removed during a quality-control test. The incident was rated “severe” by regulators and has led to changes in safety procedures.

Molybdenum-99 is produced by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation at Lucas Heights, below, for use in cancer and heart disease scans.

ANSTO Health general manager Mark Moore said the analyst has a slightly elevated risk of developing skin cancer after the liquid spilt on their hands.

“The analyst was working in a shielded fume cupboard that, in normal operation, limits a dose received, but the dropping of the vial resulted in the radiation dose,’’ Mr Moore said.

“Our employee remains at work and is currently performing alternative quality assessment work in the nuclear medicine field.”

Mr Moore said the staff member had burn-like symptoms, including blistering and reddening of the skin.

“While ANSTO is still waiting to be advised on the final estimate dose by an independent clinical specialist, we know it was above the annual statutory dose limit of 500 millisieverts, and expect to be issued with a formal breach from the regulator,” Mr Moore said.

“At this stage, the dose is estimated to be more than 20 Sieverts, which is 40 times above the extremity dose limit.”

The incident was reported to the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

An ARPANSA investigation criticised some safety practices in Lucas Heights’ radiopharmaceutical production facilities.

December 15, 2017 Posted by | - incidents, New South Wales, reference | Leave a comment

Desert Fireball Network (DFN), captures video of fireball across South Australia

Video emerges of fireball streaking across South Australia sky http://www.9news.com.au/national/2017/07/05/10/47/video-emerges-of-fireball-streaking-across-south-australia-sky   Jul 5, 2017 New video has emerged of the moment a fireball streaked across the sky in South Australia last week.

The fireball, which was captured on CCTV by a business in Port Lincoln, was seen by hundreds of residents around midnight last Friday.

The Desert Fireball Network (DFN), which said in a statement it was tracking the fireball, said it was one of the brightest it had witnessed.

 “It originated from within the solar system, having an orbit around the sun and that it went out almost as far as Mars,” DFN’s spokewoman Eleanor Sansom said.

The DFN said its Mount Ives observatory, which is located south of Lake Gairdner, captured an image of the fireball four minutes before midnight.

Hundreds of people took to social media after witnessing the bright light.

“What I can only guess was a meteor passed over Henley Beach,” one wrote on Reddit. “Saw it from the city, fast moving bright light, green trail, bright flash.”

Earlier this year, stargazers in Queensland were treated to the spectacular sight of a meteor blazing across the night sky from Bundaberg to the Gold Coast.

Experts said that meteor could have been travelling as fast as 10km per second.

 

July 7, 2017 Posted by | - incidents, South Australia | Leave a comment

Uranium miner ERA burned off on day of fire, against Fire Service advice

Uranium miner ERA was told not to burn off on day of blaze: NT Fire Service http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-19/uranium-miner-era-told-not-to-burn-off-on-day-of-blaze/6867590

By Alyssa Betts The Northern Territory Fire and Rescue Service (NTFRS) has revealed it advised Energy Resources of Australia Ltd (ERA) not to burn off on the day the uranium miner started a fire that spread into Kakadu National Park.

The fire, which ERA lit to manage weeds at its Ranger mine near Jabiru on October 1, became wild and threatened important Aboriginal cultural sites before it was extinguished a week later.

It is now being investigated by the federal Department of Environment.

A spokesman for the NTFRS said the organisation was contacted by ERA on the day it started the fire and its recommendation to the group was not to go ahead with the blaze.

“In response to an inquiry from the Ranger mine at 7:00am on the day in question, NTFRS recommended there should be no burn due to the high fire danger that day,” a spokesman said in a brief statement. ERA has previously said it notified Parks Australia the day prior to the fire and they were not advised against the back burn.

The miner has not specifically commented on the NTFRS advice.

“ERA is not required to seek approval or obtain a permit for such activities on the Ranger Project Area,” an ERA spokeswoman said.

“ERA followed its normal protocol to notify stakeholders prior to undertaking weed management activities.”

The miner said that on the day the burn was undertaken there was no fire ban in place in the region where the mine was located.

It has offered to pay for the aerial water bombing operations and said it is conducting its own internal investigation into the fire.

October 21, 2015 Posted by | - incidents, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Uranium miner ERA should be made accountable for fire in Kakadu National Park

Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt has committed to an inquiry into the fire. This is welcome but any inquiry needs to be open and transparent, not simply another yellowcake whitewash.

Kakadu has been burnt but it is ERA who should be in the firing line. The company lacks the commitment, capacity and competence to conduct such a dangerous trade in such a special place and the recent fire is further proof that it is time to close the chapter on uranium mining in Kakadu.

Uranium miner in the firing line over Kakadu burn http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2015/10/13/comment-uranium-miner-firing-line-over-kakadu-burn A week-wildfire-nukelong fire in the World Heritage listed Kakadu has caused significant environmental damage and threatened Aboriginal art and cultural sites, writes Dave Sweeney. The smoke is finally starting to settle over Australia’s largest national park. For a week Kakadu has been burning following the escape of a “controlled” fire lit by the uranium mining company Energy Resources of Australia.

In a case of good luck rather than good management, no one was seriously injured but, as the flames die down and the damage assessment and questions start up, more of ERA’s shrinking credibility has literally gone up in smoke.

While the full extent of the damage is not yet known, the fire burned over 200 square kilometres of the World Heritage listed Kakadu, causing significant environmental damage and threatening ancient and important Aboriginal art and cultural sites. Continue reading

October 14, 2015 Posted by | - incidents, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Govt to investigate ERA’s Ranger uranium mine burnoff and subsequent Kakadu fire

bushfireKakadu bushfire: Dept of Environment to investigate Ranger mine burn-off that spread to national park, ABC News, 9 Oct 15   The federal Environment Department says it will investigate a fire started by Energy Resources Australia (ERA) that spread into Kakadu National Park, threatening important cultural sites.

The fire started at ERA’s Ranger uranium mine a week ago and spread into the World Heritage-listed park, threatening several culturally sensitive Indigenous sites. In a statement to the ABC, a spokesman for Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt described the fire as a “very serious matter”.”Minister Hunt has asked the Department and Parks Australia to conduct a full and thorough investigation into the cause of the fire,” the statement said.

“No permission was sought and no approval was received for the lighting of the fire by ERA.

“We will not hesitate to seek reimbursement for the costs of firefighting if negligence or wrongdoing are in any way shown.

“Additionally, a breach of the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act can result in fines of up to $8.5 million.”

The ABC understands the NT Department of Mines and Energy will also be investigating the fire………

Aboriginal groups angry over fire

Justin O’Brien from the Gunjeihmi Corporation, which represents the area’s traditional owners, said ERA needed “to be taught about the sensitive environment” they operate in. “There’s an argument to say they should be prosecuted for what they’ve done, this is the second year in a row that they’ve done this, It’s almost a replica of last year,” he said.

“They are not learning so they need to be taught about the sensitive environment which they’re operating in.”

The Northern Land Council (NLC) said it was not confident a federal investigation would find anyone accountable for the fire.

Joe Morrison, CEO of the NLC, said he wanted to see traditional fire management practices reinstated.

“There’s been lots of fires and lots of investigations in relation to Kakadu and surrounds for a long time, we wouldn’t want to hold our breath,” Mr Morrison said.

Mr Morrison said he wanted to see Aboriginal people “take control of that agenda and reinstate their traditional fire management practices”. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-09/dept-of-environment-to-investigate-era-kakadu-fire/6842436

October 10, 2015 Posted by | - incidents, Northern Territory, uranium | Leave a comment

Uranium mine fire in Kakadu National Park

bushfireNT uranium mine fire: Traditional owners call on mine operator to take responsibility for blaze http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-07/kakadu-uranium-mine-fire/6832666Traditional owners are calling on the operator of the Ranger Uranium Mine to take responsibility for a fire that is threatening important cultural sites in Kakadu National Park.

They are also warning if the out-of-control fire spreads into Kakadu’s escarpment country, it will be too difficult to contain. Parks Australia said the blaze started when the mine’s operator, Energy Resources of Australia (ERA), began weed management burning which then spread into Kakadu.

Justin O’Brien from the Gunjeihmi Corporation, which represents the area’s traditional owners, said ERA should fund efforts to put out the fire. “I mean there’s an argument to say they should be prosecuted for what they’ve done, this is the second year in a row that they’ve done this, It’s almost a replica of last year,” he said. “They are not learning so they need to be taught about the sensitive environment which they’re operating in.”

Mr O’Brien said the fire was close to escarpment country, where it would be very difficult to put out. “If this fire gets into the escarpment, there’s no water in there,” he said “You can’t do suppression from the air, you cannot get boots on the ground in that country, it’s too rugged. “All you can do is wait for it to put itself out, that’s not acceptable.”

ERA said it notified Parks Australia about the controlled burn and was not instructed to stop the fire from going ahead. Kakadu rangers are due to fly over Kakadu this morning to assess the fire.

Mr O’Brien said hundreds of rock art galleries, plants and animals in Radon Springs are threatened by the fire. One of Kakadu National Park’s most significant cultural sites, Nourlangie Rock, featuring Indigenous rock art showing early contact with Europeans, as well as other art up to 50,000 years old, has been closed to tourists.

October 7, 2015 Posted by | - incidents, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Northern Territory Mines Departments Credibility and ERA’s Contaminants both down the Creek

ENVIRONMENT CENTRE NT – AUSTRALIAN CONSERVATION FOUNDATION 5 JUNE 2015 On World Environment Day NT and national environment organisations have called on the NT Department of Mines to explain why Energy Resources of Australia, operator of the embattled Ranger uranium mine, should not be prosecuted over a major radioactive spill inside the boundaries of Kakadu National Park.

Ranger-CCD-tank-2-uranium

“Today – World Environment Day – marks twelve months since Energy Resources of Australia gained approval to restart processing at Ranger following a major radioactive spill from a collapsed leach tank in December 2013,” said Lauren Mellor from the Environment Centre NT.

“That a spill of over 1.3 million litres of radioactive slurry happened inside a World Heritage listed National Park is unacceptable: that we still don’t know why twelve months after operations have been resumed is derelict”.

Environment groups are concerned that a subsequent string of regulatory failures indicates that the NT Mines Department is ill-equipped to meet its responsibilities to protect the environment, workers and communities.

In the 12 months since the Ranger restart was approved DME has:

  • Failed to release its report into the 2013 radioactive spill accident, even to other Investigative Taskforce member agencies or Traditional Owners.
  • Failed to prosecute ERA for clear operational breaches under the Mines Management Act to improve safety and environmental protection at Ranger.
  • Been unable to oversight ERA’s water monitoring due to staff shortages and deficient testing, meaning at some sites with contamination trends there was no independent oversight.
  • Not implemented a key recommendation of the Independent Expert’s incident report into the leach tank failure and radioactive spill calling for a complete regulatory overhaul at Ranger.
  • Failed to address contamination trends in Gulungul Creek, part of Kakadu National Park downstream from the mines leaking tailings dam. DME must apply statutory requirements to its deficient monitoring program as recommended by a 2003 Senate Inquiry into Ranger Uranium Mine. This is despite significant spikes of electrical conductivity indicating impacts from the mine are now being seen in Kakadu waters.

“The NT Mines Minister’s inaction on this major incident appears to be a case of prioritising the operations of Energy Resources of Australia above the protection of Kakadu National Park,” said ACF campaigner Dave Sweeney.

World Environment Day is a perfect time to send a clear message that poor mining practises are neither acceptable, nor above the law. Kakadu deserves better than complacency,” concluded Mr Sweeney.

Contact:   Lauren Mellor, Environment Centre NT, 0413 534 125  Dave Sweeney, Australian Conservation Foundation, 0408 317 812

June 6, 2015 Posted by | - incidents, Northern Territory, politics | Leave a comment

Northern Territory Government fails to act on radioactive spill by Energy resources of Australia

June 6, 2015 Posted by | - incidents, aboriginal issues, Northern Territory | Leave a comment