A burst leaching tank at Ranger Hill mine has oozed what is thought to be up to a million litres of acidic radioactive slurry into the Kakadu National Park overnight.
At around 1 am workers discovered a hole in the tank and were immediately evacuated, concerned the tank would explode.
While no one was injured it is the third security breach at for Energy Resources Australia’s site in just over a month, and traditional landowners are “sick with worry”.
Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt has ordered an immediate clean up and investigation, while Greens Senator Scott Ludlam and the Northern Territory Environment Centre are calling for an indefinite suspension of all operations at the site.
ERS remains insistent that no uranium leaked into the surrounding National Park but local sources have told The ABC otherwise with the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation, which represents the traditional owners of the area, calling it one of the worst nuclear incidents in Australian history.
“This is up to a million litres of radiological material in the form of an acid exploding from a drum, bending a crane, twisting metal all around it, pouring down into stormwater drains, with 20 or so people ordered to evacuate,” Justin O’Brien, chief executive of the GAC told The AAP.
O’Brien plans to contact the World Heritage Committee requesting international help and a comprehensive external audit of what O’Brien said was an “endemically failing site”.
ERA’s plan for an underground expansion of the mine, the Three Deep project, is expected to be impacted by the incident, as it was waiting on the permission from traditional land owners to begin construction.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.