Territory Stories

Assessment of the Jabiluka Project : report of the Supervising Scientist to the World Heritage Committee



Assessment of the Jabiluka Project : report of the Supervising Scientist to the World Heritage Committee


Johnston, A.; Prendergast, J. B.; Bridgewater, Peter


E-Publications; E-Books; PublicationNT; Supervising Scientist Report; 138




Alligator Rivers Region

Table of contents

Main report--Appendix 2 of the Main Report. Submission to the Mission of the World Heritage Committee by some Australian Scientists ... --Attachment A. Johnston A. and Needham S. 1999. Protection of the environment near the Ranger uranium mine--Attachment B. Bureau of Meteorology 1999. Hydrometeorological analysis relevant to Jabiluka--Attachment C. Jones, R.N., Hennessy, K.J. and Abbs, D.J. 1999. Climate change analysis relevant to Jabiluka--Attachment D. Chiew, F and Wang, Q.J. 1999. Hydrological anaysis relevant to surface water storage at Jabiluka--Attachment E. Kalf, F. and Dudgeon, C. 1999. Analysis of long term groundwater dispersal of contaminants from proposed Jabiluka mine tailings repositories--Appendix 2 of Attachment E. Simulation of leaching on non-reactive and radionuclide contaminants from proposed Jabiluka silo banks.




Uranium mill tailings - Environmental aspects - Northern Territory - Alligator Rivers Region; Environmental impact analysis - Northern Territory - Jabiluka; Uranium mines and mining - Environmental aspects - Northern Territory - Jabiluka; Jabiluka - Environmental aspects

Publisher name

Environment Australia

Place of publication

Canberra (A.C.T.)


Supervising Scientist Report; 138


1 volume (various pagings) : illustrations, maps

File type






Copyright owner

Environment Australia



Parent handle


Citation address


Related items

https://hdl.handle.net/10070/462403; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/462400; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/462405; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/462406; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/462408; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/462409; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/462411

Page content

95 7.7 Transport of uranium from the Jabiluka mine The transport of uranium product is subject to the requirements of the Northern Territory Radioactive Ores and Concentrates (Packaging and Transport) Act. Under this act, any transport of uranium product outside the boundaries of the Jabiluka mine lease or the Ranger Project Area is forbidden except in accordance with a current Licence to Transport Radioactive Material issued under that Act. Further, the storage of uranium product outside the boundaries of the Jabiluka mine lease or the Ranger Project Area is also forbidden except in accordance with a current Licence to Store Radioactive Material. Together, these two legal instruments specify the route that must be followed, the places where the uranium product may be stored en route to the Port of Darwin, the security measures which must be in place, the communication and emergency equipment which must be available, and the training requirements for the person in charge of the vehicles conveying the uranium product. They also require that the uranium product be packaged and transported in accordance with the Code of Practice for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Substances 1990, which includes the total text of the International Atomic Energy (IAEA) Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material. Uranium product is insoluble powder with a low specific activity (radiation concentration). It is predominantly an alpha and beta particle emitter, however, it also emits low levels of gamma radiation. The hazard associated with uranium product is the inhalation of particles in the respirable size range. The requirements for the packaging and transport of uranium product are designed to minimise the risk from that hazard. Uranium product is contained within sealed and lined 205 litre drums. The drums are arranged within purpose built racks to prevent movement and are secured within standard freight containers that are locked using tamper evident devices. The transport containers are then conveyed on trucks to the Port of Darwin, from which they are loaded on to a cargo vessel for export. Each 205 litre drum is individually labelled in accordance with the IAEA Transport Regulations, as is each freight container. Each truck carrying uranium product carries emergency equipment including a first aid kit, dust masks, and other items which would enable the driver to safely establish a cordon around any spilled material. In addition, two emergency trailers and trained emergency response crews are on call for each consignment of uranium product. The trailers contain equipment that would allow the crew to safely collect any spilt uranium product. If a transport accident occurred resulting in a spillage of uranium product, the dominating hazard would be due to the inhalation of the product. The emergency procedures and equipment are designed to minimise the inhalation of product to trivial levels, however, it is possible that non-trivial exposure could occur to a person who was incapacitated in the transport accident. Assuming that a person without respiratory protection was exposed to air with a moderately high dust loading of one milligram per cubic metre of uranium product, it would take several hours for that person to inhale enough product to result in a committed effective dose equal to the annual dose limit for members of the public. This is a very unlikely scenario considering the response time of the emergency response crews. It should also be noted that there has never been a transport accident involving the release of uranium product during the life of the Ranger mine. The hazard to the environment posed by uranium product is very low as it is an insoluble powder of low specific activity. Decontamination of an area that has been contaminated with