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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

71 Effect of climate change on the required storage capacity The minimum predicted temperature increase is the extreme scenario for water balance modelling since this would minimise evaporation and hence maximise the required storage volume. The minimum predicted increase of 0.35C over the next 30 years is insufficient to have any significant impact on evaporation. There is no need, therefore, to adjust the hydrological model to take the effect of temperature change into account. The maximum predicted change in annual rainfall from global warming over the next 30 years is 1%. There is, therefore no need to repeat the simulation of the water management system to take this effect into account. The effect of climate change will be negligible. The effect of the predicted increase in storm intensity due to global warming has been assessed using the results of a sensitivity analysis. The results indicate that this increase in storm intensity would not have any significant impact on the required storage capacity of the water management system at Jabiluka. Risk assessment of the ERA proposal A risk assessment has been carried out for the water management system proposed by ERA for the Jabiluka mine. In this context, it is important to note that tailings will not be stored at the surface. The principle hazard that needs to be assessed is the possible impact on people and on downstream ecosystems arising from the unplanned discharge of water that has been in contact with uranium ore. In conducting the risk assessment, estimates have been made of the concentraions of solutes in runoff from the ore stockpile. All of these concentrations are considered to be maximum expected values and some are likely to be significant over-estimates. The risk assessment included a contingency situation in which the accumulated runoff from the catchment of the water storage pond at Jabiluka exceeds the capacity of the pond and the excess water from the Total Containment Zone is diverted and allowed to flow freely to Swift Creek. Also assessed is the risk to the environment associated with structural failure of the water storage pond arising from overtopping of the pond, static failure of the constructed embankment, or the occurrence of a severe earthquake. Risks associated with exceeding the available water storage capacity Estimates have been made of radiation exposure of members of the public resulting from an exceptional Wet season in which the storage capacity of the water retention pond is exceeded and the excess water is discharged to Swift Creek. The probability that any member of the public would receive a radiation dose of 20 Sv on one occasion during the 30 year life of the mine would be less than 1 in 10,000. The annual dose limit recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection for members of the public is 1000 Sv per annum. The conclusion is, therefore, that the water management system proposed by ERA for Jabiluka is one that poses an insignificant radiological risk to people living in the vicinity of the mine and consuming traditional foods obtained from the waterbodies downstream from the mine. Estimates have also been made of probable effects on aquatic animals resulting from an exceptional Wet season in which the storage capacity of the water retention pond is exceeded and the excess water is discharged to Swift Creek. The assessment included both radiological and chemical exposure. The conclusion reached is that, under normal circumstances, no effect on aquatic animals living in Swift Creek downstream from the Jabiluka mine would be expected to occur even when the volume of excess water

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