Though major environmental conflicts at the Jabiluka Uranium Mine have not been reported, potential radioactive leaks and landscape issues that can possibly occur are a major issue. The Supervising Scientist Division (SSD) has been monitoring Jabiluka Uranium Mine’s environment since 2000/2001 (Australian Government, unknown). They have been using an environmental monitoring program to record data that may be used to assess the environment (including the people), so that any potential impacts caused by the uranium mine can be avoided. But how does this program work and what data is collected?
The data collected involves monitoring the changes in the air and water using numerous techniques. Water quality is monitored by carrying out periodic assessments of the flow in the Magela and the Gulungul Creek during wet and dry seasons (Australian Government, unknown). The SSD use multi-probe loggers programed to auto sample the water flow at timed-events (Australian Government, unknown). The probe-loggers check for any radium (a radioactive element) within the water and test the water chemistry quality for quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) (Australian Government, unknown). Water trials are composed fortnightly every 4 weeks for QA/QC (Australian Government, unknown).
Biological monitoring includes (1) toxicity monitoring, which is recorded every fortnight during the wet season (2) bioaccumulation in freshwater mussels (which refers to the accumulation of substances, including mussels. In other words, bioaccumulations occurs when an organism absorbs toxic substances), this is recorded annually (3) monitoring the biodiversity in the creeks (Australian Government, unknown).
These biological and water monitoring methods provides the capability of early detection of potential significant effects caused from the uranium mines, such as radioactive leaks, and provides a biodiversity assessment as an another observatory change in water quality (Australian Government, unknown). Water samples are collected from the Magela and Gulungul Creeks, which run past the Ranger and Jabiluka mine site (Australian Government, unknown). Biological monitoring occurs upstream and downstream of the Magela Creek in controlled catchment areas, one area is located near the mines and one is not (Australian Government, unknown).
Air quality assessment includes the monitoring of radon gas and dust, which takes place all year round (Australian Government, unknown). Radon monitoring takes place at stations near the Mudginberri community (near Jabiluka) and in Jabiru (near Ranger Mine).
Though these methods are great and keeps an eye on things accidents still occur. On the 7th of December 2013 a leech tank failure resulted released an uncontrolled amount of mine slurry within the area of the mine site (Australian Government, unknown). SSD has taken an investigation and has confirmed that no impact has occurred on the external environment or any human health. But the...