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Democrats call for Ranger Mine closure.

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DEMOCRATS CALL FOR RANGER MINE CLOSURE The Australian Democrats Nuclear Spokesperson, Senator Lyn Allison, today called for the Ranger Uranium Mine to be closed until the investigation has been completed into yesterday's contamination incident and until changes had been made to the regulatory framework.

"In response to a question I asked in the Senate today, the Government admitted the incident had resulted in radioactive pollution levels 400 times the required limit, that workers had been advised to seek medical advice, and that the incident was unacceptable.

"Given this, and the fact that around 180 contamination incidents have occurred at Ranger in the past, the mine should be closed until the outcome of the Supervising Scientist’s investigation. Changes are needed to the regulatory framework to ensure this does not happen again," Senator Allison said.

"Last year, a Senate Committee inquiry initiated by the Australian Democrats found there were serious deficiencies in the way in which Ranger was regulated and recommended improvements. These included changes to the uranium tailings management, an increase in the monitoring sites and compliance points in and around the mine, and better funded laboratory testing.

"This latest incident vindicates the Senate Committee's findings and raises questions about why the Government has refused to take action to address these issues.

“The report is now 6 months old and the Government have not even provided a response to the Committee. How many more incidents will it take until the Government acknowledges the current regulatory system is inadequate,” Senator Allison concluded.

Media contact: Brian Littlechild 02 6277 3076