Ranger Uranium Environmental Inquiry (1976-1977)
|Research | Report
|The Ranger Uranium Environmental Inquiry (RUEI), otherwise known as the Fox Report is the foundation for current policy on uranium mining in Australia. In 1975 a commission was established under section 11 of the Environment Protection (Impact of Proposals) Act 1974 to carry out the RUEI by inquiring into environmental aspects of a mining proposal by the then Australian Atomic Energy Commission (forerunner of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation) and Ranger Uranium Mines Pty Ltd. The inquiry's basic interest was in "environmental aspects." For the purposes of the inquiry, the term "environment" was defined as "all aspects of the surroundings of man, whether affecting him as an individual or in his social groupings."
The Commission also took evidence more broadly on the question of mining uranium, on the basis that many people were opposed to the proposal on the grounds of the risks and dangers in the use of uranium in the nuclear power industry.
The Inquiry produced two reports, the first dated 28 October 1976 and the second the 17 May 1977. The second report included a report under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 which dealt with a land claim in the Ranger area.
|The main conclusions of the Reports were that:
The hazards of mining and milling uranium, if those activities were properly regulated and controlled, were not such as to justify a decision not to develop Australian uranium mines;
The hazards involved in the ordinary operations of nuclear power reactors, if those operations were properly regulated and controlled, were not such as to justify a decision not to mine and sell Australian uranium;
Any development of Australian uranium mines should be strictly regulated and controlled.
No sales of Australian uranium should take place to any country not party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Export should be subject to the fullest and most effective safeguards agreements, and be supported by fully adequate back-up agreements applying to the entire civil nuclear industry in the country supplied;
The creation of Kakadu National Park.
The granting of Aboriginal title to a number of areas of land in the Region, including the Ranger Project Area;
The establishment of a comprehensive system of environmental monitoring and research, overseen by a Coordinating Committee representing all the agencies involved and chaired by a Supervising Scientist.
Agreement to mining uranium at Ranger (also at Nabarlek and subsequently at the Olympic Dam Project) proceeded on the basis of the Fox Report.