Infonews.co.nz The application to routinely tranship Uranium Ore Concentrate (UOC) from Australia, through the Ports of Nelson, Napier, Tauranga and Auckland en route to France has been approved by the Environmental Risk Management Authority.
Each consignment comprises of one or more 20ft shipping containers containing 48 x 205 L steel drums of the UOC and has been approved for regular shipments until 31 December 2014.
A second application has also been approved for routine transhipment of mixed oxides of Uranium through the Port of Auckland en route from Australia to Papeete, Tahiti with the final destination being the USA or Canada. These shipments will occur fortnightly during the year, with an expectation of between 12 and 20 transits annually of containers numbering between 2 and 10 for each transit.
From a radiological perspective, the applicant states UOC is classified as a “low specific activity” material, meaning that it has a relatively low level of radioactivity per unit mass. It is also relatively dense which means that in the event of a spillage, it is unlikely to be “blown around”.
The ore will be shipped by BHP Billiton Olympic Dam Corporation who said the radioactive properties of UOC make it both easy to detect and therefore easy to cleanup.