Radionuclides and metals in freshwater mussels of the upper South Alligator River

Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2004

Internal Report 487
Hogan A, Peck M & Kennett R
Supervising Scientist Division

About the report

During an inspection of the Gunlom area in 1999, a staff member of the Supervising Scientist Division found a small amount of tailings near the road that had been uncovered by the rain and road works. The tailings that were found were leftover from uranium mining that took place in the 1950s and 1960s. In October 2000 the Environmental Research Institute of the Supervising Scientist (eriss) and Parks used an airborne survey to try and find all the tailings in that area.

To help with the information we needed to gather, eriss went down to the South Alligator Valley in November 2000 and spoke to Park Rangers and some Aboriginal people about the tailings. After this meeting it was decided that eriss would collect some mussels with Aboriginal people and Park Rangers from 6 locations along and in the South Alligator River.

The mussels that were collected were taken back to the eriss laboratory for analysis. Since then eriss have spoken to some Park Rangers and some Aboriginal people about the results of the tests we conducted. This report is about the results of the tests on the mussels and what eriss told people about the mussels that were collected.