Journalists (and bloggers) have discovered that spills are big news. There is always the element of failure, of human ineptitude, environmental impact, and an aggrieved local ready to state that all future headaches will be attributed to the spill. The most recent is a spill of radioactive fluids at the Ranger Mine in Australia. Here is part of the report:
A leach tank with 1,450 cubic metre capacity failed at Ranger Mine spilling mud, water, ore and acid. Workers discovered the breech at 1 a.m. Saturday, a hole in the side of Leach Tank 1. A crane attempted to block the hole but was toppled when the tank gave way. No personnel were injured. Energy Resources Australia (ASX:ERA), Ranger Mine’s operators, said the spill was contained. “Containment systems stopped the flow, and this has meant there is no impact to the surrounding environment,” said ERA General Manager Operations Tim Eckersley.
And that should be that: There probably were secondary containment systems around the tank and nothing went anywhere.
But the mine is in a park. And what journalist could resist the remark about the obvious?:
The company said that it is “. . . confident that the nearby Kakadu National Park will not be impacted as a result of this incident.” The park, which surrounds Ranger Mine, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Credibility rests on a measured response to a rationally evaluated incident. But, as I have remarked, there is always a local who can exaggerate beyond credibility. In this case we have this over-the-top statement:
Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation called the accident a “catastrophic failure.”
This is not a catastrophe by any measure. But what a incendiary statement! There was probably a war dance to celebrate the chance to say something.