Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

The government has launched an investigation to determine the cause that led to the release of radioactive waste into the Crocodile River from the Pelindaba nuclear facility. The move was triggered by reports that the facility had released more than the stipulated amount of radioactive liquid into the river last year.

Situated outside Pretoria, the facility directs its radioactive waste into the waters of the Crocodile River which flows into the Hartbeespoort Dam.

While the investigation has been initiated by the minister of minerals and energy affairs Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the department of water affairs and forestry will continueto monitor the situation.The minister has issueda warning that toughaction would be taken against the facility if itwas found during thecourse of the investigations that negligence was thecause of the unauthorised releases.

Meanwhile, preliminary reports have stated that the discharged amounts -- about 30 per cent more than allowed -- had had very little impact on the river's ecology itself and posed no threat to the people residing in the vicinity and dependent on the river. Tests on the river has so far shown no increased radioactivity.

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