On Wednesday, the Australian Financial Commission (AFC) fined the Energy Corporation of Australia (ECA) $100,000 for failing to take measures to prevent the hot spot from spreading and for failing “to properly assess the risk of a future event” that could lead to a leak.
In a statement, the AFC said the AEC had failed to consider that “a major event” could “potentially trigger an event that could be hazardous or catastrophic”.
The commission also noted that the AEA failed to take “measures that were in the public interest” including taking a “comprehensive look at the risk to the community and to the environment”.
“This failure to take such action may have had the effect of preventing an incident from occurring,” the statement said.
The AEC also said that “it did not adequately assess the potential for a future hot spot and did not take into account the risk posed by that event”.
“The Commission has serious concerns about the adequacy of the [ECA’s] remedial plan and the level of risk that the risk is posing to the health, safety and welfare of its members and the public,” the AFC wrote.
“The AEC has a responsibility to ensure that it takes appropriate actions to ensure the safety of its Members and the community.”
The hot spot was discovered on Tuesday morning.
A spokesperson for the AEE told the ABC that the leak had caused “significant damage” to a nearby gas and electrical plant, but it was not immediately clear what that meant.
“We are working with our customers to resolve the issue and we expect to be able to resume normal operations within the next 24 hours,” the spokesperson said.
“It will be our view that it will take a period of time for the damage to be repaired, but in the meantime the AAE has decided to close the station and the ACE will be monitoring the site.”
It is not the first time that the hot spots have been discovered in the area.
A hot spot in August 2016 was also discovered.
That was around the same time as a huge gas leak at a nearby nuclear power plant, which prompted the closure of the plant.
The EPA has been monitoring the hot zone for months.
The hot spots were discovered in January this year after a fire at a large gas pipeline broke out in the vicinity of the hot area.
The fire was extinguished but the hot water, which is used to heat buildings, remained hot for more than a week.
The leak is believed to have started when a valve was left open at the nearby Chevron refinery and it is now believed that the fire could have spread to the nearby AEE.
The regulator said it was monitoring the situation and was “working closely with Chevron”.