Australian news, and some related international items

Tony Abbott’s secret nuclear dreams are out of step with reality

Abbott-dancing-3It’s time for Abbott to dump secret nuclear ambitions  Echo Net Daily, By Giles Parkinson, RenewEconomy, 29 July 14 Michael Goldsworthy is not the only one  who has been betting the house on  nuclear beating renewables to be the low carbon energy source of the future.

Last month, Goldsworthy announced that the ASX-listed Silex Systems would look to jettison its solar assets and focus instead on its uranium laser enrichment technology, confident that the global nuclear industry would rebound and that his technology would be worth billions within a decade.

Now its partners, GE and Hitachi, have dashed the plans by suspending all work on the nuclear technology.

Two of the world’s biggest suppliers to the nuclear industry no longer have faith in the industry. Silex shares crashed in response. The Tony Abbott government, it seems, is prepared to do exactly the same, jettison the country’s renewable energy industry and achievements in favour of a belief that the centralised form of generation will remain dominant for decades to come, and that nuclear will one day be the answer.

Numerous studies suggest that this is nonsense, that the emergence of solar, storage and software solutions will results in at least half the world’s electricity generated (and stored) ‘on site’.

But the conservative side of politics doesn’t want to know. It wants to extend the life of fossil fuel generators, pursue various of forms of emission reduction technologies for coal generators through its Direct Action plan, and leave the door open for nuclear.

The nuclear option is as yet unstated by the Abbott government, but you don’t have to scratch far beneath the surface to reveal a deep-seated belief in nuclear energy.

Abbott has surrounded himself with nuclear advocates. Most significantly, the man he appointed to adjudge the fate of the renewable energy target, and the wind and solar industries in Australia, climate change denier Dick Warburton, is convinced that nuclear is the only alternative to coal.

In an opinion piece he co-wrote for Quadrant magazine in 2011, Warburton wrote:

‘Except for nuclear power, there are no straightforward strategies for reducing dependence on fossil fuels without large economic costs. Wind and solar generators often cannot function when needed.’
Others in Abbott’s orbit of business advisors share similar views. So do many of his cabinet colleagues and backbenchers.

Industry minister Ian Macfarlane has explicitly written in nuclear as a consideration for the upcoming energy white paper.

In an issues paper released last December, Macfarlane’s team wrote that  nuclear technologies continue ‘to present an option for future reliable energy that can be readily dispatched into the market’.

It also says: ‘A growing area of global interest is in the use of small modular reactors, which have the potential to reduce the cost uncertainties and construction time frames associated with current generation reactor designs.’

The conservative commentariat is full of references to nuclear as a potential solution to safe-guarding Australia’s cheap energy status ………….

July 30, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Secret gagging of the Australian Press is revealed by Wikileaks

highly-recommended civil-liberty-2smWikiLeaks reveals Australian gagging order over political bribery allegations Superinjunction reported to have been issued on 19 June to block reporting of claims involving international politicians   The Guardian, Wednesday 30 July 2014 

A sweeping gagging order issued in Australia to block reporting of any bribery allegations involving several logo-Wikileaksinternational political leaders in the region has been exposed by WikiLeaks.

The prohibition emerged from a criminal case in the Australian courts and applies throughout the country. It was issued by the criminal division of the supreme court of Victoria in Melbourne “to prevent damage to Australia’s international relations that may be caused by the publication of material that may damage the reputations of specified individuals who are not the subject of charges in these proceedings”.

The Australia-wide gagging order is a superinjunction, which means it also contains a clause insisting that the terms of the order itself should remain secret. It was issued on 19 June and states: “Subject to further order, there be no disclosure, by publication or otherwise, of any information (whether in electronic or paper form) derived from or prepared for the purposes of these proceedings including the terms of these orders.”

In a statement published with the leak, Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, said the gagging order relates to a case that “concerns the subsidiaries of the Australian central bank”.

He said it was the first blanket suppression order of this nature in Australia since 1995. “With this order, the worst in living memory, the Australian government is not just gagging the Australian press, it is blindfolding the Australian public,” said Assange, who is himself Australian. “This is not simply a question of the Australian government failing to give this international corruption case the public scrutiny it is due. Foreign minister Julie Bishop must explain why she is threatening every Australian with imprisonment in an attempt to cover up an embarrassing corruption scandal involving the Australian government. The concept of ‘national security’ is not meant to serve as a blanket phrase to cover up serious corruption allegations involving government officials, in Australia or elsewhere. It is in the public interest for the press to be able to report on this case.”

Assange has been holed up for more than two years in the Ecuadorian embassy in London evading extradition to Sweden where he is wanted to face questioning over allegations of sexual assault.

July 30, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | Leave a comment

How the Australian media WRONGLY hyped up Silex Uranium Enrichment Technology


GLE suspends Silex laser treatment of uranium as market bites, Matthew Peach
29 Jul 2014
Focus switches to reduced US program after Japanese shutdown narrows market; Silex hopes for resumption when conditions pick up. Silex Systems, an Australian high-tech company developing energy and materials technologies, has announced that the Licensee for Silex’s Uranium Enrichment Technology,GE-Hitachi Global Laser Enrichment, is reducing its funding and commercialisation program of the laser treatment technology in response to “current adverse market conditions” – with the result that related operations in Australia are stopping.
GLE will consolidate its efforts on the technology development activities to its Wilmington facility in North Carolina, USA. The Silex annoncement said, “most contractor-based work on the project will be suspended, with the project facility near Oak Ridge, Tennessee to be placed in a safe storage mode, and GLE-funded activities at the laser development facility at Lucas Heights, Sydney, to cease.”………
Dr Michael Goldsworthy, Silex CEO and Managing Director, said, “the global nuclear industry is still suffering the impacts of the Fukushima event and the shutdown of the entire Japanese nuclear power plant fleet in 2011. Demand for uranium has been slower to recover than expected and enrichment services are in significant oversupply.”……..
Media speculationJust two days before the GLE announcement, Australian daily newspaper the Sydney Morning Herald suggested that “With a share price down 65 per cent in the past year, [Silex] is one of the best intelligent speculations on the ASX (Australian Stock Exchange)”, adding, “The enrichment market is expected to be worth US$10 billion by 2019.”

July 30, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, media, uranium | Leave a comment

World Nuclear Industry Status Report: Executive Summary

highly-recommendedExecutive Summary: World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2014: Paris, London, Washington, 29 July 2014.

The world’s nuclear statistics are distorted by an anomaly whose cause is not technical but political. Three years after the Fukushima events started unfolding on 11 March 2011, government, industry and international institutional organizations continue to misrepresent the effects of the disaster on the Japanese nuclear program. In statistical documents on the issue, with the exception of the six units at Fukushima Daiichi, the entire Japanese reactor fleet of 48 units is considered operating. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) classifies all of these Japanese reactors as “in operation”—11 percent of what the IAEA considers the world nuclear fleet—despite the fact that none of them have generated power since September 2013, only two produced electricity in 2013 and just ten in 2012. The average outage of these Japanese “operational” units is over three years, as this report documents. In fact, three units have not generated power for the past seven years. To find a more appropriate way to deal with this situation, the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2014 proposes a new category called Long-Term Outage (LTO).

Taking into account reactors in LTO, the number of operational reactors in the world drops by 39 (9 percent) from 427 in July 2013 to 388 in July 2014—50 fewer than at the peak in 2002— and brings world nuclear statistics into closer alignment with reality.

Mycle Schneider, Project Coordinator and Lead Author of the WNISR, states: “It is time to match the international nuclear statistics to the industrial reality. The introduction of the new category Long-Term Outage (LTO) more appropriately represents the operational status of nuclear power plants and provides industry analysts, political decision-makers and investors with a tool that mirrors empirical facts rather than wishful thinking.”

The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2014 (WNISR) provides a comprehensive overview of nuclear power plant data, including information on operation, production and construction. The WNISR assesses the status of new-build programs in existing as well as in potential newcomer nuclear countries and looks in detail at how the changing market conditions are affecting the economics of nuclear power. WNISR2014 also updates a Fukushima Status Report featured for the first time in 2013 that triggered widespread media and analyst attention. While the Nuclear Power vs. Renewable Energy chapter provides comparative data on investment, capacity, and generation and assesses how nuclear power performs in systems with high renewable energy share.

Finally, a detailed country-by-country analysis provides an overview of all 31 countries operating nuclear power plants, with extended sections on China, Japan, and the United States.

Some of the key features of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2014 include:

  • Declining role. Nuclear power’s share of global commercial primary energy production declined from the 2012 low of 4.5 percent, a level last seen in 1984, to a new low of 4.4 percent.
  • Aging. The average age of the world’s operating nuclear reactors to increase and by mid-2014 stood at 28.5 years.
  • Construction Delays. At least 49—including three quarters of the Chinese projects—of the total of 69 construction sites have encountered delays, many of them multi-annual. Construction of two units in Taiwan was halted.
  • Project Cancellations. Several projects have been cancelled and new programs indefinitely delayed, including in the Czech Republic and in Vietnam.
  • Operating Costs Soar. Nuclear generating costs jumped by 16 percent in real terms in three years in France, and several units are shut down in the U.S. because income does not cover operating costs. The economic survival of nuclear plants is also threatened in Belgium, Germany and Sweden.
  • Renewables vs. Nuclear. In 2013 alone, 32 gigawatts (GW) of wind and 37 GW of solar were added to the world power grids. By the end of 2013, China had 91 GW of wind power and 18 GW of solar capacity installed, solar exceeding for the first time operating nuclear capacity. China added four times more solar than nuclear capacity in the past year. And Spain generated more power from wind than from any other source, outpacing nuclear for the first time. It is also the first time that wind has become the largest electricity generating source over an entire year in any country. Spain has thus joined the list of nuclear countries that produce more electricity from new renewables—excluding large hydro-power—than from nuclear power that includes Brazil, China, Germany, India and Japan.

The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2014 is a © Mycle Schneider Consulting Project.

For further information and full copies of all previous reports see The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2014.

Lead Authors
Mycle Schneider
Antony Froggatt

July 30, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Submissions due by 11 August on BHP proposal for heap leach trial at Olympic Damn uranium mine

text-Please-NoteInvitation for Public Comment on Referral28 Jul 2014;doc

The Commonwealth Environment Minister has received a referral under the
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 in regard to a
proposal by BHP Billiton to construct a heap leach trial demonstration plant
for the leaching of copper and uranium at the Olympic Dam mine in South
Australia. The referral states that the demonstration plant is intended as
a pilot-scale assessment and proof of concept for heap leach technology at
the mine, and that the pilot program will process less than 0.4% of the
mine’s current output of ore. It is planned to consist of a temporary
irrigated heap leach pad containing approximately 36,000 tonnes of material,
a temporary crushing facility, ponds for the capture of liquor, as well as
downstream processing facilities.

The referral triggers a number of ‘matters of national environmental
significance' under the EPBC Act. It automatically qualifies as a ‘nuclear
action’ under the legislation; the referral has also identified that four
listed threatened species and five listed migratory species are either
present, or potentially present, within the proposed development area.

Submissions are due by 11 August.
_detail&proposal_id=7280> EPBC Act referral – Olympic Dam mine uranium and
copper heap leach trial
_detail&proposal_id=7280> &proposal_id=7280

Title of Referral: BHP Billiton Olympic Dam Corporation Pty
Ltd/Mining/Olympic Dam, Roxby Downs, SA/SA/Olympic Dam Heap Leach Trial,
Roxby Downs, SA

July 30, 2014 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

Submissions will challenge Western Australia’s EPA report approving Kintyre uranium project

New WA uranium mine given environmental approval amid concerns, Australian Mining  29 July, 2014 Ben Hagemann The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Western Australia has given conditional approval to the proposed Kintyre uranium mine in the Little Sandy Desert.

Canadian-based mining company Cameco plans to truck uranium oxide from 270 kilometres north east of Newman to the Port of Adelaide. The EPA’s report is open for a two-week appeal period starting Monday, July 28, and closing on August 11……….

Environmental groups have voiced concerns about impacts on the nearby Karlamilyi National Park, with the Conservation Council expressing their disappointment with the EPA approval.

Conservation Council spokesperson Mia Pepper said most of the EPAs conditions were administrative, and that environmental protections have been deferred to the Department of Mines and Petroleum.

“In this case, that includes mine closure, rehabilitation and tailings management and those are the aspects where uranium mines have failed in Australia to deliver good environmental outcomes,” she said.

“That’s something that we think the EPA should be looking at more closely.”

Pepper said the Conservation Council will make a submission regarding the EPAs report, and will support other organisations wishing to do the same.

July 30, 2014 Posted by | legal, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

BHP expansion of Olympic Damn uranium mine just isn’t happening

Olympic expansion years away, says BHP  THE AUSTRALIAN JULY 29, 2014  by Matt Chambers  and Barry Fitzgerald BHP Billiton is unlikely to ­approve a long awaited expansion of the Olympic Dam copper and uranium mine in South ­Australia’s outback this decade, with the miner revealing it will take four years to trial a processing method it hopes will help make the project profitable.

Under a $30 billion expansion plan shelved in late 2012, BHP was last year to have started construction on the project, which would involve digging the world’s ­biggest open pit. Yesterday, the company showed how far away any decision to expand was when it fleshed out comments made in September by chief executive ­Andrew Mackenzie that expansion would need a technological breakthrough. BHP-white-elephant In documents filed with the federal Environment Department yesterday, BHP kicked off the approvals process for a trial plant to test heap-leaching of copper and uranium ores as a lower-cost ­alternative to the previous ­expansion plan. If all goes to plan, the earliest a demonstration plant would start construction is July next year, with a three-year operation period targeted to start in October 2016. “While the application is for a trial, a successful trial will not necessarily lead to a full-scale heap-leach project,” BHP said. “Further, the extent and ­nature of any potential full-scale project is not known at this stage.”

    The application is only to study processing the ore, with no mention of how BHP would ­access the deep orebody…………

Under previous government-approved plans, BHP had been planning a staged increase in annual production to a world-class 750,000 tonnes of copper and 19,000 tonnes of uranium, the latter being problematic given the collapse in prices and demand for the nuclear material in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster. The big-bang approach to expansion was abandoned by BHP in August 2012 in line with the new era of capital austerity that swept the industry in response to weaker commodity prices. It involved the development of a super pit which would have taken more than five years to complete, with the Olympic Dam orebody sitting under 400m of overburden. The lack of cash flow during the time it would take to develop the open-cut mine ­spooked both BHP and the ­market, where agitation for greater shareholder returns over more big expansions has been become the new mantra. South Australia had been banking on the original $30bn plan to underpin an economic surge for the struggling state. Mr Mackenzie undertook in September to update the state on the way forward for Olympic Dam inside of a year. The investigation of the heap-leach option has been an open ­secret, with laboratory test work at Wingfield in suburban Adelaide under way since the expansion was canned….. In order to test the processing method at a larger and more integrated scale, BHP has lodged an application for assessment by the federal and South Australian governments to build and operate a demonstration plant on the existing mining lease at Olympic Dam. “Should approval be granted, and subject to BHP approvals, construction of the demonstration plant is expected to commence in the second half of (calendar) 2015, with a projected trial period of 36 months which is expected to commence in late 2016,’’ the company said. The heap-leach trial is only part of the thought process BHP has to go through to determine the best, and lowest-cost, way to maximise returns from Olympic Dam, one of the world’s biggest deposits of copper and uranium. The initial plan was supported by a mine-life capability from the underlying resource base of more than 40 years. BHP has yet to elaborate on what the move towards a heap-leach operation would mean for the end products produced at Olympic Dam.


July 30, 2014 Posted by | business, South Australia, uranium | Leave a comment

Radiation the only explanation for abnormal blood in Fukushima monkeys

exclamation-Guardian: Abnormal blood in monkeys linked to Fukushima disaster — Study: ‘Epidemic infectious disease’ could occur — “We cannot find other reasons except radiation” — Concern about strontium-90 & other radioactive materials besides cesium — “Potential direct relevance to humans”

The Guardian
, July 24, 2014: Japanese monkeys’ abnormal blood linked to Fukushima disaster – study – Wild monkeys in the Fukushima region of Japan have blood abnormalities linked to the radioactive fall-out from the 2011 nuclear power plant disaster, according to a new scientific study that may help increase the understanding of radiation on human health. [...] Professor Shin-ichi Hayama, at the Nippon Veterinary and Life Science University in Tokyo, told the Guardian [...] “This first data from non-human primates — the closest taxonomic relatives of humans — should make a notable contribution to future research on the health effects of radiation exposure in humans… The low haematological values in the Fukushima monkeys could have therefore been due to the effect of any radioactive materials… We did not conclude the low-blood cell counts are caused by caesium but so far we cannot find other reasons except radiation.”

Scientific Reports (, July 24, 2014: In April 2012 we carried out a 1-year hematological study on a population of wild Japanese monkeys inhabiting the forest area of Fukushima City. This area is located 70 km from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant […] Total muscle cesium concentration in Fukushima monkeys was in the range of 78-1778 Bq/kg, whereas the level of cesium was below the detection limit in all [monkeys from 400 km away.] Fukushima monkeys had significantly low white and red blood cell counts, hemoglobin, and hematocrit [...] These results suggest that the exposure to some form of radioactive material contributed to hematological changes in Fukushima monkeys. […] low hematological values in Fukushima monkeys could have [...] been due to the effect of other radioactive materials. […] The hematological changes in the Fukushima monkeys might likely be the result of exposure to some form of radioactive material, but only radiocesium concentration was measured in this study. […] We therefore plan to investigate in a future study the underlying mechanism in detail with the aim of detecting other radioactive materials, such as 90Sr. […]

The Australian, Higher Education Reporter John Ross, July 25, 2014: Reality apes movie for Fukushima monkeys — In the latest Planet of the Apes movie, a virus created in a lab pushes primate evolution into overdrive while morphing into a simian flu that wipes out most of the human race. Scientists monitoring the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown may be witnessing something similar in real life [...] “Low blood cell count … may suggest that the immune system has been compromised, potentially making the entire troop susceptible to, for ­example, epidemic infectious disease.” The study suggests strongly that the blood changes are the result of nuclear contamination [...]

Fox News, July 25, 2014: “The findings are consistent with what our group had found with red blood cells and hemoglobin content for children living around Chernobyl,” said Tim Mousseau, a biologist at U. of South Carolina […] “The fact that they are seeing a signal in monkeys living in Fukushima city means that there’s some potential direct relevance to the human population.”

See also: SNL mocks Fukushima — Shows radioactive monkeys replacing Godzilla (VIDEO)

July 30, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear power well and truly beaten by wind power in mitigating climate change

Wind-farm-Waubra-VictoriaWind Energy Beats Nuclear & Carbon Capture For Global Warming Mitigation Clean Technica July 29th, 2014 by   There’s an enduring myth related to wind energy and nuclear energy that needs to be put to bed. That myth is that only nuclear can be scaled to sufficient capacity to reduce the impacts of global warming, and that wind energy is much less scalable so it should be ignored.

Most recently, this appeared as a broad generalization without any supporting evidence in a pro-carbon capture series by a CCS researcher on the Siemens-sponsored Energy Collective, which features this particular myth regularly, being a bit of an echo chamber for it.  Of course the nuclear industry’s PR professionals love this line as well.

And there’s another myth related to carbon capture and sequestration being more significant than renewables that has to be assessed as well.

China is the true test bed for maximum scalability of nuclear vs wind. It has a tremendous gap between demand and generation. It can mostly ignore lack of social license for nuclear. It is building both wind and nuclear as rapidly as possible. It has been on a crash course for both for about the same period of time. It has bypassed most of the regulatory red tape for nuclear which sensibly exists elsewhere given concerns about economic fallout of Fukushima-scale disasters, nuclear proliferation and terrorism. And in four years it has built significantly less nuclear generation capacity than it built of wind generation capacity in 2013 alone…….

Where does this leave the claims about nuclear and CCS?

Nuclear isn’t more scalable than wind or other renewables, in fact it’s going in reverse while renewables are being expanded rapidly. And CCS won’t dodge more climate change than renewables because wind and solar are being built in production rapidly and CCS isn’t and won’t be in comparable scales because the economics don’t support it. Both are busted myths.

Wind energy isn’t the only answer. It is likely to reach a maximum of 30% to 40% of supply in a century worldwide. That’s impressive and amazing, but far from the only tool necessary to deal with climate change. Solar will be in the same range. Storage will likely be necessary somewhere from 15% to 20% and grid interconnections will improve substantially. Biomass and geothermal will add their bits, as will tidal possibly. And demand for electricity will go up a lot as countries become richer and transportation and other forms of energy usage become electrified. It’s a complex space, and CCS has an important if smaller and only bridging role to play in it. Nuclear is useful as well, although diminishing as a percentage of total worldwide generation.

But the heavy lifting will be done by displacing fossil fuel generation with renewables, not trying to mitigate the extraordinary problems with burning fossil fuels or building nuclear generation. That’s what the empirical data tells us.

July 30, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Climate Change theme for Pacific Islands Forum – Tony Abbott will not attend

climate-changePalau has joined leaders from other Pacific nations, including Marshall Islands and Kiribati, in publicly expressing disappointment with Australia’s climate change position.

Pacific leaders to discuss climate change, sustainable fishing during Pacific Islands Forum in Palau Hundreds of delegates from across the Pacific are arriving in Koror in Palau to discuss climate change, non-communicable diseases and protecting marine life. Australia Network News 28 July 14 The 15 members of the Pacific Islands Forum include several countries made up of atolls that barely rise one metre above sea level. They will be joined at the forum, running from July 29 to August 1, by observers from countries including the United States, China and India.

Palau’s President, Tommy Remengesau Jr., has declared the theme of this year’s forum to be ‘The Ocean: Life & Future’. The president’s press secretary, Keobel Sakuma, says the theme recognises the importance of oceans in everyday Pacific life. “Not only as a form of transportation and food security…but also because it connects many other issues, like climate change, NCDs, invasive species,” he said. “Everything that we’re being faced with today in the Pacific in terms of challenges relates to the ocean.”

Climate change

Last year’s Forum adopted the Majuro Declaration for Climate Leadership, which commits the countries to increasing their efforts to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions by turning to alternative, sustainable energy resources.

Mr Remengesau told the United Nations in January the impact of climate change was already being felt in Pacific nations. Continue reading

July 30, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Sydney Hiroshima Day Rally – Sunday August 3

Hiroshima-Never-AgainHiroshima Never Again! Rally Sunday August 3 at 12 noon in Hyde Park North (near Archibald Fountain) Wed 30 Jul 2014  This year’s Hiroshima Day anti-war rally to be held on Sunday August 3 at 12 noon in Hyde Park North (near Archibald Fountain)

Speakers will be Dr Helen Caldicott on Hiroshima Never Again, Ian Rintoul on war creates refugees and Dr Hannah Middleton on the Marshall Islands fight back.

Actor Terry Serio will read a statement and we will be joined by Japanese drummers and dancers and Korean drummers as well as singer Debbie Tennant.

July 30, 2014 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

Australia’s mining leaders pessimistic on growth prospects, BHP slow to expand Olympic Dam

BHP-white-elephant93% of Mining Leaders See Extremely Low or Zero Growth Prospect for Industry in Next 1-2 Years; No Immediate Plans by BHP for Olympic Dam Expansion International Business Times, By Vittorio Hernandez | July 29, 2014 “…….Australian miners are pessimistic about the future of the mining industry, which was responsible for the current economic boom of the country, in the next few years. A survey made among 60 mining leaders in the latest Mining Business Outlook report, released Tuesday by Newport Consulting, found that 93 per cent of the executives find prospects for the industry’s growth over the next one to two years extremely low or zero. Twelve months ago, only over 50 per cent had that outlook………

82 per cent said they lack confidence that large-scale projects wouldresume in the next 12 months, but could stretch to at least three to five years for new projects to develop.

This was confirmed by documents filed by mining giant BHP Billiton (ASX: BHP) with the federal Environment Department to secure approval for a trial plant that would test heap-leaching of copper and uranium ores at lower cost as an alternative to previous plans to expand the $30-billion Olympic Dam copper and uranium mine in South Australia shelved in 2012….”

July 30, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Abbott government blind to the real developments in energy systems

renewable-blinkers-onIt’s time for Abbott to dump secret nuclear ambitions  Echo Net Daily, By Giles Parkinson, RenewEconomy, 29 July 14 “……….Adam Creighton, the Australian’s economics writer, typified the confusion of conservatives about energy choices in his column last month, entitled ‘The wrong call on energy costs’…………

The second is the idea that nuclear is cheap. France is often held out as the prime example of this, but this façade is rapidly fading on the realisation that France will have to spend more in coming years on maintenance than it did on building the plants in the first place. (See graph at the end of story).

France’s Cour des Comptes said in a recent report that the current cost of production for France’s nuclear fleet was EUR 59.8/MWh ($A85/MWh), and will rise as the state-owned EdF invests another EUR 62.5 billion between 2011 and 2025, half of it just on safety measures. That cost will soar to EUR90 billion by 2033.

A Greenpeace report suggested that the safety upgrades needed for France’s 58 nuclear reactors would raise median production costs to 133 euros ($US180) per megawatt-hour (MWh) by 2020.

That estimate, based on an extension of the lifespan of current reactors by 10 years to 50 years and 4.4 billion euros worth of work per reactor, would make nuclear energy less competitive than onshore wind power around 2015, and less competitive than solar by 2020.

A parliamentary committee said the rising cost of France’s nuclear energy is of such a concern and the government should set up independent expert institutions to help it plan long-term energy investments.

The Hollande government has already made a decision, to place a cap on nuclear capacity and ramp up the introduction of renewables, because they see it as the cheaper option.

In the UK, the $24 billion Hinkley C facility is to be built by EdF and some Chinese contractors after getting a guaranteed price of £92.50/MWh 0 nearly double the current average cost of generation in the UK, and a whole heap of subsidies.

As Deutsche Bank pointed out after that contract announcement, EdF effectively handballed the risk of new nuclear to the consumer and the UK government, and Deutsche wondered how the French government could possibly finance any investment in new reactors.

Given that EdF is already cash-flow negative and has such a huge debt, few people have any clue how that could possibly be done.

In Australia, the Abbott government and the conservatives are completely blind to this. Hence their determination stop renewables as if it were part of some subversive green-left agenda. But the longer they delay renewables, the more they risk Australia’s economic indicators following in the path of Silex

July 30, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Senator Larissa Waters slams Abbott Government decision for massive coal mine

Green (Black) Light For Australia’s Largest Coal Mine 29 July 14 Australia’s biggest coal mine, the $16.5 billion Carmichael Coal and Rail Project in Queensland’s Galilee Basin, has been given the nod by Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt; much to the dismay of environmental groups and many Australians.

Minister Hunt has said the project proposed by Indian company Adani could go ahead, subject to 36 conditions (PDF) designed to reduce environmental impact.

The Australian Greens have blasted the decision.

Waters,-Larissa-Senator-1“History will look back on the Abbott Government’s decision today as an act of climate criminality,” said Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson.

“The Abbott Government’s claims that it has put ‘stringent’ conditions on the approval are a joke given the Auditor General last month found that the federal environment department is so under-resourced it is failing to monitor and enforce environmental conditions. Adani has a track record of non-compliance with environmental conditions in India – why take the risk with our climate and Great Barrier Reef?”

Greenpeace also has a list of grievances; among them, the 12 billion litres of water each year from local rivers and underground aquifers that will be needed by the operation, the 60 species at risk and the burning of coal from Carmichael mine producing four times the fossil fuel emissions of New Zealand.

“It is a catastrophe for the climate,” says the group. Environmental issues aside, there may be massive financial risks involved too.

The Greens state Adani is already in “dire financial straits” and earlier this yearan analysis found major coal projects that rely on new export markets such as India face a very uncertain future. India’s Finance Minister also recently announced plans to double the nation’s tax on coal in order to help finance renewable energy projects.

The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) says building renewables is cheaper than constructing imported coal power capacity, they are cheaper to maintain and can be constructed more rapidly.

“The notion that anyone will want to buy our coal in 60 years is economic lunacy, so this project is economically foolhardy as well as an environmental disaster,” said Senator Waters.

July 30, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

A proud call from member of the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy (BASE)

flag-AboriginalA LEGACY OF APATHY AND DEPENDENCY IC Magazine by  on July 29, 2014-“…………. The Abbott government’s 2014-15 federal budget has ripped over 500 million dollars from Indigenous funding nationwide, reducing 150 programs and services to just five. The government’s new ‘Indigenous Advancement Strategy’ will be totally controlled by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. This is the evil and crazy game show they call Australian politics.

We as Aboriginal peoples are already the most marginalized group in this country, what we see happening with this budget is nothing new. Consecutive Australian governments have done the same since federation. Yet this racist Prime Minister feels that he can judge what is in the best interest of our peoples. While he is in power, he will oversee and control us just like the White masters and ‘protectors’ who came before him. But this will not be restricted to slashing Indigenous funding. Coming soon to your community is another 50 million dollars’ worth of new police infrastructure, devoted to creating a permanent police presence in remote Aboriginal communities. If only this was the answer to the political, social and economic problems of this country, oh White master whose poison feet tread on our sacred lands.

I honestly believe that it’s not about how much they take in terms of money. It’s the denial of our basic human rights that concerns me most. It’s about whether I can take my grandchildren onto their ancestral Gamilaraay lands, sacred lands that are being ripped up and desecrated by mining companies. It’s about being able to continue the age old practice of bestowing our knowledge, song, dance and storylines, and maintaining the strict but respectful balance so necessary to our ongoing cultural connection to country.

This leads me to acknowledge a sad legacy that is still being perpetuated today. It’s called APATHY………

We must recognize and understand that we have been and continue to be oppressed and controlled by consecutive racist Australian governments since the advent of colonization.

As the filthy dust from Abbott’s budget settles on the black soiled plains of my sacred Gamilaraay homelands, multinational mining companies continue to illegally dig up and desecrate my ancestors’ ceremonial lands. This destruction is occurring on my lands with the corrupt approval of current and past state and federal government ministers, ministers who’ve found themselves under investigation for their unscrupulous dealings with these mining companies. These evil companies, along with Australia’s racist governments, do not care whether my sacred lands are left for my grandchildren or great grandchildren. The slash and burn of the budget and the desecration of my sacred lands only proves to me that all they are interested in is profit and power.

Another sad legacy that is very evident throughout Aboriginal communities is that, from a young age, we are programmed to believe that we cannot do anything ourselves. We are conditioned to believe that we need financial assistance from government. This has been a very successful ploy used by successive governments to co-opt our Black nations and peoples to remain in this welfare state of mind.

We know that the pain and suffering will never end for our people until you join us in the fight. Now is the ideal time for our peoples to all stand up together and be counted. Come along and join us on the streets. It’s never too late.

Governments come and go all the time. You and I must maintain the struggle. My fight is your fight, and it is a just fight.

As a proud member of the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy (BASE), I believe we will continue to pave the way for the future generations to understand that we do not need government assistance. We continue to run programs that benefit our peoples like the BASE Food Program and delivering furniture/clothing to Aboriginal communities. Our Sovereign Grannies group has been set up to provide a support network for Black women and families who are dealing with Australia’s racist welfare and DOCS (Department of Child Safety) system. And Brisbane Blacks is a magazine that helps our peoples understand the real issues that we are facing in our country today.

Let’s keep the fire burning.

ngiyaningu maran yaliwunga ngarra-li

July 30, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment


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