The Murdoch press, and all the business pages are jubilant : – Australian uranium to be sold to the United Arab EmiratesAustralian Mining , 16 April 14 - “Australia’s uranium sector will receive a much needed boost with the United Arab Emirates signing a deal that will see it purchase yellow cake produced here. Trade Minister Andrew Robb met with UAE foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah in Abu Dhabi to sign …”
Has Australia no pride? No understanding of the consequences of its pathetic drive to resurrect the flagging uranium industry. Will Australia go to any country to try and make a few bucks ? We will sell uranium to India,- non signatory to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, to Russia, notorious for its poor monitoring of where uranium and its wastes go.
Now we’re supposed to rejoice that Australia might sell to United Arab Emirates – never mind if that triggers off a Middle East nuclear arms race.
At the same time, the Australian government and Australian generally seem oblivious to the mess that uranium mining has made in Kakadu. I mean – it’s only home to traditional Aborigines, an ecological paradise (or it was) a top Australian tourism attraction. Having messeed it up environmentally, and messed up financially too, ERA plans to start a new uranium minng venture there – even though they’re too broke to clean up the mess.
In lead up to Rio Tinto’s Australian AGM (May 8) signs that Rio will not pay up for fixing up Ranger uranium mine
Rio chief tight-lipped on Ranger mine, SMH April 16, 2014 - Peter Ker Rio Tinto chief executive Sam Walsh has refused to guarantee that his company will cover the cost of rehabilitating the Ranger uranium mine near Kakadu, building on uncertainty that was created last month by the Rio subsidiary in charge of the mine.
Energy Resources of Australia – which is 68 per cent owned by Rio – raised eyebrows when it revealed it may need to find new sources of money to meet its rehabilitation commitments for Ranger, which is entirely surrounded by Kakadu National Park.
Under the Ranger permit, ERA must have rehabilitated the site by 2026, and a review of the rehabilitation strategy in 2013 found the cost would be $603 million on a net present cost basis. ERA has $357 million on hand and has ceased mining at Ranger, with the company now exploring for more uranium underground in a bid to find future revenue streams.
In an unusual move, ERA appeared to link the success of that exploration project – known as Ranger 3 Deeps – to its ability to pay for the rehabilitation of the site. “If the Ranger 3 Deeps mine is not developed, in the absence of any other successful development, ERA may require an additional source of funding to fully fund the rehabilitation of the Ranger Project Area,” the company said in its annual report.Such an outcome would be unusual, as miners are typically compelled to pay for the rehabilitation at the end of a mine’s life through provisions that are made each year.
In ERA’s case, some rehabilitation is already underway and it maintains a trust with the Australian Government which was holding $63.9 million at December 31.
When asked at Tuesday night’s annual meeting of Rio shareholders in London, Mr Walsh indicated he was in no mood to pick up the tab for ERA, particularly after Rio took part in a $500 million equity raising for the company in 2011. “There was a rights issue at ERA to fund the rehabilitation work and those funds are still sitting within that business,” said Mr Walsh.
”(ERA) is a public Australian company and clearly that is an issue for them.
“We are clearly shareholders, but it’s a matter for all shareholders and a matter for the ERA board.”
Environmental sensitivities of another kind were also raised at the AGM, with Rio executives forced to defend the company’s continued involvement in coal mining.
Mr Walsh said Rio did accept that “man made emissions” were responsible for changes in the climate, but the company believed the challenge could be resolved through technological developments rather than by ceasing coal production………
Rio’s Australian AGM will take place on May 8. http://www.smh.com.au/business/mining-and-resources/rio-chief-tightlipped-on-ranger-mine-20140416-36qfi.htmlSMH
The risks of a nuclear Saudi Arabia April 7, 2014 by Nick Butler”……….The issue is set out in an excellent new paper for the Belfer Center at Harvard by Olli Heinonen and Simon Henderson. The Saudis’ explanation of their newfound interest in nuclear technology is that they want to use it to produce electric power and to converse oil supplies which can be exported. There is a core of truth in this of course – Saudi Arabia’s domestic oil consumption is rising inexorably and is now more than 3m barrels a day. But, of course, this is exactly the argument used by Iran for its own nuclear research.
Heinonen and Henderson believe the Saudis are preparing the way and giving themselves the option of being able to move beyond civil nuclear power to the point where they could within a matter of months produce some form of weapon. The country undoubtedly has the money to buy whatever is needed and they have close and dangerous allies within Pakistan, a country which is already a nuclear state. Scrutiny by the International Atomic Energy Agency is minimal (bizarrely the organisation spends more money monitoring Jordan) and the Saudis could go a long way down the path to nuclear capability without it becoming obvious until very late in the day.
The prospect of nuclear weapons in the hands of the fragile government of Saudi Arabia is bad enough. The country is fundamentally unstable – held together only by force and by the flow of oil money to an ever growing number of citizens who high expectations and low productivity. But equally concerning is that any further conflict in the region – even at a level below the nuclear threshold – could shake the global energy economy to its foundations……..” http://blogs.ft.com/nick-butler/2014/04/07/the-risks-of-a-nuclear-saudi-arabia/
FN Arena reports (15 April 14) “……The recovery will not, however, be long lasting under CIMB’s modelling. Despite recent voluntary cuts to supply, including Paladin Energy’s Kayelekeera mine in Malawi being placed into care & maintenance, and despite the end of the Russian HEU supply agreement, CIMB sees the global uranium market drifting back in to surplus by 2016. …
In the meantime, UBS is the most recent of brokers to mark uranium prices to market for the purpose of producer valuations. The broker has cut its 2014 average price forecast to US$39/lb from US$43/lb previously. …”
Australia Remains Silent Amid Global Warming And Calls For Renewable Energy Use http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/548241/20140415/australia-global-warning-climate-change-tony-abbott.htm By Reissa Su | April 15, 2014
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is known as a World Heritage site and the worsening effects of climate change have sparked fears that it would soon be destroyed and die. Recent scientific studies have shown a significant loss of coral cover in the past 27 years. The damage to corals is caused by climate change, storms and the increasing population of crown of thorns starfish. Reducing the number of the starfish species is the key factor to restore coral cover based on research studies.
Despite the mounting fears, climate scientists observed Australia may not be fully committed to battle out climate change. According to reports, Australia is one of the biggest and most active “climate change deniers” in the world. While the United Nations‘ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is encouraging countries to do their part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Australia is focusing on coal which is considered the biggest contributor to the ozone’s destruction.
The IPCC has found global carbon emissions have increased faster between 2000 and 2010 compared to the past 30 years. The IPCC said attempts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions continue to fail.
According to Dr. Frank Jotzo from the Australian National University, Australia has to quadruple low carbon energy use in 2050 or risk the consequences of climate change to agriculture, coastal areas and tourism.
The rise in global temperature would mean the potential widespread and permanent damage to Australia’s coral reef systems, specifically the Great Barrier Reef and Ningaloo in Western Australia.
Some species native to Australia may disappear. The continued rise in global temperature could increase the frequency of flooding which will cause damage to infrastructure. Some low-lying areas may be swallowed by rising sea levels. Extreme weather conditions may affect the quality of Australia’s drinking water.
Worsening dry spells, fiercer heat waves and frequent bushfire seasons should be worrying for Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the Coalition government after CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology released the State of the Climate report.
The two-year study has prompted calls for curbing carbon emissions from human activities. Greenhouse emissions are already at record levels. Climate scientists predict that the world will be 5 degrees hotter by 2070.
But the Abbott government has not accepted the Climate Change Authority (CCA)’s recommendation for Australia to triple its carbon emissions reduction target. The climate agency said Australia should be aiming for at least 15 percent by 2020. The target rate will increase to 19 percent once the carryover credits that have been previously set in the Kyoto Protocol are included. To contact the editor, e-mail: email@example.com
Green energy IPPs create 14 000 jobs http://www.iol.co.za/business/companies/green-energy-ipps-create-14-000-jobs-1.1675332 April 14 2014 Independent power producers (IPPs) using renewable energy had created about 14 000 jobs over the past three years, Energy Minister Ben Martins said on Friday. “One of the imperatives of government is to ensure that all departments assist in job creation. Through the independent power producers programme, more than 14 000 have been created,” Martins said following a summit with 61 IPPs. “At the meeting, we acknowledged and expressed appreciation of the fact that to date more than R100 billion has been invested into this particular sector.” IPPs are entities which either own and or operate facilities that generate electric power. They then sell the power to a utility, central government buyer or to end users. The meeting was also attended by representatives of the Development Bank of Southern Africa, Eskom and the Public Investment Corporation. Diplomats representing Denmark, Spain, Germany, Norway, and the UK were also present at the Pretoria meeting. Martins said the IPP project had brought significant direct foreign investment. – Sapa
Who has been most responsible in recent times for preventing progress in the reduction of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions? The Dirty Dozen — which I originally named in 2006 and updated in 2009 — are the people who have most effectively denied the science of climate change, lied about its implications, lobbied to water down laws, or provided cover for weak policy.
They are doing most to help turn Australia from a reluctant leader into a proud laggard in responding to the most dire threat to the world’s future. Some are well-known — even if their links and tactics are not — while others do their dirty work behind the scenes. Here is my Dirty Dozen for 2014, in no particular order …
Where to start with The Australian’s editor-in-chief? How about here, here,here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here,here, here or, if you can’t be bothered clicking on all of those, look here or here………
What to say that everyone does not already know? ……
For too long the presenter of ABC Radio’s Sunday morning program Australia All Over has flown under the radar. When not chatting about the weather in Nuriootpa, Macca’s huge cohort of two million listeners (enough to make other shock jocks weep) is prone to debunking climate science and ridiculing renewable energy. He draws in his salt-of-the-earth listeners with a kind of folksy bush wisdom that has little time for eggheads with PhDs in atmospheric physics. Periodically, listeners complain to the ABC about McNamara’s “pot shots“ at global warming and his penchant for inviting on his right-wing mates……..
….The influence of Bolt on the landscape of climate denial has been exhausted.
Gina Rinehart…….Rinehart is a major funder of the Institute of Public Affairs, the primary conduit of denier talking points in Australia. The IPA’s 70th birthday partylast year was a love-in for the nation’s most powerful climate deniers; Murdoch, Pell, Bolt, Rinehart, Abbott, all co-ordinated by IPA executive director (and former Rio Tinto employee) John Roskam.
Innes Willox……The Australian Industry Group ……Willox has made himself into the enforcer of the greenhouse mafia, pushing the hardest line against measures to limit emissions…….
Plimer is the chief ideologist of climate denial in Australia. ….
*Clive Hamilton is professor of public ethics at Charles Sturt University in Canberra and author of Requiem for a Species: Why we resist the truth about climate change. For the second instalment of the Dirty Dozen, read Crikeytomorrow … http://www.crikey.com.au/2014/04/15/the-dirty-dozen-australias-biggest-climate-foes-part-1/
Amy Toensing Shares the Story Behind Her Photographs of the Oldest Culture On Earth, Peta Pixel, 15 April 14 At an estimated 60,000 years old, the indigenous culture of Australia, the Aboriginals, are estimated to be the oldest still-surviving culture on the planet. And in the above video world-renown photographer Amy Toensing shares her experience photographing this incredibly unique culture for National Geographic, delivering an extremely heartfelt talk about the hardships the Aboriginal culture has continually faced since their land was colonized in 1788…….Toensing does an absolutely incredible job of balancing her own thoughts and giving a historical and personal account of the Aboriginals she came across on this journey…….
Solar plant to be unveiled at Wallsend swimming pool http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-15/solar-plant-to-be-unveiled-at-wallsend-swimming-pool/5390322 A revolutionary solar thermal project invented by researchers at the University of Newcastle will be unveiled today at Wallsend swimming pool. The demonstration plant will collect heat from the sun in curved mirrored troughs, producing electricity and heat for on-site use, using the new heat engine technology.
The GRANEX project has been funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). Researcher Professor Behdad Moghtaderi says the technology will have significant benefits for remote mining and industrial sites in rural communities.
“It can be used in remote communities, aboriginal communities, because all we need is a set of solar arrays,” he said. “You really don’t need diesel fuel, or anything like that.
“The problem is not really the infrastructure as such. “It’s more of a cost and logistical problems associated with transporting diesel fuel.”
The Wallsend swimming centre could save hundreds of dollars on its its annual power bills because of the project.
Professor Moghtaderi says the technology means electricity can be produced with zero carbon emissions from a range of different sources.”Any type of low-grade heat source and also renewable energy sources, in the example that you have for a swimming pool today, essentially we are using solar energy as heat input,” he said. “But, with the same token, you can use geothermal energy, biomass energy or waste heat going out of the stack of power plants and things like that.” ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht today joined Parliamentary Secretary for Industry and Paterson MP Bob Baldwin at the official launch.
“The $1.7 million project integrates solar thermal and GRANEX heat engine technology and is supported by $812,000 funding from ARENA,” he said.”The 200 kilowatt solar field, located at the Wallsend swimming complex, will generate 30 kilowatts of electrical output and 150 kilowatts of heat for the swimming pool.
Mr Frischknecht says the demonstration project is the first of its kind and will produce thousands of hours of valuable operating data.”It demonstrates the potential of small-scale solar thermal systems in providing cost effective energy options, particularly for off-grid areas,” he said.
“ARENA recognises the importance of supporting renewable energy projects that are innovative, economically geared and increasingly market-driven – such as those that could deliver low cost power to remote mining communities.
“It is vital that Australia continues to deliver world-leading and cost-effective renewable technology solutions that keep up with economic growth.”
After Ukraine, Countries That Border Russia Start Thinking About Nuclear Deterrents, NewsWeek, By Elisabeth Braw / April 15, 2014“………In a new report, Doran and several co-authors, including The Economist’s Europe editor Edward Lucas, argue that since Russia violated international treaties by annexing Crimea, NATO can renege on its promise not to base nuclear weapons in former Warsaw Pact states……
While the BHP-funded Grattan Institute and a number of other “authoritative” bodies tout Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) – powered by Thorium, for Australia, the bottom is falling out of the SMR project. The big firms involved are pulling out. Westinghouse already has. Babcock and Wilcox will be next.
Lobbyists like the USA’s nuclear front group, the Breakthrough Institute, have worked successfully on Australia’s pro nukers to flog off these (so far non-existent) SMRs to Australia. Note that they leave out the word “nuclear”, knowing that this word gives their project a bad smell.
However, – forget the associated bad smells of terrorism targets, proliferation dangers, waste problems that go with these nasty little nuclear reactors.
The biggy is economics. They just don’t stack up economically. (It’s such bad taste to mention this – but reneweable energy does stack up economically. And when you’re talking about small decentralised power sources – well – solar and wind are obviously the go.)
Australia still denies Israel’s open secret of a nuclear arsenal, SMH, April 15, 2014 Phillip Dorling
Secret government files reveal that Australian governments, diplomats and spies have known for more than 30 years that Israel has an arsenal of nuclear weapons, while continuing to deny any knowledge of its existence to the point of misleading Parliament.
Previously secret diplomatic files declassified by the National Archives reveal a longstanding policy to turn a blind eye to Israel’s nuclear arsenal. Last week the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade again declined to comment on whether the Australian government thinks Israel is an undeclared nuclear weapons state.
Foreign Affairs Department briefing papers prepared for former Labor foreign minister Bill Hayden in 1987 state that ”intelligence assessments are that Israel has a small arsenal of nuclear weapons (possibly about 20). Israel’s technological capabilities would enable it confidently to deploy such weapons without recourse to a nuclear test.”
Mr Hayden and Dr Blix were talking against the backdrop of the treason trial of Mordechai Vanunu, the Israeli nuclear technician who in 1986 disclosed detailed evidence of Israel’s nuclear weapons production. The Foreign Affairs Department advised Mr Hayden to publicly deny knowledge of Israel’s nuclear weapons capabilities. Mr Hayden told Parliament on September 17, 1987: ”We have no information to corroborate these allegations.”
However, Foreign Affairs’ files, declassified in response to applications by Fairfax Media, reveal that Australia had been monitoring Israel’s nuclear program from its beginnings in the 1950s………
Australian policy remains unchanged, with the Abbott government deciding last October not to support a UN General Assembly resolution on nuclear proliferation in the Middle East – 169 countries voted for the resolution. Only five – the US, Israel, Canada, Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia – voted against. Australia abstained……..http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australia-still-denies-israels-open-secret-of-a-nuclear-arsenal-20140414-36nr4.html
Toro uranium expansion plan: premature and polluting http://www.ecovoice.com.au/toro-uranium-expansion-plan-premature-and-polluting/
Western Australia’s peak environmental group has condemned a move by uranium mining hopeful Toro Energy to expand their unrealised Wiluna mine plan into a much larger uranium mining precinct spanning 100km and two ecologically sensitive lake systems in the East Murchison region.
The state EPA has released details of the expansion plan while the company is under investigation by the Australian Securities Exchange for a second time over claims they have released misleading information to shareholders and the market. (See background below).
“Toro have never successfully mined anything before and have a long way to go to get their original single-mine project approved – let alone any new expansion,” said CCWA Nuclear Free campaigner, Mia Pepper.
“Contrary to their statements to shareholders, the company needs to complete additional environmental management , mine closure, tailings management and transport plans for assessment before any mining can commence at the Wiluna site.”
The company has struggled to find investors and currently needs $300 million in start-up costs and a further $300 million in upfront bonds.
“This new plan to attract investors is likely to draw further scrutiny from both regulators and the wider community who will be looking at the cumulative impacts of a regional uranium precinct covering 100km and two arid zone Lake Systems.”
“Toro plans to double its water consumption and store radioactive mine waste from several mine sites in a Lake bed. This idea lacks credibility and the company lacks capacity, experience and financial backing.”
Toro’s new plan involves four deposits over one hundred kilometres – Lake Way, Centipede, Millipede and Lake Maitland, with the company’s long term plans including mining an additional three deposits Nowthanna, Dawson Hinkler and Firestrike – covering a hundred kilometres in the other direction.
Also in the region is WA’s largest uranium deposit – Yeelirrie, which is now owned by Cameco. Traditional Owners have consistently opposed this project for forty years.
CCWA is partnering with a range of public health, union and faith groups to call for a public inquiry into the Toro mine plan.
The Mineral Policy Institute and the Conservation Council of WA received formal notification that the Australian Securities Exchange is investigating Toro Energy for the second time over the release of potentially misleading information. Continue reading
B&W scales back its small nuclear reactor project, Charlotte Observer, By Bruce Hendersony, Apr. 14, 2014 Charlotte-based Babcock & Wilcox said Monday it will scale back its mPower small modular nuclear reactor program after being unable to attract needed investors or contracts. The president of its mPower subsidiary, Christofer Mowry, left the company as of Sunday, B&W said in a securities filing. Mowry was terminated “without cause,” the filing said. William Fox III will replace him.
Announced in 2009, small modular reactor technology had been the company’s largest research and development project……Babcock & Wilcox announced an “accelerated” search for additional investors in the program last November.
But the project struggled to find additional investors or construction contracts that would bring in enough revenue to continue its development, B&W said Monday……..mPower recorded an $87 million operating loss in 2013, B&W said in a March proxy statement. http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2014/04/14/4841485/bw-scales-back-its-small-nuclear.html
Quake hits just off Fukushima plant, felt along 500 kilometer stretch of Japan coast — Seismic intensity of 4 on scale up to 7 — Camera shakes for about 1 minute (VIDEO) http://enenews.com/quake-hits-just-off-fukushima-plant-felt-along-500-kilometers-of-japan-coast-camera-shakes-for-about-1-minute-video?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29