Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australian company Paladin discharges uranium sludge into rivers in Malawi

Malawi: Paladin Starts Discharging Uranium Wastes Into Public Rivers, AllAfrica,  By Bishop Witmos Karonga April 23: Few months after Paladin Africa Limited differed with civil society organizations (CSOs) and some chiefs in Karonga over the disposition of uranium wastes into public water, the company has started discharging the effluent into Sere River.

uranium sludge to river Malawi

Paladin Africa Limited, a member of the Paladin Energy group of companies, suspended its operations at Kayelekera Mine in the district in May, 2014, due to unstable uranium prices at an international market. The project is now on care and maintenance.

Malawi News Agency (Mana) has established Paladin invited Paramount Chief Kyungu and the District Commissioner (DC) for Karonga, Rosemary Moyo, to a meeting in Lilongwe early April this year (2015),to brief them about the company’s recent decision.

Paladin Africa Acting General Manager in Malawi, Greg Walker, confirmed in a telephone interview that the company, indeed, started releasing the uranium wastes into the public rivers………

Sere River flows into North Rukuru River, then into Lake Malawi.

When asked why the company decided to brief Paramount Chief Kyungu and the Karonga DC about their action in Lilongwe instead of explaining it to the general populace of Karonga, Walker said the company conducted enough meetings with relevant authorities in the district……..

Despite the decision by Paladin to start discharging its effluent into the public water, some people in the district feet it would have been safer if the company had constructed another dam where the wastes would be transferred into.

Chairperson for Karonga District Council, Patrick Kishombe, said in an interview the plan to release the waste water from the storage dam into Sere River is raising fears amongst communities who feel the water is not fully treated and could be a health hazard.

“This, I believe, will lead into many hazards, like killing of fish in Lake Malawi and may also cause skin cancer to some people,” said Kishombe.

Uranium contains gamma rays, particles that cause skin cancer to human kind, according to experts.

In developed nations, mining companies construct a stable tank that stores all the wastes, ready for transportation to recommended disposal sites. ……http://allafrica.com/stories/201504231621.html

April 25, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, uranium, wastes | Leave a comment

Slump in uranium production by Australian company Paladin

graph-downwardPaladin uranium output slumps THE AUSTRALIAN, 24 Apr 15  Paladin said today production at the group’s Langer Heinrich mine during the March quarter had slumped 10 per cent from the December quarter to 1.23 million pounds of uranium oxide.

April 25, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment

Abbott’s funding of Bjorn Lomborg – a travesty of climate science and economics

Abbott-fiddling-global-warmLomborg’s influence over key ministers in the Abbott government is quite well-known. He is seen to be at the centre of much of federal cabinet’s climate groupthink………

The real travesty of funding Lomborg’s newest franchise is that it comes from the same government that defunded the Climate Commission. This was composed of Australia’s best climate scientists, economists and energy experts, with an operating cost of A$1.5 million per year. This, more than even the most horrendous of storms, really exposes the parlous state of the Abbott government’s desertion of future generations

The Bjorn supremacy – is Australia getting the climate advice it deserves?.  The Conversation,  David Holmesn 23 April 2015, Senior Lecturer,Communications and Media Studies at Monash University “……..Lomborg’s particularly dangerous form of climate denial is to begrudgingly accept the science while producing economic models to say that global warming is really a minor issue. He is famous for using economic modelling as a mercenary gun for hire, saleable to governments and jurisdictions requiring climate inaction, climate distraction, or just straight-out climate crisis denial.

As such, one has to have some sympathy for Lomborg, who is a strange kind of “climate change refugee”. In 2012, the Danish government pulled all funding from his centre. Since, he has only set up shop in countries that have strong climate change-denying lobbies – both in the private sector and within mainstream media. He has enjoyed this in the US.

Lomborg operates by attaching himself to these centres as an adjunct professor, which will be his title at UWA, rather than a staff member. This offers the freedom to command remuneration well above a professorial salary – such as the US$775,000 he was paid in 2012 by the CCC and the US$200,484 paid for his work in 2013……… Continue reading

April 25, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, politics international, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Australian govt fast tracks approval for Cameco uranium mine, despite environmental concerns

Uranium mine approved for WA despite environmental warnings, http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/uranium-mine-approved-for-wa-despite-environmental-warnings-20150424-1mssk8.html  Steve HollandApproval of a uranium mine in Western Australia has prompted concern from environmental and indigenous groups.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt has granted conditional approval to Canadian uranium miner Cameco to develop the Kintyre mine in WA’s north.

But Dave Sweeney from the Australian Conservation Foundation said the East Pilbara mine, adjacent to the Karlamilyi National Park, will harm the environment and people.

“On Anzac eve the government has backed the wrong diggers,” he said.  “This mine plan does not enjoy broad support and the mining company has said it has no immediate plans to develop the project because of the low commodity price.

“The federal government had time to genuinely examine this plan. “Instead, it has chosen to fast-track an approval before a national holiday”.

Mia Pepper, from the Conservation Council of WA, said the mine, of which Cameco owns 70 per cent and Mitsubishi holds the remainder, also threatens water quality in the region.

“It is irresponsible for Minister Hunt to have given approval for this project at this time”, she said.
“A unique part of our country faces an unnecessary threat because of this approval.

“We will continue our work with the local Parnngurr community and many wider community members and organisations to stop a poor political decision becoming a polluting Pilbara mine”.

West Australian Environment Minister Albert Jacob granted conditional approval for the mine to go ahead last month. Environment Minister Greg Hunt was contacted for comment.

April 25, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, Western Australia | 1 Comment

Kintyre uranium project approved, for when and if uranium price improves

Federal approval granted for Cameco to develop Kintyre uranium mine in Pilbara, ABC News 24 Apr 15  By Tyne McConnon and Ebonnie Spriggs A proposed uranium mine in Western Australia’s Pilbara region has been granted conditional Federal environmental approval.

One of the world’s largest uranium producers, Cameco Australia, wants to build the Kintyre open-cut uranium mine 270 kilometres north-east of the town of Newman.

The project received conditional approval from Western Australia’s Environment Minister Albert Jacob last month……..

In a statement, Cameco said the approval by the Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt included conditions covering radiation, ground and surface water, terrestrial fauna and mine closure……..

Environmentalists fear long-term impact of uranium waste

Environmentalists have previously condemned the proposal, citing concerns over the level of radiation monitoring required of the company throughout the Karlamilyi National Park, where the mine would be located.

Campaigner Mia Pepper said current regulations for safely managing uranium in Australia were deficient. “The thing with uranium is that it’s different to other minerals. It’s radioactive, and that radiation is very hard to manage in our environment that [has] very, very dry periods and very, very wet periods,” she said.

“That radiation is so mobile in our environment when we start mining it, you know, it becomes hugely dangerous, and I don’t know of anywhere where they can safely mine uranium.

“What’s left behind after mining is radioactive mine waste, and that stays in our environment forever, really, or for at least 10,000 years. “It’s a very long period of time, and it will be there long after this company has stopped existing and long after this Government has changed.”

Traditional owners, the Martu people, signed a land-use deal with Cameco in 2012.

The company said a development decision would be made when market conditions were favourable to new uranium production…http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-24/uranium-mine-kintyre-given-federal-approval-cameco-says/6418974

April 25, 2015 Posted by | environment, Western Australia | Leave a comment

AUDIO: Wind power subsidising New South Wales farmers

Hear-This-wayAUDIO: Farmers use wind farm rent to pay on-farm costs ABC NSW Country Hour 24 Apr 15
Joshua Becker 
Farmers in south-east New South Wales are using wind farm rent to subsidise on-farm costs.  AUDIO: Farmer uses rent from wind farm to pay for on weed management (ABC Rural)

windmills-and-hay

Howard Charles is one of 17 farmers who have wind turbines from the Boco Rock Wind Farm on their properties west of Nimmitabel in south-east NSW.

He said money from hosting wind farms on his property had helped him tackle noxious weeds on his property.

“With the two towers on our farm the extra income from the rent certainly helps with controlling the weeds, which is a never ending problem, serrated tussock in particular,” he said.

“I don’t see any downside, we are the closest house to the wind farm, some of the towers are less than a kilometre from here, even with prevailing winds we don’t hear it, I don’t see it. I do wonder what all the fuss is about sometimes.

“They’re certainly not interfering with our agriculture at all and I think we’re going to wake up down the track to the fact that renewable energy is pretty important.

“The most telling comment I’ve had about this [wind farm] is – ‘thank God we’re not the Hunter Valley’…….http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-23/farmers-use-wind-farm-rent-to-pay-on-farm-costs/6415126

April 25, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, wind | Leave a comment

Australian tax-payers funding shonky climate economics with $4m Bjørn Lomborg centre

 So is this “methodology” the Abbott Government has spent $4million on any good?……

while cost-benefit analysis can be useful, it doesn’t work when you apply it to climate change policy.

How do you price, for example, the loss of a Pacific island nation and what that would mean for the cultures that have thrived there? What’s the price losing multiple species of flora and fauna or the Great Barrier Reef Jotzo adds:

Climate change is exceptional because it has all of these dimensions that go beyond the practical capability of cost benefit analysis.

text-my-money-2Australian taxpayers funding climate contrarian’s methods with $4m Bjørn Lomborg centre Graham Readfearn, Guardian 23 Apr 15   Lomborg’s think tank methods underplay the impact of climate change and have ‘no academic credibility’ says leading climate economist. Danish political scientist and climate change contrarian Bjørn Lomborg says the poorest countries in the world need coal and climate change just isn’t as big a problem as some people make out.

Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott says “coal is good for humanity” and there are more pressing problems in the world than climate change, which he once described as “crap” but now says he accepts.

So it’s not surprising then that the latter should furnish the former with $4 million of taxpayer funds to start an Australian arm of Lomborg’s Copenhagen Consensus Centre (CCC) at the University of Western Australia’s business school.

The CCC has consistently said that targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions are too expensive and money should be spent elsewhere

After a couple of weeks of doubt and confusion over the origins and the funding of the centre, latest reports suggest that the idea came from the Prime Minister’s office.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister told Fairfax media it was “the government’s decision to bring the Lomborg consensus methodology to Australia”.

More on this “methodology” and some pretty fundamental problems with it in a bit.

Students at UWA are gathering names on a petition and campaigning in protest, saying Lomborg’s appointment as an adjunct (unpaid) professor there damages the university’s reputation and is an embarrassment. The University’s Student Guild claimed that “students, staff and alumni” were outraged. Continue reading

April 25, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics, Western Australia | Leave a comment

“Australia now holds the fate of the world’s climate in its hands”.

The government has indicated it will take a ‘technology neutral’ approach, which explains why Australia is the only nation in the world to axe the (carbon) tax, and efforts to slash the Renewable Energy Target by more than half.

Last year, the federal government approved the world’s largest coal fields in Queensland’s Galilee Basin – resources which the Climate Council reports “can not be developed” because they are “inconsistent with tackling climate change”.

Collectively, the proposed mines would create more emissions than nations like Australia, the UK, Italy and South Africa.

Why The Fate Of The World’s Climate Is Largely In Australia’s Hands, New Matilda,  By Abbott-fiddling-global-warmThom Mitchell, 23 Apr  We’re told Australia’s contribution to global warning is minimal. A report out today proves that’s a dangerous lie. Thom Mitchell explains.

As American academic Bob Massey put it, “Australia now holds the fate of the world’s climate in its hands”.

In its pursuit of a solution to the ‘budget emergency’ Australia is using up the ‘carbon budget’ at a rate incompatible with the global goal of limiting temperature rises to below two degrees, a Climate Council report out today has demonstrated.

While Australia is under increasing pressure to announce an ambitious target to limit emissions at home, the report makes clear that it is our reliance on fossil fuel exports that is doing the real damage.

By actively seeking to prolong the dying revenue stream, which has buoyed the economy through the past decade, the Australian government is doing massive damage to the remaining ‘carbon budget’.

At a recent talk in Sydney, Massey was blunt. “If your government and mining companies decide to develop all of the coal and gas currently planned, already on the books, our children will be forced to endure a world very different from what we know,” he said.

To avoid such a world, scientists have developed the ‘carbon budget’ which, put simply, is the amount of carbon dioxide humans can emit into the atmosphere before temperature rises reach two degrees above pre-industrial levels.

On that basis, if all of Australia’s coal were burnt, it would use up two thirds of the ‘carbon budget’. Effectively, 90 per cent of the continent’s coal must stay in the ground. Continue reading

April 25, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Climate change damage makes compelling economic argument for renewable Energy

environment-renewable-Australiaeven without any damage from climate change itself, the argument of moving to renewables (given the position of the rest of the world) makes good economic sense. When you add the risk of damage from climate change the case is unassailable.

Why would a nation like India waste money on taking poles and wires to every remote village and spending billions on coal power stations and metering when solar panels make more sense? They do not provide power continuously, but they are so much cheaper.

We should invest in renewable energy SMH, April 24, 2015  Crispin Hull  “……..storms like the ones this week – which scientists say will become more frequent with global warming – should give cause for reflection. The extent and cost of the potential damage is so high that prudence demands action.

But there is another more significant point. Governments can fix most things, but they will not be able to fix climate change. They will not be able to refreeze the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and make the rising seas fall – a bit like King Canute. The damage will be irreversible for thousands or even millions of years.

But governments can force changes to stop the melt in the first place.

There are several reasons why people see no need for any action at all or no need for urgency. We have always had bad weather events.

Change is imperceptible. The science is not conclusive so we can wait before taking action. Damage is a long time off.

If we see real evidence of climate change we can act then to fix it. Australia is just one nation and can do little on its own.

Because so many people think like this, governments have been able to get away with doing so little. Continue reading

April 25, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, energy | Leave a comment

Bjorn Lomborg’s climate contrarianism: where his money comes from

dollar 2

many of the earlier donors to Lomborg’s US think tank have been linked to theAbbott-Koch-policies conservative side of politics, some with links to the billionaire Koch brothers.

There’s nothing “smart” about spending $4 million of taxpayer cash on a highly questionable methodology that by design downgrades climate change.

Australian taxpayers funding climate contrarian’s methods with $4m Bjørn Lomborg centre Graham Readfearn, Guardian 23 Apr 15  Lomborg’s funding“………Exactly how and where Bjorn Lomborg’s think tank has gathered its cash over the years has been a tough story to get the bottom of.

When the Danish Government’s funding of the CCC ran out in 2012, Lomborg had already registered the US arm of the think tank four years earlier.

Since 2008, the US tax records of the Copenhagen Consensus Center show it has gathered about $5million in income, more than half of which had come in 2012 and 2013 (the most recent years for which records are available).

Lomborg himself was paid $975,000 via the think tank in those two years.

Yet much of the think tank’s income is not disclosed Continue reading

April 25, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

1919 – ANZAC Sermon – To Right the Wrongs

Library of Victoria
1919 –  ANZAC Sermon – To Right the Wrongs …
H.M.T. Orsova, nearing Suez, 28th April 1919
Vida Goldstein:

‘The Anzac sermon was preached by an army chaplain;

it was a glorification of the Australians, with some humorous sidelights.

It had none of the dignity and impressiveness that one would have thought the occasion demanded,

and offered no comfort to those present who had lost relatives at Gallipoli and on other battlefields.

He denied absolutely the oft-repeated statement that the Australian soldiers were undisciplined.

They were splendidly disciplined, he said, but their disciplined conduct had no trace of servility.

He spoke feelingly of the social conditions that had killed soldiers before they entered the trenches.

The evidence in the trenches of the terrible results of those social conditions

had roused many men to the sense of their duty to their fellows,

and made them resolve that when they returned to civil life they would

do all in their power to right the wrongs under which their comrades had lived.’

Woman Voter 7 August 1919 State Library of Victoria

First World War Women working for peace 1914-1919
womensweb.com.au

“History is not dead and gone, it lives on in us in the way it shapes our thought, especially our thought about what is possible.”
Daphne Marlatt 2001

April 24, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history | Leave a comment

Pro nuclear vested interests predominate in submissions to Nuclear Royal Commission

scrutiny-Royal-CommissionDennis Matthews 24 Apr 15 In 2011 The Chief Executive, Prof. Stephen Martin, of the influential Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) wrote in an article on nuclear power calling for “a rational debate, not one based on vested interests” (The Australian, 10/11/11).

Less than four years later, at least 14 of the submissions to the draft terms of reference for the inquiry into the nuclear industry are from individuals, companies or organisations with a clear vested interest in the nuclear industry.

The SA Government and the inquiry commissioner have constantly assured us that the inquiry will be objective and rational.

This raises the question “why have so many pro-nuclear vested interests felt emboldened to try to influence the inquiry’s terms of reference?”

This is a question that only the SA Government can answer.

In the meantime, for an objective, rational debate it is incumbent on the commissioner to either ignore or heavily discount the views of vested interests.

April 24, 2015 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission | Leave a comment

35 people attended Kevin Scarce’s Nuclear Royal Commission Forum at Mt Gambier

scrutiny-Royal-Commission-1

 

Royal Commission (presumably Kevin Scarce + unknowns) held public forum at Mt Gambier on April 20.  35 people attended. Then Commissioner talked with “business leaders” . – a lot of secrecy about who’s involved in this Royal Commission.

April 23, 2015 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission | 1 Comment

Dennis Matthews on the agendas and style of submissions to the draft ToR of the Nuclear Royal Commission

scrutiny-Royal-CommissionDennis Matthews, 23 Apr 15 I have just finished reading submissions to the draft terms of reference of the inquiry into the so-called “nuclear fuel cycle”. I was struck by the fawning attitude of many submissions from those who have a vested interest in the nuclear industry, and by the derogatory language used to describe those who oppose the nuclear industry.

One submission from an organisation with an apparent vested interest offered to help the commission with “independent” experts, whilst another claimed to be neither “pro nor anti-nuclear”.

Concerns about the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters were dismissed as based on ideology.

news-nukePro-nuclear submissions referred to “every anti-nuke zombie” “lurching out of their coffins”, to “an ignorant and anti-scientific audience”, to “fear mongers”, to the “anti-nuclear lobby fear industry”, to “anti-nuclear propaganda”, and to “emotive arguments”.

The confidence with which supporters of the nuclear industry addressed their inappropriate remarks to the inquiry does nothing to allay fears that there is a strong pro-nuclear undercurrent to the inquiry.

 

April 23, 2015 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission | Leave a comment

International nuclear lobby pleased with Abbott’s gift to climate contrarian Lomborg

Parkinson-Report-Nuclear lobby backs Abbott’s $4m gift to climate contrarian Lomborg, Independent Australia  Giles Parkinson 23 April 2015When push comes to shove to act on global warming, Big Mining will wheel in nuclear as a ploy to stall the take up of renewables. Is pro-nuclear Bjorn Lomborg’s thinktank in WA just a cynical move by Abbott to kill the clean energy industry? RenewEconomy’s Giles Parkinson runs the ruler over the nuclear option. THE PRO-NUCLEAR lobby has welcomed the decision by the Abbott government to award $4 million to Bjorn Lomborg, a climate “contrarian” who favours nuclear energy and opposes deployment of renewable energy.

Michael Schellenberger, president of the US-based Breakthrough Institute, a pro-nuclear think tank, tweeted over the weekend that the Australian government’s granting of funds to Lomborg was no different to the German government’s funding of an environmental think tank that favours renewable energy.

The difference may be that the Energiewende, or energy transition, is official bipartisan government policy in Germany. But Australia does not – at least officially, although its actions suggest otherwise – embrace climate obstructionism and nuclear technology. And it has defunded independent climate analysis such as that from the Climate Commission.

The tweet from the Breakthrough Institute might be unremarkable, but for that institution’s recent alliance with the pro-nuclear lobby in Australia, and the joint release of an “EcoModernist Manifesto” last week that says present day renewables are incapable of providing zero carbon energy, and that nuclear fission is the only technology capable of meeting most, if not all, the energy demands of a modern economy.

This, it would appear, seems to concur with the not-so-subtle secret agenda of Australian Coalition government policy. Continue reading

April 23, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics, politics international, Western Australia | Leave a comment

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