Graziers on alert as uranium exploration looms ABC News, By Jacqueline Breen 19 Oct 14 Graziers are watching closely as the state government prepares to grant uranium exploration licenses in the state’s far west.
Last month the government overturned the ban on uranium exploration and invited six companies to apply to explore for deposits near Broken Hill, Cobar and Dubbo.
The state’s Resources and Energy Division has since held a stakeholder meeting in Broken Hill, attended by the local council, New South Wales Farmers and the West Darling Pastoralists’ Association.
Association president Chris Wilhelm says landholders will be the first affected when exploration begins and he wants their rights protected……( Map below shows areas in New South Wales where uranium deposts exist, could be explored for))
The ban on uranium mining in New South Wales remains in place. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-20/graziers-watch-closely-as-uranium-exploration-looms/5825950
Hillside mine: Greens call for release of ‘uranium appendices’ for Yorke Peninsula open pit, ABC News 19 Oct 14
The Greens are calling for the release of documents relating to uranium deposits at a copper mine approved for South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula.
Earlier this year mining company Rex Minerals submitted a document to the South Australian Government that responded to community concerns about the potential contamination of prime farmland from the Hillside mine.
The Government responded by approving the 2.4-kilometre-long, 1km-deep and 450m-deep open pit near Ardrossan that would extract 2 million tonnes of copper, 1.7 million ounces of gold and 44 million tonnes of iron ore over 15 years.
Some parts of the mining lease proposal documents, however, were deemed “commercial-in-confidence” and withheld from publication.
State Greens leader Mark Parnell has submitted a freedom of information application to view the documents and see how much uranium is at the site.
He said appendices 36 and 37 related to uranium and were being “kept secret”.
“If the company says ‘nothing to worry about’, then they should have nothing to worry about releasing the documents that explain exactly where the radioactive hotspots are,” Mr Parnell said………
EPA regulation levels to be reduced
South Australian Environment Protection Authority (EPA) regulations take effect at 200ppm – a level that would soon be reduced to 80ppm in line with national guidelines……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-20/greens-call-for-the-release-of-uranium-appendices-hillside-mine/5826048
“Tony Abbott’s international reputation for climate change inaction is growing, to the detriment of Australian businesses who are trying to retain and attract overseas investors,”
Abbott’s Australia ranked dead last on climate, green investment http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/australia-green-economy-65014By Sophie Vorrath on 20 October 2014 Australia’s dramatic backwards slide on climate action and low-carbon policy under the federal Coalition is, by now, well documented. Since coming into power, Tony Abbott and his climate-sceptic team have dumped the nation’s world-leading carbon pricing scheme, wound back renewable energy support mechanisms, and taken aim at the Climate Change Authority, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, ARENA and the RET.
But a new international report puts just how far Australia has fallen behind the rest of the world on climate, clean energy and green investment into sharp perspective.
The fourth edition of the Global Green Economy Index (GGEI) was released on Monday, measuring the green economic performance of 60 countries based on four key dimensions: leadership & climate change, efficiency sectors, markets & investment and environment & natural capital.
Embarrassingly enough, Australia’s performance on actions that support clean energies and combat climate change ranks 37th – down from fourth spot in 2012.
But in the Leadership section, Australia comes a resounding last – a result the GGEI report puts down to negative media coverage, “unconstructive behavior” in international forums, and overall poor climate change performance. Continue reading
King Island’s wind farm fate closes in http://www.themercury.com.au/king-islands-wind-farm-fate-closes-in/story-fnj3twbb-1227095516599 HELEN KEMPTON MERCURY OCTOBER 20, 2014
THE King Island community should know by early next year if their remote Bass Strait home will also become home to the biggest wind farm in the southern hemisphere.
Hydro Tasmania has almost completed a feasibility study into its $2 billion, 200-turbine proposal and is expected to announce early next year if the project will go ahead.
The decision also hinges on the Federal Government not scrapping the Renewable Energy Target. Hydro Tasmania is one of 16 major renewable energy companies who have argued for the retention of the present RET.
The TasWind project is forecast to pump more than $7 million a year into the island economy and provide an estimated $220 million annual revenue boost to the state’s coffers.
Debate over the pros and cons of the proposal has divided the small community and Hydro Tasmania started its feasibility study after 58 per cent of residents indicated they wanted to move on to the assessment stage.
Ngiyani-ga nganbinganbi baluwaal miinba-y nginu-ngay, giirr wangaarrama-li! (We are in this together, never allow yourself to be beaten).
Enough is enough – It’s time to act by supporting the call for our true leaders The Stringer by Dr Woolombi Waters October 19th, 2014 The national call by community leaders Tauto Sansbury, Geoff Clark and Michael Mansell among others for a National Summit of legitimate First Nations leaders has the potential to change a generation. We are talking of the same influence of the Freedom Marches back in the ’60’s, the establishment of the Tent Embassy in ’72 and the Bark Petition in 1963.
But it will only change a generation if we embrace this movement as our own and realise the time for change has come. We can all be a part of history or we can continue to be victims of history. By calling for a National Gathering we are not excluding any people who share in the very real concerns of our mob, our identity and our Culture.
Very few will be given the opportunity to change history during their lives but by each and every one of us standing together we can start a movement to overcome … as together we work towards change.
We have all been called to the same stomping ground and it has come time to act. Continue reading
Graph of the Day: Australia’s renewable energy generation, REneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson on 20 October 2014 “…………As RenewEconomy has noted on many occasions, South Australia has the highest level of variable renewable energy in Australia – quite possibly the world (in major economies), with an average 43 per cent wind generation in July, and days in September when wind and solar provided all of the state’s electricity demand, and more.
The AEMO study says that the SA power system can operate securely and reliably with a high percentage of wind and PV generation, including in situations where wind generation comprises more than 100 per cent of SA demand, as long as one of the following two key factors apply:
a) The Heywood Interconnector linking SA and Victoria is operational.
b) Sufficient synchronous generation is connected and operating on the SA power system.
The AEMO study notes that South Australia already has the highest wind and PV generator penetration of any NEM region. As the graph shows, it has 1,470 MW of installed wind generation and 540 MW of PV generation. This represents about 50 per cent and 17 per cent of total installed wind and PV capacity in the NEM respectively.
In terms of residential rooftop PV installations, SA leads the NEM with a penetration rate of almost one in four of all rooftops. And the rate of penetration is likely to grow: the AEMO says that under favourable market and policy scenarios, it is projected that at least 1,000 MW of wind and 500 MW of PV capacity will be added in SA by 2020 – doubling the amount of rooftop solar, and lifting the amount of wind by two-thirds.
The AEMO notes that these developments are a “benefit” to both SA and the NEM. But it also underlines the importance of a strong interconnector with the rest of the NEM – for obvious reasons. Without it, the state would have issues with the required controls to ensure system security. (The report does not address this issue, but Germany is rolling out battery technologies that assume the role of “synchronous” generators and could usurp the primacy of fossil fuel generation. AEMO says the chance of a disconnection is so low is it rated as a “non-credible” event – but just in case ….http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/graph-of-the-day-australias-renewable-energy-generation-88841
Vladimir Putin ups the ante with reminders Russia is a nuclear power October 18, 2014 – Peter Hartcher Sydney Morning Herald political and international editor “……..jokes about nuclear weapons are an uneasy genre of humour. Russia’s nuclear arsenal is the ultimate reality of its power. It sits at the back of every conversation and calculation about Russia….. Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, has put his country’s 5000 nuclear warheads at the forefront. Three times in the past two months, he has raised the spectre of nuclear war as he confronts the West.
Most recently, he did it overnight Thursday Australian time while he was en route to a summit of 50 nations, the annual Asia-Europe Meeting, in Milan. “He’s again threatened the West with nuclear weapons,” says John Besemeres, a Russia expert at the ANU……..
Russian missiles do have the range to strike NZ. Or Australia.
“There is a low probability that Russian nuclear weapons are aimed at Australia, with one possible exception,” says Peter Jennings, formerly head of strategy at the Australian Defence Department and now head of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.
“That would be the joint facilities” – the US-Australian satellite tracking bases at Pine Gap and Nurrungar from which US spy satellites over eastern Russia are controlled. “The joint facilities are the only thing that may be relevant to the US ability to launch an attack on Russia.”
Soviet officials bluntly told Australian defence officials during the Cold War that warheads were aimed at the joint facilities.
And today, “they are certainly on the Russian target list,” says O’Neil, who is knowledgeable on Russian nuclear policy……….
Analysts have remarked in recent weeks that Putin seems to be seeking to re-engage with the wider world. With Western sanctions biting Russia’s economy and NATO indignation finally roused, Putin was thought to be looking to ease the pressure.
There are signs he is. By choosing to attend the Asia-Europe summit, he signalled diplomatic re-engagement. This leads to the expectation he will attend the G-20 summit in Brisbane.
And, by announcing the withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine, he seemed to be conceding to NATO pressure………http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/vladimir-putin-ups-the-ante-with-reminders-russia-is-a-nuclear-power-20141017-117pzr.html
A backward move for Australia’s environment: Federal govt abandons regulation to South Australia’s control
As part of its broadly criticised ‘One Stop Shop’ agenda the Federal Government has announced that its Assessment Bilateral Agreement with South Australia has been finalised and signed by both parties. The Bilateral Agreement will come into force 30 days after execution, on or about 24 October.
The Agreement allows the Commonwealth to now rely on South Australian environmental impact assessment processes in assessing ‘matters of national environmental significance’ defined under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. This change has been widely criticised. There is significant doubt as to whether existing State regulations can actually be brought up to meet the standards required under the EPBC Act. There is also concern about whether the cash-strapped states are likely to make effective champions of our environmental assets when at the same time they are under increasing pressure to jettison environmental safeguards in order to pump through development and replenish state coffers.
IAEA reports no long-term plan for Lynas waste, Malaysian Insider 17 October 2014 The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Friday gave a passing safety grade to a controversial Malaysia rare earths plant, but raised concerns that there was no long-term plan for properly disposing of the plant’s potentially radioactive waste.
The rare earths processing plant in the state of Pahang has generated opposition from green groups who fear radioactive contamination and have accused authorities and Lynas of overriding public concern.
In a report, the IAEA said it saw little risk of contamination due to the low-level radiation involved, and that its investigators were “not able to identify any instances of non-compliance” with international standards. “Lynas needs to demonstrate that the disposal of solid waste can be carried out in a safe manner over the long-term,” the report said.
It recommended that Malaysian authorities require Lynas to come up with a plan.
“There is a lack of a plan for managing the waste from the decommissioning and dismantling of the plant at the end of its life,” it said……
However, it also appeared to underscore environmentalists’ concerns that Australian miner Lynas Corp has no long-term plan for the disposal of waste from the plant.- http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/iaea-teams-says-lynas-plant-generates-low-level-radioactive-waste-bernama#sthash.JEFk1poD.dpuf
Residents to declare Dartmoor and Drumborg in Victoria ‘gas field free’ http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/national/residents-to-declare-dartmoor-and-drumborg-in-victoria-gas-field-free/story-fnkfnspy-1227093367623 CIMARA DOUTRÉ WEEKLY TIMES NOW OCTOBER 17, 2014
TWO Western Victorian communities will today declare themselves ‘gas field free’.
A number of minor and micro party politicians will attend the events at Dartmoor and Drumborg.
It takes the number of Victorian communities to have declared themselves as gas field free to 31.
Dartmoor farmer Michael Greenham said the response to invitations was heartening.
“Unfortunately several of the major party representatives for Lowan, South Coast and Western Victoria are not able to attend, but some minor party and independent candidates will be there,” Mr Greenham said.
“In talking with them, everyone is on the same side of the see-saw on this issue of shale gas fracking — it’s just a matter of how far along the seat they sit.
“Our communities just want to make sure prospective parliamentarians keep moving down our ‘total ban’ end, to ensuring there is no budging when the heavyweights of the unconventional gas mining companies start jumping up and down on the other end. “
The Victorian Government has a moratorium on all onshore gas exploration and fracking in place until July next year.
This week, Energy Minister Russell Northe unveiled a new website to allow landholders to search for mining licenses that cover their property.
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) would develop annually updated maps and make them freely available online.
“Currently there is a lack of clear, accessible and timely network information across the National Electricity Market,” Mr Frischknecht said.
“A consistent, standardised approach will be developed with Australia’s poles and wires businesses to make data more accessible and easier to understand and use.
“The maps will help renewable energy and demand management project developers to anticipate network constraints, reduce the need for new grid infrastructure and lower electricity bills. “The new maps may also enable faster development of renewable energy by showing where renewables and demand management can be more cost effective than network upgrades.” ISF Research Director Chris Dunstan said the energy sector is changing quickly and new tools are needed to manage this transition.
“The rapid rise of rooftop solar, local generation, energy efficient equipment and battery storage means managing networks is becoming both more challenging and more collaborative,” Mr Dunstan said.
“The three year project will provide a key resource for developing this collaboration between networks, customer and renewable energy providers.
“It has the potential to lower electricity costs, improve energy services and develop new markets for networks and renewable energy.”
Energy manager of demand management at state-owned Queensland network company, Glenn Dahlenburg, said the network is providing full support to the project to complement its existing efforts to engage broad market participation for developing alternatives to network upgrades.
“Ergon Energy sees these maps as a valuable tool to provide customers and stakeholders with information on the location and value of network improvement opportunities,” Mr Dahlenburg said.
The project has strong support from the network industry through partnerships with Ergon Energy, ElectraNet and TransGrid. Other project partners include ARENA, ISF, NSW Department of Trade and Investment
Biofuels: the forgotten element in Australia’s renewable energy sector, Transport & Logistics News, October 16, 2014 On 31 October, the Biofuels Association of Australia will hold its annual conference ‘A New Energy for Biofuels’, which will serve as a timely platform for discussion regarding the fragile state of Australia’s developing biofuels industry.
With the future of the biofuels industry under threat as a result of the Australian Government’s about face on the excise tax on biofuels and the dumping of unsustainably-sourced Australian government subsidised foreign biofuels, this conference is set against the backdrop of ever-increasing costs of energy and fuel in Australia.
Australia is the world’s leading per capita contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, with emissions from electricity production currently on the rise for the first time after six years of consistent reductions. The necessity of adopting policies mandating the development and implementation of renewable energy schemes was discussed at the recent UN Climate Summit in New York.
“While countries across the globe have embraced biofuels, Australia is reducing support for our own fledgling biofuels industry, backing away from an energy option which not only guarantees significant economic, environmental and public health benefits but which limits our dependence on foreign imported fuels and creates employment in rural areas,” said Gavin Hughes, CEO of the Biofuels Association of Australia.
In 2001 the then Howard coalition government laid down a world leading vision for growing the renewable sector, putting in place a target for Australian biofuel consumption and setting a Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (now RET) for clean power generation. Both the RET and the Biofuels target were designed to diversify Australia’s energy production mix to include greater investment in clean energy sources. Recommendations such as those contained in the RET review- if implemented – and the changes to biofuels excise support – will have a devastating effect on existing investments in Australia’s renewable energy sector, including the loss of thousands of jobs in the solar, wind and biofuels industries.
Today, a staggering 90% of Australia’s liquid fuel requirement is imported- a dramatic leap from 60% in 2000- and continues to increase despite advances in the potential to use domestically-produced renewable options such as biofuels. This near-total dependence poses a threat to national security as Australia would only be able to independently sustain its energy needs for three weeks without imported fuels.
While many of Australia’s leading trade partners such as China and India have enacted mandates to grow investment in biofuel utilisation, Australia is falling behind global trends as there are no government mandates in place to support the biofuels industry………….
Benefits of biofuels
The advantages of biofuels are extensive and well-known; they encompass benefits impacting the economy, the environment and public health. These include:
- Reduced greenhouse gas emissions; lessened reliance on fossil fuels.
- Economic development opportunities.
- Energy independence and enhanced energy security.
- Improved air quality and associated public health benefits. (According to the OECD, deaths associated with ambient air pollution in Australia have risen from 882 to 1483 over the period of 2005-2010.)
- Job creation, especially in rural areas.
Speaking at the event will be:………http://www.tandlnews.com.au/2014/10/16/article/biofuels-forgotten-element-australias-renewable-energy-sector/
Why Australia should shut down the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor, Independent Australia Last week’s fire on a nuclear waste ship off Scotland shows why Australia’s Lucas Heights nuclear reactor should to be shut down, writes Noel Wauchope. 15 Oct 14, “……. The ship, the Parida, was carrying radioactive wastes that were being returned to Belgium……
In the case of Dounreay, there is now pressure on the countries where the wastes originated, because the Dounreay nuclear site is being decommissioned and demolished……
Transport of radioactive wastes to and from Lucas Heights is indeed a hazardous operation, requiring much expensive security. However, transport is not the only safety consideration. The previous HIFAR reactor ‒ and the present OPAL one ‒ have troubled safety records…….
Australia’s most notorious terrorist, Willie Brigitte was gaoled in France in 2007 for joining an al-Qaeda backed Pakistani terror cell that had conspired to blow up the Lucas Heights nuclear plant. …….
We should shut Lucan Heights down before we regret it. http://www.independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/why-australia-should-shut-down-the-lucas-heights-nuclear-reactor,6999
Divestors painting themselves into the uranium corner, JAMES KIRBY THE AUSTRALIAN OCTOBER 11, 2014
SUDDENLY the urge to “divest” is reaching fever pitch. Inside a couple of weeks there has been more noise than we have had in years as universities, religious groups and super funds announce they are “getting out of polluters”.
Indeed, the ANU’s plan to divest itself of seven resource companies, including oil and gas major Santos, has been branded a “disgrace” by federal Infrastructure Minister Jamie Briggs.
Like most trends, this started in the US where a number of leading funds have been loudly exiting resource stocks. The rush reached something of a climax in recent weeks when the heirs of Standard Oil founder John D Rockefeller said they were getting out of oil.
Now Australia will mark a national “Divestment Day of Action” targeted largely at banks that invest in resources on October 18, an initiative backed by 350.org………
Australia–India nuclear treaty: a non-proliferation disaster, The Strategist, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute Blog 14Oct 2014 By Crispin Rovere “…….Nuclear suppliers do have a responsibility, however, for ensuring their nuclear material isn’t used to build nuclear weapons, and must maintain strict mechanisms for that purpose. If countries can access nuclear supply without the attendant responsibilities, then support for longstanding non-proliferation regimes will be undermined, countries will see less value in treaties such as the NPT, and a key pillar of the nuclear arms control regime as a whole will be weakened.
The text of the proposed Australian export deal fails that basic test. In addition to a range of other flaws, for the first time in 40 years Australia won’t be able to guarantee how the nuclear material it supplies is being used. Specifically, the agreement allows India to reprocess uranium supplied by Australia to create plutonium, potentially at weapons grade, with no direct accounting by India to Australia for that material, and unusually, no provision for the return of the material in the event of it being misused. As former Director-General of ASNO, John Carlson, explains, Australia currently allows reprocessing only by two export partners, the EU and Japan, each with direct reporting requirements and specific permission being given by Australia as to how the reprocessed material is to be used.
Accordingly, the deal with India isn’t comparable to Australia’s other nuclear export agreements. Australia is privileging India by excluding key provisions normally included to ensure a recipient of nuclear material is accountable to the supplier. Australia’s other nuclear export partners might demand similar concessions, undermining the integrity of the non-proliferation regime as a whole.
Moreover, the concessions made by Australia are unnecessary. ………Not only does this agreement undermine long established non-proliferation regimes and Australia’s credibility as a nuclear supplier, it represents a missed opportunity to strengthen it. Given that what matters most to India is being treated on a par with China and the United States, India should be expected to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) after the US Senate does, just as China has already agreed to do……..
The agreement marks a significant departure from Australia’s longstanding practice. By excluding the normal provisions that ensure a nuclear recipient is directly accountable to the supplier, Australia is abrogating the principle that nuclear suppliers are accountable for how their exported nuclear material is used……..Crispin Rovere is a former PhD student at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, ANU and co-author of Non-strategic nuclear weapons: the next step in multilateral arms control. Image courtesy of Flickr user Indiawaterportal.org. http://www.aspistrategist.org.au/australia-india-nuclear-treaty-a-non-proliferation-disaster/