Submission Points to Royal Commission Issues Paper 1 EXPLORATION, EXTRACTION AND MILLING – July theme
Submissions to this Paper are due by July 24 POINTS TO CONSIDER
They want you to direct your answers to the points they have set out in http://nuclearrc.sa.gov.au/our-reports/exploration-extraction-and-milling/ SO: here are a few ideas:
1.1 and 1.2. (economics of uranium industry) Australia’s uranium production of 5,000 tonnes in 2014 was the lowest for 16 years. The industry generates less than 0.2 per cent of national export revenue and accounts for less than 0.02 per cent of jobs in Australia. (1)
Nowhere in this Issues Paper is information given on Government funding of the nuclear industry either directly in the form of grants and through government supplied services.
1.12 (Uranium enrichment) and 1.7 (Future of uranium market) The 2006 Switkowski Review concluded that “there may be little real opportunity for Australian companies to extend profitably” into enrichment. (2) Conditions are no more conducive to the establishment of an enrichment industry now than they were in 2006. Former World Nuclear Association executive Steve Kidd noted in July 2014 that “the world enrichment market is heavily over-supplied”.(3)
1.8. (health effects) There is a well established link between uranium mining and lung cancer. (4) Exposure to even low-level radiation is a health hazard. That is the position of all relevant expert bodies such as the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation. As the the US National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on the Biological Effects of Ionising Radiation states, “the risk of cancer proceeds in a linear fashion at lower doses without a threshold and … the smallest dose has the potential to cause a small increase in risk to humans.”
1.10 (risks) Enrichment plants can produce both low-enriched uranium for reactors and highly-enriched uranium for weapons.
1.13 (effects on other industries). South Australia’s remarkable success in renewable energy, and its reputation for clean agricultural produce would clearly be threatened by further development in the uranium/nuclear industry
(3) Nuclear Engineering International Magazine, May 2014
“……..South Australia has a nuclear industry the government wants to expand. There is uranium enrichment, but that is an economic non-starter, and then there is nuclear power, which is theoretically possible but very expensive and controversial.
The nuclear lobby is driving the idea that if you import other countries’ high-level waste, those countries would pay billions of dollars to get it off their hands. So there is all sorts of nonsense flying around South Australia, especially in the Murdoch press, that these billions of dollars would cover the entire cost of building nuclear reactors and would also allow the abolition of all state taxes.
But even with that sort of propaganda being circulated in the Adelaide Advertiser — a Murdoch tabloid — they found that fewer than one in six South Australians want a high-level nuclear waste dump.
It is a massive challenge, as the royal commission is stacked by pro-nuclear lobbyists. So it will issue a pro-nuclear report and we are doing the best we can to dull their enthusiasm.
We are building a separate campaign against the expansion. Traditional owners held a meeting in Port Augusta in April and this is the starting point to building an ongoing campaign.
A lot of these traditional owners have already experienced a track record of the industries of pollution and lies and they don’t want to be a part of it. They have seen the outrageous divide and rule tactics used by Heathgate against Adnyamathanha traditional owners. Then there is the long history of Olympic Dam uranium mine, and attempts to dump nuclear waste on Aboriginal land despite their ferocious opposition. Or go back to the Maralinga bomb tests in South Australia — there is a lot of history with people still suffering the varied impacts of that.
There is a lot of campaign strength in South Australia. Certainly we are putting in submissions to the royal commission but we don’t want to get sucked into their campaign too much because it is a fraud and the more important thing for us is to build campaigns and support Aboriginal people who want to build campaigns…..” https: //www.greenleft.org.au/node/59400
A FAMILY-owned business has taken out the Territory’s most prestigious business prize just five short years after opening its doors.
Country Solar NT, which is owned by husband and wife team Jeremy and Pam Hunt, was named 2015 Telstra Northern Territory Business of the Year at a gala ceremony at the Darwin Convention Centre last night.
The company, which began with the couple selling solar panels from the back of their ute, now has clients all across the Top End, including schools, supermarkets and remote communities.
Mr Hunt said the business was committed to providing a high quality local service.
“We’re local and we want to ensure that locals are getting the best renewable energy products available at the best prices to meet their energy needs,” he said.
“Amid the ever-changing rules about solar PV and the past performance of fly-in fly-out solar contractors, we have provided a stable alternative for the home, business and government markets.”
Mr Hunt said the business was committed to the local community and providing sustainable energy………http://www.ntnews.com.au/business/family-owned-business-country-solar-nt-named-2015-telstra-northern-territory-business-of-the-year/story-fnk2tq5v-1227428467238
Say goodbye to coal power in Australia, The Age July 5, 2015 Mark Diesendorf The writing is on the wall for coal-fired power in Australia. Despite federal government attempts to stop the growth of renewable energy, all they can do is delay the inevitable transition.
Tasmania already has almost 100 per cent renewable electricity, based on hydro supplemented by wind. The ACT is on track to reach its target of 90 per cent net renewable electricity by 2020, based on solar and wind.
South Australia, with no freshwater hydro-electric potential, is the leading mainland state in the transition to renewable energy. Last year 33 per cent of its annual electricity consumption was generated by the wind and 6 per cent from rooftop solar. Furthermore, its electricity system has already operated reliably and stably for hours when the contribution of variable renewable energy reached two-thirds of demand. Recently wind power and gas coped admirably when the coal-fired Northern power station went unexpectedly offline.
Coal power will soon disappear from SA and eventually from the whole country. Because wind has no fuel cost, it can bid the lowest price into the electricity market and so is ranked higher in operating order than coal. The result: coal is displaced from operating as base-load (24/7) power, coal’s economics become worse and incidentally the wholesale price of electricity decreases.
This is the real reason our Prime Minister is trying to stop the growth in wind power. It has nothing to do with aesthetics or the sham ‘wind turbine syndrome’, but everything to do with Mr Abbott’s misguided commitment to coal. Continue reading
Interestingly, the visit to Lucas Heights revealed another nuclear waste issue that apparently has been forgotten. None of the numerous employees and scientists present at the discussion knew what happened to the radioactive waste water – heavy water – from the HIFAR reactor. Is it still on site, has it been treated or even discharged? The risks in the latter would be enormous and the fact that no one had any information on it therefore both shocking and scary.
This is a strong reminder of the importance of independent monitoring of nuclear activities and the accountability civil society helps to enforce on operators. For Friends of the Earth, this is just the beginning of a tour that will release many more valuable lessons and incredible stories.
ANSTO’s radioactive waste management, Online opinion, By Anica Niepraschk , 3 July 2015 ANSTO, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, through its nuclear science, industry and medical operations at Lucas Heights in southern Sydney is the largest producer of radioactive waste in Australia.
Since 1959 Lucas Heights is producing ever growing amounts of low and intermediate level waste which it stores on site in designated facilities. The most recent addition to ANSTO’s waste facilities is an newly built hangar for reprocessed fuel, which has to return from France until the end of the year.
Although the construction of a reprocessing plant is currently discussed by the South Australian Royal Commission into the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Australia so far has no capacity to reprocess the highly radioactive contents of ANSTO’s nuclear fuel rods. They are therefore sent overseas for reprocessing. Agreements with France and the UK provide for the resulting intermediate level waste to be returned to Australia, with the French shipping due to arrive in Australia until the end of the year…………..
The so called Radtour has been taking a great number of interested people and anti-nuclear activists to key nuclear sites in Australia for over 25 years, providing an opportunity to learn about the country and affected communities in a way that is rarely part of public narratives. It has thereby created strong bonds with Aboriginal and other communities throughout the country. Continue reading
As for Paladin Energy (PDN, 25.5c), being the world’s only listed pure-play uranium miner with two operating mines (albeit on care and maintenance) hasn’t made for unfettered joy either……..
We rate ERA a sell and Alliance and Paladin as specbuys
Uranium stocks a mixed bad for investors THE AUSTRALIAN JULY 03, 2015 Tim Boreham Over the years the uranium caper has been much more fun for investors in the exploration chase, rather than the drudgery of actually mining the toxic substance. Continue reading
Adani shown the door by traditional owners, SMH July 4, 201Michael West Business columnist The Wangan and Jagalingou people gathered two weeks ago at a convention centre in Carseldine north of Brisbane.
They were there to vote on a proposal to make sure those responsible for their native title claim were truly representative of the Wangan and Jagalingou people. These are the traditional owners of the land in the Galilee Basin, precisely where Indian company Adani aims to build Australia’s biggest coal mine, the controversial $16 billion Carmichael project.
Twice in three years, the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) had rejected Adani’s advances to sign a land deal for the mine, and twice Adani had dragged them off to the Native Title Tribunal and sought approval for the state to override their opposition to the mine.
It was just after 9am on Saturday, June 20, when two charter buses turned up at the Tavernetta Function Centre in Carseldine. Adani had bussed in 150 people in a sly bid to force consideration of a new memorandum of understanding they claimed to have with W&J, despite the previous ‘no vote’ from W&J. It was an Adani ambush, and it must have cost a fortune: three days of food, accommodation and transport for 150 people.
“We saw the buses turn up and we were wondering what was going on,” says traditional owner and W&J lead spokesman Adrian Burragubba.
“They tried to organise their own meeting after ours in order to get the people to agree to their MoU – a kind of tricked ILUA [Indigenous Land Use Agreement] when they knew they didn’t have one. Right now we’re in the Federal Court precisely because we refused an ILUA and they have tried to override us.”
But Adani’s cunning stunt backfired. They hadn’t counted on their 150 voters changing their minds after impassioned speeches from the likes of Burragubba. W&J tribal elders are deeply concerned about the effect of the mine on their cultural heritage and the risks it poses to water and wildlife.
By the end of the day, Adani’s reps had been asked to leave the meeting. Of the W&J’s 12 “new applicants”, or claim representatives, at least seven were against Adani, despite all the money flying about to skew the vote, and three were in favour. The views of the other two appear in the balance.
Burragubba says Adani has been engaging in tactical skulduggery for years, excluding him from meetings as he represented families which were not in favour of Carmichael.
“They claimed I was disruptive,” he told Fairfax Media.
“But they need all applicants in a meeting to do a deal. So there cannot possibly be a legally binding agreement.
“Adani has been conniving with these other two people [other Indigenous applicants] to try to get an agreement and undermine the Native Title process and our right to free prior informed consent.”
Before the showdown at the Carseldine convention centre, Adani had co-opted two of the W&J applicants, also directors of the trustee for the W&J’s Cato Galilee Trust……….http://www.smh.com.au/business/comment-and-analysis/adani-shown-the-door-by-traditional-owners-20150703-gi3y2h.html
State Energy Minister Matthew Groom hails wind farms in departure from PM HELEN KEMPTON MERCURY JULY 03, 2015 UNLIKE the Prime Minister, Tasmania’s Energy Minister Matthew Groom is a fan of wind farms and says more infrastructure needs to be built to capitalise on the state’s renewable energy headstart.
“I support the renewable energy broadly,” Mr Groom said after speaking at yesterday’s Tasmanian Minerals and Energy conference at Queenstown. “We have extraordinary resources in Tasmania and some of the best sites on the face of the planet on which to build them
Mr Groom said he was pleased the passing of Australia Renewable Energy Target legislation had given certainty to the wind industry and he looked forward to seeing progress on a new wind farm at Granville Harbour, near Zeehan.
Mr Groom said building a second interconnector cable across Bass Strait to export power was a key part of making the most of our renewable energy advantages. He said that cable needed to be viewed as a national infrastructure and, unlike Basslink 1, should be funded as such.“If a second cable is justified by a business case, it should be seen as a regulated asset funded through mainland users and perhaps a federal contribution,” Mr Groom said.
He said Japanese investors who recently visited Tasmania were gobsmacked by the state’s energy mix, and we needed to harness that competitive advantage………http://www.themercury.com.au/news/
Hope for $21m Port Fairy prototype wave power unit to boost local jobs http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-02/hope-for-prototype-wave-power-unit-to-boost-port/6588930, 2 July 15
Moyne Shire Council says the construction of the state’s first prototype wave power unit off the Port Fairy coast, in south-west Victoria, is set to boost the local economy.
The $21 million project, which will be installed in November, is expected to feed 250 kilowatts of renewable energy into the national grid.Mayor Colin Ryan said it was a significant event for the renewable wave energy industry and Victoria.He is hoping it will create new jobs in the region.
“I’m very happy to hear the news, I think it’s a great opportunity for Port Fairy with potential work opportunities for our locals, be it employment directly involved with the project or service industries and businesses in the town supporting the workers that come for the project,” he said.
“It being the first type of its power generation is a significant event and being the first one in Victoria … to do with currents and it was the desired locality for the operation, which is good news.”
“My European wind turbine friends are laughing at me. The government’s own review showed that more renewable energy would actually decrease costs for consumers.”
Rotto Wind Turbine uses Twitter to hit back at PM’s ‘ugly’ insults, WA Today, July 1, 2015 Emma Young Rottnest Wind Turbine is using Twitter to carry out a spirited self-defence against the insults of Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
@Rottoturbine now has more than 700 people following its tweets, which vary from wind energy-related links and information, banter about Mr Abbott’s “visually awful” description of turbines and pictures of generators against stunning rural backdrops, hashtagged #notvisuallyawful.
@Rottoturbine consented to share some of its views with Fairfax Media though an email interview, facilitated by its “human helper”, a Perth man in his thirties who the turbine says shares its concerns about renewable energy.
“I had been aware of negative views being expressed by some government Ministers about wind farms in general and this was concerning, but personal attacks against me were the last straw. Continue reading
For intense, apart from avoided, line losses, there is no credit for network benefits, or environmental benefits. The contrast with some US states, where pricing regulators put the “fair” solar tariff at close to the retail price, is striking.
Regulator wants to slash Victoria solar tariff by 20 per cent http://reneweconomy.com.au/2015/regulator-wants-to-slash-victoria-solar-tariff-by-20-per-cent-67417 By Giles Parkinson on 2 July 2015 Victorian energy regulator the Essential Services Commission has recommended that the minimum feed-in-tariff paid for surplus rooftop solar output fed back into the grid be cut to 5c/kWh from the current level of 6.2c/kWh in 2016.
as Ranger was authorised by the Commonwealth Government under 1953 Atomic Energy Act which primarily allowed the uranium to be used for military purposes, the Commonwealth and, ultimately the taxpayers, could be liable for the clean up if ERA was bankrupted.
ERA faces closure after uranium miner’s expansion plans shelved by Rio Tinto, ABC News, 30 June 15 By business reporter Stephen Letts Sorry history, uncertain environmental legacy Apart from the discharge of a million litres of radioactive slurry in 2013, Ranger has a sorry history of accidents with more than 200 environmental incidents being reported to government agencies since 1979.
Gavin Mudd, a senior lecturer in environmental engineering at Monash University with a long standing interest in Ranger, argues there are problems calculating the final cost as it depends on a number of choices, including how long is an adequate period of monitoring radioactivity levels.
The level of radioactivity around the site is unlikely to be safe any time soon given the half-life of uranium-238 is 4.5 billion years. The half-lives of other principal radioactive components of mill tailings, thorium-230 and radium-226, are shorter at about 75,000 years and 1,600 years respectively, but it’s a rather academic distinction.
Currently there is not a stipulated period for monitoring levels of radiation at the site once the rehabilitation is completed. However, Dr Mudd said a monitoring program should be run over decades rather than years.
“Fifty years would be a good start,” he said. Continue reading
Repower Shoalhaven renewable energy investment scheme funded by locals, SMH, June 29, 2015 Kieran Gair First, it was the local bowling club. Then the churches. In the Shoalhaven, community solar power is on the rise.
Renewable energy is expected to supply almost 60 per cent of Australian electricity by 2040, according to research by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which found the fall in renewable energy prices would drive a shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
One community in NSW has already reaped the benefits of an early move to community-owned renewable energy. Non-profit Repower Shoalhaven installed Australia’s first investor-owned community solar project on the roof of the Shoalhaven Heads Bowling Club last year.
Repower raised $145,000 for the project in just two weeks, with 80 per cent of the cost coming from “mum and dad” investors.
The company has just completed its second community solar investment project in the Illawarra region on Figtree Anglican Church and Nowra City Church.
Head of Repower Shoalhaven Chris Cooper said demand for renewable energy is growing as it becomes cheaper. “People want clean energy and they want secure investments and previously there was no real opportunity to do that so we created a system where the community pays for the solar power system and the business repays community investors via a power purchase agreement.
The Repower solar financing model allows local businesses to purchase community-owned renewable energy at a cheaper rate than grid power.
Figtree Anglican Church member and University of Wollongong Sustainable Building Research Centre masters student Daniel Jones said community owned solar had significantly reduced the overall electricity costs associated with running the church…….http://www.smh.com.au/environment/repower-shoalhaven-renewable-energy-investment-scheme-funded-by-locals-20150629-ghwmmk.html
ERA faces closure after uranium miner’s expansion plans shelved by Rio Tinto, ABC News, 30 June 15 By business reporter Stephen Letts ERA was once one of the world biggest uranium producers, supplying about 10 per cent of the global market for ‘yellowcake’ and powering electricity utilities in Japan, Europe and North America.
It’s now pretty well friendless as its last three independent directors resigned, leaving the company in the hands of its majority shareholder Rio Tinto.
Rio for its part said there is no future for ERA’s only productive asset, the Ranger Mine, which operates in the middle of the World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park.
With its existing open mine resources exhausted, ERA has been labouring on, processing stockpiled ore since late 2012.
Ranger’s last hope lay in an ambitious and expensive underground mine – the Ranger 3 Deeps project – which could have extended the mine’s life by another decade. That hope was extinguished earlier this month when Rio, with its 68 per cent stake in ERA, said enough was enough. The market was blindsided by Rio’s decision, with ERA’s share price tumbling more than 70 per cent in the aftermath.
In hindsight it was probably inevitable.
ERA’s losses mount to $700 million since 2011 Continue reading
Radioactive gas levels at Wimmera mining site near Horsham too high says Landcare group, ABC News, 30 June 15
A Wimmera Landcare group in south-western Victoria says monitoring it has done shows levels of radioactive gas at a mine near Horsham far exceed the maximum for public exposure.
The Kanagulk Landcare Group placed four radon gas monitors at properties surrounding Iluka Resources’ mining operations at Douglas over a three-month period.
It said analysis of the monitors’ data by Australia’s nuclear industry regulator, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, reveals levels of the gas were four times the limit.
The group’s Albert Miller said the State Government needed to step in…….http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-29/fears-aired-over-radioactive-gas-levels-at-wimmera/6579670