Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Queensland government wants India to invest in uranium mining in Queensland

dollar 2Australia’s Queensland state seeks investment from Indian firms in uranium mining Business Today Anilesh S Mahajan      August 29, 2014   A week before Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott lands in New Delhi on his first trip to India, the Australian state of Queensland is soliciting investments from Indian companies to mine uranium…….

At a select media briefing, the state’s trade and investment commissioner for South Asia, Parag Shirname, said that there are two-three Indian corporate houses that are keenly looking at getting the mining license, once the deal is reached. “We have already briefed them about the regulatory frameworks, geological data and the attorney firms. They are exploring the opportunity,” he said. Shirname refused to divulge the names of these corporate houses citing non-disclosure agreements. ……
ith Indian investments, the government there is expecting production to go up about 30 per cent by 2017, from 6,976 tonne in 2011. The Queensland government restarted the process of giving out mining licenses from July this year, after a moratorium of 25 years.
India has already concluded civil nuclear cooperation agreements with Argentina and Kazakhstan, and a similar contract with Canada is in final stages……
As per Canadian law, Indian companies can take only 49 per cent of equity in a uranium mining company……..”There are no such conditions if they come to Australia,” Shirname said.
Modi, on his visit to Japan , is expected to sign a nuclear deal with Japan, which will not only smoothen the investment of Japanese companies in setting up of nuclear plants, but will also help the US treaty to be enforced as most US nuclear equipment companies either have Japanese investments or they work in conjunction. http://businesstoday.intoday.in/story/ausstralia-iqueensland-investment-in-india-tony-abott/1/209829.html

September 2, 2014 Posted by | business, Queensland, uranium | Leave a comment

Australians’ defence of the Renewable Energy Target underway, with Brisbane pro solar rally

protestAustralia: Pro-solar rally slams attack on renewable target, PV Magazine  21. AUGUST 2014 | BY:  JONATHAN GIFFORD

The organized opposition to the federal government’s moves to abolish or reduce Australia’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) has begun. More than 500 people attended a rally in Brisbane to protest against changes to the RET. The Australian Solar Council launched a campaign against the federal government logo-australian-solar-councmaking changes to the RET. Its first event in the northeastern state of Queensland on Thursday attracted 500 attendees.

The council’s CEO John Grimes said that a clear message has been sent to the government that Australians in key electorates are willing to vote to defend renewable energy in the country.

“Tonight over 500 solar heroes have come forward to send a clear warning to the Abbott government,” said Grimes. He said the message to Abbott’s conservative government has been clear: “We love solar, solar saves us money on power bills [and] we will vote to defend the Renewable Energy Target!”

The Save Solar campaign has also raised the ire of the government.  Environment Minister Greg Hunt slammed John Grimes on ABC Radio……..

“The Environment Minister should be attacking the Prime Minister’s radical plan to shut down the solar industry, not shooting the messenger,” said Grimes. “Today’s outburst shows how scared the Government is of this national campaign to Save Solar taking hold.”

There have been a host of surveys showing that Australians are supportive of renewable energy and the RET. With over 1.3 million solar households around the country, certainly a large number of people have first hand experience of solar.

The Australian Newspaper, a Rupert Murdoch owned publication that is generally skeptical of climate change and is often critical of renewable energy has been running a series of surveys about Australian’s attitudes towards renewables. In its most recent survey, it found that 88% of Australians support renewable energy, while only 8% report being “totally against.”

The Australian currently has a second survey live here.

Australia’s Clean Energy Council is also currently campaigning against changes to the RET. It’s CEO Kane Thornton argues that even a reduction of the RET to a “true 20%,” proposed as a compromise measure, would devastate the renewable energy industry in Australia.   http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/details/beitrag/australia–pro-solar-rally-slams-attack-on-renewable-target_100016170/#axzz3BRV0obrI

August 25, 2014 Posted by | Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

Queensland government quite prepared to export uranium through Great Barrier Reef

beautiful-underwater-world-Darwin and Adelaide likely export hubs for Queensland uranium (includes audios) ABC Rural  By Marty McCarthy 14 Aug 14  “……….Mr Sweeney also says he’s not convinced by the Queensland Government’s assertions that Queensland ports won’t export uranium in the near future, negating the need for transfer to Darwin or Adelaide. “The Queensland Government has had a number of direct opportunities to rule [exporting from Queensland] out and it hasn’t,” he said.

“They’ve kept the door open for future uranium exports from a Queensland Port, and particularly from the Port of Townsville.”

“We’ve seen in both the Federal Government’s energy white paper, and in clear statements by the Australian Uranium Association, an industry body, a desire to develop an east coast port for uranium exports,” he said.

Mr Sweeney suspects Townsville is the most likely city to become a future Queensland-based export hub for uranium, despite Mr Cripps’ saying it is unlikely. “The Ben Lomond [uranium] project is 50 kilometres up the road from Townsville, now you join those dots and you get a picture of ships through the Great Barrier Reef,” he said.

Canadian miner Mega Uranium, although interested in the Ben Lomond site, it is yet to announce plans to re-open it.

However, a French-owned mining company is spending millions of dollars on uranium exploration near remote towns in north-west Queensland, in a race to be the state’s first uranium miner since the ban 32 years ago.

AREVA Resources has drilled more than 90 holes since late 2012, and managing director Joe Potter says the company plans to continue searching.

“The change in policy and the certainty around the ability to mine uranium in Queensland has given us the confidence to press on with our exploration and see if we can become the first uranium miner,” he said.

The company plans to continue searching around Cloncurry, west of Mt Isa, later this year……http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-13/queensland-looks-to-adelaide-anddarwin-to-export-uranium/5666458

August 14, 2014 Posted by | environment, Queensland, uranium | Leave a comment

Queensland uranium to be exported through Darwin, Adelaide (or Townsville?)

radiation-truckDarwin and Adelaide likely export hubs for Queensland uranium (includes audios) ABC Rural  By Marty McCarthy 14 Aug 14  “……..Queensland announced this month it is now accepting applications from uranium miners wanting to operate in the state after a 32 year ban, raising questions about where the uranium will be exported from.

There are no ports in Queensland licensed to export the material, and the Newman Government says ports in Adelaide and Darwin will likely be used instead, rather than shipping over the Great Barrier Reef.

Queensland’s Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Andrew Cripps, says it’s not up to him to decide which city becomes the hub for Queensland’s uranium exports.  …….

Mr Cripps would not rule out exporting uranium from Queensland directly……..

Northern Territory Mines Minister, Willem Westra van Holthe, says he supports transporting uranium oxide from Queensland through the Northern Territory……..
“Taking another state’s commodity and transporting through the Darwin Port is a good way to promote us as an important strategic location [? target - CM.] for the rest of the country.”……..”It would probably travel through Tennant Creek, having travelled along the Barkly Highway and then up the Stuart Highway to Darwin.”……

not everyone sees trucking uranium across the country as an opportunity. Continue reading

August 14, 2014 Posted by | Queensland, safety, uranium | Leave a comment

In coal hub Gladstone, solar energy powers 26% of housholds

map-Sunshine-CoastQuarter of houses rely on renewable energy http://www.gladstoneobserver.com.au/news/Why-we-rule-solar-race/2350835/   | 14th Aug 2014 DESPITE living in a coal-centric town, Gladstone residents are leading the nation in the switch to solar.

New figures reveal Gladstone homes are installing solar powered energy at rates faster than the rest of the country, coming in second on the list behind Bundaberg. About 26 per cent of Gladstone households are now relying on renewable energies.

Bundaberg tops the list with 38 per cent of households now solar users, with Mackay falling shortly behind at 23 per cent.

The Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie praised the efforts of Gladstone residents. “It’s great to see Gladstone residents are taking matters into their own hands, taking control of their power bills and reducing their carbon emissions at the same time,” she said. “Gladstone households already know that renewables make sense economically and environmentally, now it’s time for the rest of the country to catch up.”

Renewable energies are the one-way road to the future, according to local solar consultant Murray Kay. “We power the shop here entirely on solar,” he said.”Business has been great here in Gladstone. Solar is the way of the future.”

However, the solar versus coal argument presents a conundrum for local who invested in both the renewable and finite industries. On July 2, Queensland breached the negative energy price barrier for several hours, driven by the prevalence of rooftop solar.

This is not uncommon during the evening when power use is minimal. But on July 2, the milestone was reached in the middle of the day.

Regularly priced at around $40-$50 per megawatt hour, the plunge to zero confirmed solar was not only powering the state.

Predictions declare that 75 per cent of Australia’s residential buildings and 90 per cent of commercial buildings will be powered by rooftop solar in as little as ten years, according to UBS data.   It is estimated that the demand for electricity has plummeted by 13 per cent over the past four years.

August 14, 2014 Posted by | Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

Australia’s largest solar photovoltaic systems research facility underway at Queensland University

Work starts at UQ Gatton on Australia’s largest solar photovoltaic systems research facility University map-solar-Queenslandof Queensland News, 6 August 2014  The University of Queensland and First Solar have begun construction on a 3.275 megawatt solar photovoltaic research facility at UQ’s Gatton campus.

It will be the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) research facility in the southern hemisphere and support innovation in Australia’s renewable energy industry by providing world-leading research on large-scale solar power systems.

“The researchers using this facility will provide new insights on integrating large-scale renewable power plants with conventional electricity grids,” said UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj.

“These researchers are some of the best in the business, and their teamwork with an innovative global company such as First Solar will ensure optimal returns on a substantial Australian government investment in renewable energy research and development,  with excellent implications for society and the environment.”

Covering 10ha, the plant will be Queensland’s largest solar PV project and produce enough electricity annually to power more than 450 average Australian homes, equivalent to displacing more than 5600 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide or removing 1590 cars from the road.

It is a pilot plant for new and existing large-scale Australian solar projects, including the Nyngan (102MW) and Broken Hill (53MW) plants being built by First Solar for AGL PV Solar Developments Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of AGL Energy Limited in New South Wales.

In addition to supplying and installing about 40,000 advanced thin-film photovoltaic panels in ground-mounted arrays, First Solar will also provide engineering, procurement and construction for the Gatton PV Pilot Plant………http://www.uq.edu.au/news/article/2014/08/work-starts-uq-gatton-australia%E2%80%99s-largest-solar-photovoltaic-systems-research

August 8, 2014 Posted by | Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

Queensland government willing to consider exporting uranium though Queensland Ports

beautiful-underwater-world-Cripps claims preference to export uranium from SA or NT, Australian Mining 1 August, 2014 Ben Hagemann With Queensland drumming up support for getting back into the uranium business, mines minster Andrew Cripps has not ruled out the prospect of exporting the radioactive resource from Queensland ports.

A statement from Queensland government yesterday said the Government had a “preference” for uranium to be exported from existing licensed ports.

Australia has only two licensed ports for the export of uranium, being Port Adelaide in South Australia (receiving ore from Olympic Dam), and Darwin in the Northern Territory (shipping ore from Ranger). Cripps said that the Queensland government would be willing to consider licensing a port within the state for shipping uranium.

Well if an application comes forward to assess a port for the export of uranium oxide, I mean, we’ll take it and we’ll assess it,” he said………

The Queensland government has invited tenders to reopen the Mary Kathleen mine, which has been closed since 1982.

Mary Kathleen is near Mt Isa in Northern Queensland, and bears rare earth elements such as lanthanum, cerium, praesodymium, neodymium, as well as uranium, all of which are present in tailings waiting to be processed.

Presently there are 7 million tonnes of tailings left at the Mary Kathleen mine, with an estimated 3 per cent rare earth purity……..http://www.miningaustralia.com.au/news/cripps-claims-preference-to-export-uranium-from-sa

August 2, 2014 Posted by | environment, Queensland | Leave a comment

How coal will kill the Great Barrier Reef

beautiful-underwater-world-The Great Barrier Reef and the coal mine that could kill it, Guardian, Tim Flannery, 2 Aug 14  These are dark days for Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. On 29 July, the last major regulatory hurdle facing the development of Australia’s largest coal mine was removed by Greg Hunt, minister for the environment. The Carmichael coal mine, owned by India’s Adani Group, will cover 200 sq km and produce 60m tonnes of coal a year – enough to supply electricity for 100 million people. Located in Queensland’s Galilee Basin, 400km inland from the reef, it will require a major rail line, which is yet to receive final approval, to transport the coal, which must then be loaded on to ships at the ports of Hay Point and Abbot Point, near Gladstone on the Queensland coast, adjacent to the southern section of the reef. Both ports require dredging and expansion to manage the increased volume of shipping. Once aboard, the coal must be shipped safely through the coral labyrinth that is the Great Barrier Reef, and on to India, where it will be burned in great coal-fired power plants.

The proposed development will affect the reef at just about every stage. Indeed, so vast is the project’s reach that it is best thought of not as an Australian, or even an Australian-Indian project, but one of global impact and significance………..

Today, the Carmichael mine development is occurring adjacent to what is now a very sick Great Barrier Reef. A 2012 study established that around half of the coral composing the reef is already dead – killed by pesticide runoff, muddy sediment from land clearing, predatory starfish, coral bleaching and various other impacts. The coal mine development will add significant new pressures. First will come the dredging for the new ports. The 5m or more tonnes of mud, along with whatever toxins they contain, will be dug up, transported and dumped into the middle of the reef area. Some studies suggest that the suffocating sediment will not drift far enough to harm the majority of the reef. But who can say what impact tides, currents or cyclones, which are frequent in the area, will have on the muddy mass?

The raw coal itself will be another pollutant. Coal dust and coal fragments already find their way from stockpiles, conveyor belts and loaders into the waters of the reef. Indeed, existing coal loaders have already dumped enough coal for it to have spread along the length and breadth of the reef. In areas near the loaders, enough has accumulated to have a toxic effect on the corals that grow there.

There is also the ever-present possibility of a coal ship running aground on the reef……….

If the Carmichael coal mine is a global story, and the Great Barrier Reef a global asset, then the issue should not be left to Australia alone to decide. The citizens of the world deserve a say on whether their children should have the opportunity to see the wonder that is the reef. Opportunities to do this abound. Petitioning national governments to put climate change on the agenda of the G20 summit, to be held in Australia in November this year, is one. Pushing governments to play a constructive role at the 2015 climate negotiations in Paris is another, as is letting the Australian government know directly that everybody has a stake in the reef, and that it needs to act to secure its future. The Great Barrier Reef does not have to die in a greenhouse disaster like the one that devastated the world’s oceans 55 million years ago. But if we don’t act decisively, and soon, to stem our greenhouse gas emissions, it will. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/aug/01/-sp-great-barrier-reef-and-coal-mine-could-kill-it

August 2, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, Queensland | Leave a comment

Renewable energy should be the ‘norm’ say Queenslanders

map-solar-QueenslandParkinson-Report-Queenslanders want renewables to become the ‘norm’ http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/queenslanders-want-renewables-to-become-the-norm-89672  By  on 1 August 2014

Queenslanders have given renewable energy an overwhelming vote of support, telling the state government as part of its 30-year “Queensland Plan” that they want renewables to become the “norm” in the state. The document, produced after consultations with 80,000 Queenslanders, states that their goal is for renewable and alternative energy to become the norm.

That would mean that “alternative, renewable energy is a Queensland commodity. It is affordable, commercially viable and available to all Queenslanders. Our infrastructure supports these renewable energy solutions.”

The document also states: “Increasingly, Queenslanders are turning to renewable energy alternatives. In the coming decades, as new technologies emerge, cleaner alternative energy sources may help us become better and wiser at using natural resources so they are protected and last longer.”

Premier Campbell Newman hailed the plan as “a massive and exemplary exercise in listening and consulting which involved various discussion forums from summits and community think tanks to boardroom workshops and robust family debates.”

But Queenslanders shouldn’t get too excited about Newman’s LNP government making a sudden lunge towards clean energy.

Queensland may well have more rooftop solar PV than any other state – 1.1GW out of a country total of 3.4GW – but it has very few large scale renewable energy projects, and little prospect of more in the near term. Network operators have also introduced new rules that may prevent new solar installations from exporting their output back into the grid.

The Newman Government has constantly derided “green schemes”, such as the solar feed-in tariff, for contributing towards higher power prices, even though it has benefited from a huge increase in dividends from the state owned network operators derived from big increases in network costs.

The government also wants the renewable energy target brought to a halt, rather than expanded. This appears designed to accommodate the needs of the state-owned fossil fuel generators, Stanwell Corp and CS Energy, which have called for renewable support schemes to end.

Stanwell Corp, in particular, has been critical of the role that rooftop solar has played in lowering wholesale electricity prices and forcing its books into the red.

The Queensland Energy Minister, Mick McArdle, said in his submission to the RET Review panel, that efforts to reduce emissions should be delayed until the state is rich enough.

So, how will the Newman government respond to the desire of its constituents expressed in the Queensland Plan?

The document includes some suggestions about how Queenslanders can “turn their ideas into action” and “make our vision a reality”.

Specifically, the document recommends:

“Subscribe to local and international think tanks and keep up to date about alternative energy solutions and environmental issues.”

Well, that’s a start. We trust, however, that the Newman government is not suggesting the Institute of Public Affairs. We’d recommend The Australian Institute, or the Centre for Policy Development. And RenewEconomy.

August 2, 2014 Posted by | energy, Queensland | Leave a comment

Queensland uranium plan fails the nuclear test

 1 Aug 14 State government plans released today and promoting a fast tracked uranium industry in Queensland have been described by ACF as fanciful and irresponsible.

“The LNP’s promotion of uranium mining has the logic of a problem gambler,” said ACF nuclear free campaigner Dave Sweeney. “It is a bad policy based on a broken promise and is driven by enthusiasm rather than evidence”.

Ahead of the 2012 state election Campbell Newman declared it was ‘very, very clear that we have no plans to develop any sort of uranium mines in Queensland’. After the election and without any independent assessment or public consultation the LNP back-flipped on uranium and today Mines Minister Cripps is championing the sector.

His industry promotion is deeply flawed, including in relation to:

(i)    Economic benefits – these have never independently tested by LNP and the Australian uranium industry has been graph-down-uraniumseriously hurt and constrained by market fallout from Fukushima with the uranium price hovering around nine-year lows amid weak demand.

The Ministers spruiking of uranium as an economic bonanza has been released as Australia’s longest operating uranium mine – Energy Resources of Australia’s Ranger mine in Kakadu – announced a further half year operating loss of $127 million.

“Queenslanders would do well to look at the facts before signing on to the fiction. This is an absurd time to be giving a green light to yellowcake,” said Mr Sweeney.

(ii)    Royalty payments: the Minister’s talk of “royalties to fund school and health services, roads and public infrastructure” fails to acknowledge that the Queensland Resources Council is currently involved in closed door talks with the LNP seeking to negotiate reduced or suspended royalties for any future state uranium mine.

(iii)     Uranium transport: Minister Cripps dismissal of community concerns over the possible future movement of uranium through a Queensland port lacks credibility.  The LNP government has not ruled out any such movements, the Port of Townsville has formally expressed interest in facilitating such movements, the federal government and uranium industry lobbyists are pushing for a new export site on the east coast and the proposed Ben Lomond deposit is just up the road.

In today’s media when asked whether it was possible for a Queensland port to be granted permission to be used as an export point, Mr Cripps would not rule it out: “Well if an application comes forward to assess a port for the export of uranium oxide, I mean, we’ll take it and we’ll assess it.”

“The Queensland community and environment deserve better than backflips, backroom deals and backward thinking,” said Mr Sweeney.

“If Minister Cripps thinks this industry adds up he should have no problem with an independent public Inquiry into the cost and consequences of the LNP’s plan for uranium mining. This industry is contested and contaminating and demands scrutiny and rigour, not wishful thinking and lame assurances,” said Mr Sweeney.

Further context or comment: Dave Sweeney 0408 317 812

 

 

August 1, 2014 Posted by | business, Queensland, uranium | Leave a comment

Huge Aboriginal death toll when Europeans invaded – should be recognised

Australian War Memorial should recognise revised Aboriginal death toll: researcher, Brisbane Times July 17, 2014  Brisbane Times and Sun-Herald journalist New research that has calculated an Aboriginal death toll of more than 65,000 in Queensland alone during the so-called frontier wars has renewed calls for formal recognition at the Australian War Memorial.

But the AWM in Canberra has dismissed the idea, saying recognition should instead be in the National Museum.

The research, presented to the Australian Historical Association’s Conflict in History conference last week at the University of Queensland, estimated 66,680 deaths between 1788 and 1930.

Of those deaths, 65,180 were indigenous, which is more than six times what was previously thought. The report’s co-author, historian Professor Raymond Evans, said the calculations were based on official records, witnesses’ reports and the number of patrols undertaken by the colonial Queensland government’s Native Police.

Professor Evans said the 65,180 figure was “conservative” and could be as high as 115,000.

“This is just Queensland – imagine what the nation-wide figure could be,” he said.

“If you say it’s a war, you at least allow the fact that Aboriginal people fought hard to defend their lands, so you can say they were warriors and they were fighting for their country. “They were fighting for Australia, for their land.”

Professor Evans said the estimated death toll was at least on a par with Australian casualties during World War I.

“The Australian War Memorial should recognise this as a war. It’s got such a high death rate, it was fought over a long period of time and it was fought between different communities, different nations, for territory,” he said.

“It’s a fight for land and territorial possession and it has many features of warfare and, of course, a huge death rate.” http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/australian-war-memorial-should-recognise-revised-aboriginal-death-toll-researcher-20140716-ztqr6.html#ixzz388vSgyg2

July 21, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Queensland | Leave a comment

Ben ­Lomond uranium mine – unsafe in the past, unsafe now

safety-symbolMine safety ‘an impossibility’ JOSH ALSTON TOWNSVILLE BULLETIN JULY 15, 2014  TERRORIST cells like Al-Qaeda could target Townsville for uranium to power their nuclear weapons if the controversial Ben Lomond mine is reopened 40km from the city, according to deputy mayor Vern Veitch……

Cr Veitch, who will address an anti-uranium protest rally in Townsville later this month, said he believed that aside from the “extreme consequences” for Townsville if something went wrong at the mine, it could invite terrorists into our backyard.

“There is a risk nuclear products could fall into the wrong hands in the Middle East or Eastern Asia,” he said.

Cr Veitch said “there is always that possibility,” that the uranium mine could make Townsville a target for terrorists. Especially with the large military base (at Lavarack).”…….

With any uranium mining operations at Ben ­Lomond certain to include a highly radioactive tailings dam, he said it was an “impossibility” to ensure safety at the mine in a tropical region prone to cyclones.

“They definitely haven’t been able to contain spills in tropical Australia and I think it would be an impossibility at this location,” he said.

“The State Mining Warden of the time closed it down (in 1981) because they considered it unsafe … what makes it safe now?……

Citizens Against Mining Ben Lomond spokesman David Sewell fears radioactive materials could be transported via the city to the port and then on to the Great Barrier Reef.

The protest march will start at 9.30am on July 27 on the grassed area behind the Picnic Bay Surf Life Saving Club.

July 19, 2014 Posted by | Queensland, safety, uranium | Leave a comment

The real cost to Queensland of uranium mining may be very high

Queensland lifts its uranium ban, but is the price worth the cost? The Conversation Maxine Newlands Lecturer in Journalism, Researcher in Environmental Politics at James Cook University Liz Tynan Senior Lecturer and Co-ordinator Research Student Academic Support at James Cook University 1 July 14, 

As of today, Queensland has lifted a 32-year ban on uranium mining. That decision was taken within months of the 2012 state election, despite Premier Campbell Newman’s pre-election promise not to restart mining the radioactive mineral.

 

Miners are being invited to apply to restart the industry under the Queensland’s government’s uranium action plan, which will mean Canadian company Mega Uranium can reopen the Ben Lomond and other mines in north Queensland.

Queensland’s resumption of uranium mining comes only days after Australia’s newest uranium mine, Four Mile in South Australia, officially opened on 25 June.

fearYet the price of uranium has fallen from a high in 2007 of US$70 a pound to $US28, due to factors including oversupplyand what the Wall Street Journal has described as a “post-Fukushima funk”.

Given the prices are so low that The Australian has reportedthat Four Mile is already losing money, while the Beverley mine has been mothballed since January, why are Australian states looking to open more mines?………….

Battles ahead over Queensland exports

The highest concentration of Queensland’s uranium mines sit in the northern tropics, an area prone to Category 5 cyclones.

A 2013 Swiss study found uranium was far more mobile than originally thought. Uranium once extracted, becomes soluble in water, increasing the chances of contamination or radioactive dust carried in high winds and heavy rainfall.

If Ben Lomond is reopened, the quickest way to export its uranium would be through the city of Townsville, home to 190,000 people, which is only 50km from the mine.

The Port of Townsville has said it has the capability to “facilitate the transportation and export of yellowcake”. The Queensland’s government’s uranium action plan recommends that:

Queensland’s efforts should be [put] on facilitating the use of existing ports and shipping lanes by industry for the export of uranium.

However, the Port of Townsville sits within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and close to sensitive environments including the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, dugong protected areas, seagrass beds, fringing coral reefs and mangrove forests.

Last year, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority chairman Russell Reichelt told the ABC that:

I think shipping of any toxic cargo would be of concern. But really we would have to see a proposal and we would have to consider that.

So this is set to be a contentious issue: while economic development of the north has bipartisan support at a federal, state and local government level, a number of locals and environmental groups have said they will challenge any plans to reopen uranium mines and exports from Queensland.

The big question for Queensland residents to consider now is whether the return of uranium mining to the state will be worth the wait for the uranium price to recover, given the risks attached to transporting the mineral through populated and environmentally-sensitive areas.http://theconversation.com/queensland-lifts-its-uranium-ban-but-is-the-price-worth-the-cost-28105

July 2, 2014 Posted by | environment, Queensland, uranium | Leave a comment

Solar energy a winner for homes in Caloundra and Iswich, Queensland

solar-rooftopCaloundra and Ipswich tops for solar: Energex   BRISBANETIMES.COM.AU  SENIOR REPORTER, 13 June 14  The retirees, holiday makers and young families of Caloundra and the working class city of Ipswich have Southeast Queensland’s highest proportion of solar systems according to a breakdown of Energex data.

The breakdown from Energex figures shows some remarkable variations from conventional thinking.

There are fewer solar systems in West End (295), Highgate Hill (210) and South Brisbane (70), than in Inala (982) or Durack (645).

There are more in Carindale (1523)  and Rochedale South (1465) than in Premier Campbell Newman’s home suburb of Ashgrove (691).

Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls sparked a massive outcry last week when he described some solar energy users as part of the “champagne sippers and the latte set.”

Jeremy Rich, from one of Australia’s longest-running solar energy companies, Energy Matters, said Mr Nicholls’ comments were simply wrong. “It is obvious those statements are emotional statements, without looking at the data,” Mr Rich said. “Because when you look at the data it shows that it is totally the opposite,” he said. “It is the low to middle income areas of Australia that are hurting the most.”

Their company data is similar to the Energex breakdown, showing a major interest in solar energy in Ipswich, Capalaba, Browns Plains and Cleveland in four of the top five spots.

Central Ipswich – home to Swanbank power station – has 50 per cent solar energy penetration, Mr Rich said.

Ipswich homes under the postcode of 4305 – including the suburbs from Raceview through to Brassall – have 5197 solar installations.

Caloundra’s postcode of 4551 – including Caloundra, Caloundra West, Currimundi and Dickey Beach –  has 6311 solar installations up to May 2014………

A quick top 10 of Energex’s solar hot spots and their postcodes are:

1: Caloundra 4551: 6311 solar installations

2: Ipswich central east 4305: 5197 solar installations from Raceview to Brassall

3: Advancetown/Gold Coast hinterland  4211: solar 4941 installations

4:  Buderim 4556: 4379 solar installations

5: Beenleigh 4207: 4363  solar installations

6: Bray Park 4500: 3931 solar installations

7: Ipswich south-west 4300: Goodna/Camira to Springfield: 3930 solar installations

8: Amberley, Barellan Point and Blacksoil 4306: 3910 solar installations

9:  Mt Cotton and Redland Bay 4165: 3810 solar installations

10:  Gympie and its surrounds 4570: 3678 solar installations.  http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/caloundra-and-ipswich-tops-for-solar-energex-20140612-zs66n.html#ixzz34fZsRL6G

June 14, 2014 Posted by | Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

Queensland govt to intervene on the side of wind power opponents?

astroturf-windWind farm opponents welcome intervention ABC Rural    By Charlie McKillop, 12 June 14, Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney will determine the fate of a controversial wind farm proposed on the far north’s Atherton Tableland.

Mr Seeney has informed the Mareeba Council he’s decided to ‘call in’ the development application to establish 75 wind turbines at Mt Emerald, about 100 kilometres west of Cairns.

The move has been welcomed by both the mayor of Mareeba, Tom Gilmore, and opponents of the wind farm, who agree the size and complexity of the assessment is beyond the technical and financial resources of the council.

But Steve Lavis, from the Tablelands Wind Turbine Action Group, admits he has reservations about the decision being taken out of the local community…….http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-12/wind-farm-opponents-hopeful-about-intervention/5519106

June 13, 2014 Posted by | Queensland, wind | Leave a comment

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