Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s miserable history as part of the global nuclear empire

the outrage committed against the land and communities of Aboriginal Australia.

A small community of Aborigines at a nearby station was poisoned by the fallout, though it was unacknowledged at the time and for years afterwards. 

text-historyAnzac, New Mexico: Placing Australia in the Nuclear Empire, Meanjin, Robin Gerster, Dec 13 “…………The Fox Report fiasco is indicative of contradictions in Australian political attitudes to the nuclear industry. Australia refuses to contemplate nuclear power plants on its own soil, but it is happy to peddle its uranium to numerous countries in Asia and Europe. The meltdown at Fukushima in Japan in 2011 (in a reactor complex owned and operated by a big buyer of Australian uranium) temporarily rocked the markets and embarrassed advocates of nuclear energy…..

The state governments of mining mainstays such as South and Western Australia have a cheerfully gung-ho attitude to uranium. Distant Fukushima is out of mind as well as well out of sight. In addition to hosting established mega-concerns such as BHP Billiton, operator of the Olympic Dam mine near Roxby Downs, South Australia is rolling out the red carpet for new players…….

At Four Mile in the northern Flinders Ranges, another mine has been given the go-ahead. It is majority-owned by a subsidiary of Heathgate Resources, operator of the existing mine at Beverley in the same region, which is itself an affiliate of the nuclear arms maker General Atomics…. ‘Nuclear-free’ Australia has some alarming business connections. …

After the Second World War, Australia wanted to keep some atomic stuff for itself in addition to supplying the product to the United States and Britain. Continue reading

December 31, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, South Australia | Leave a comment

Olympic Dam uranium mine won’t replace Holden jobs

radiation-sign-sad27 Dec 13 “The stalled Olympic Dam mine expansion is not the answer to job greensSmcreation in South Australia, despite the Prime Minister’s vivid imagination”, according to Greens SA Parliamentary Leader, Mark Parnell MLC

“What the PM should be doing instead is focusing on how best to help South Australian industries create jobs in areas where we have a real competitive and natural advantage.  Map-South-Australia-windIf he opened his mind to the possibilities, he would see that SA is a leader in renewable energy and there is great potential for jobs growth in wind power, solar PV and in the emerging area of Solar Thermal, such as that proposed for Port Augusta to replace the existing dirty coal fired power stations. [See:]

“That’s why the Prime Minister’s decision to axe the Clean Energy Finance Corporation is bad news for South Australia.  It’s also why we should be very worried about his likely decision to water down the Renewable Energy Target.  This target is the reason why so many energy companies chose to invest in South Australia over the last few years – because our abundant wind and solar resources give us the edge over other States in the grid.

“Liberal leader, Steven Marshall should be horrified at what his party is doing to South Australia’s future economic opportunities and he should be calling on the PM to change direction. Continue reading

December 27, 2013 Posted by | politics, South Australia, uranium | Leave a comment

University College London (Australia) pushing its nuclear agenda with a survey


Mr Parnell said nuclear power did not have to be pushed into a survey about alternative energy”  Lumping nuclear energy in with low-carbon technologies is just wrong,”

Anger after nuclear option placed on alternative energy survey DECEMBER 22, 2013 NUCLEAR power has been put on the table in a survey that asks country South Australians about their preferred alternative energy options.

The survey, commissioned by Regional Development Australia, asks residents in the Yorke Peninsula and the Mid North to respond to a “community preferences survey” regarding their views on solar panels, solar farms, nuclear, household, wind turbines, wind farms, hydro, geothermal facilities, waste-to-energy/plant and biomass plants.

RDA, funded by federal and state governments as well as the region’s local councils, states on its website that the survey is part of a “project to determine how best to prepare the region for renewable energy and other low-carbon technologies as part of the state’s climate change adaptation strategy”.

But Greens MLC Mark Parnell slammed the survey and said the proponents, the region’s councils, had been pushing an anti-wind generation agenda. Continue reading

December 23, 2013 Posted by | South Australia, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Adelaide’s University College London (UCL) -pro nuclear research funded by nuclear interests

hypocrisy-scaleProfessors slam UCL Australia’s nuclear and shale gas research by  on November 18, 2013 

  • Two biggest donors are uranium and shale gas producers

• Academics say this makes idea research was independent “laughable”

Senior professors have spoken out against University College London (UCL) Australia’s pro-nuclear, pro-shale gas research, claiming that strong industry ties make the idea it is independent “laughable”.

UCL’s Adelaide-based campus released one green paper calling for Australia to acquire nuclear submarines and another advocating the use of shale gas in the country. Of its two biggest sponsors, one mines uranium – needed to fuel nuclear submarines – and the other produces shale gas.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, UCL professors told London Student: “The idea that research favouring nuclear submarines and shale gas extraction could possibly be independent (taking into account relevant alternatives) is laughable – UCL Australia has not produced a single piece of research on sustainable, greener, or alternative energies.”

“A university should not only be academically independent and impartial but also be seen to be so. In these matters UCL’s academic integrity is in jeopardy.” Continue reading

December 23, 2013 Posted by | secrets and lies, South Australia | Leave a comment

Now on the endangered list- the critically important South Australian Environmental Defenders Office

exclamation-SOUTH AUSTRALIAN ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENDERS OFFICE (EDO) FACES CLOSURE AFTER FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FUNDING CUTS   18 December 2013 The Federal government yesterday cut $10 million in funding for  across Australia. EDOs specialise in public interest environmental and planning laws. A further $810,000 in funding will cease from mid-2014, reducing Federal support to zero.

The shock funding cuts will result in an immediate significant decline in services and the likely closure of the South Australian EDO office by June 2014. The EDO provides numerous individuals and community groups across the state  with free legal advice on environmental and planning laws relating to building or mining developments, water issues, pollution, and heritage issues. Clients are provided with advice and assistance on how decisions are made and potential ways to challenge those decisions. The EDO also has an integral role in providing responses to proposed changes to environmental law and policy.

 The SA EDO has run a number of high profile cases including in relation to the proposed expansion of the Olympic Dam mine, a project likely to have significant impacts on the Great Artesian Basin and the Upper Spencer Gulf marine environment.

“This is an extremely disappointing decision for many South Australians whose access to expert legal advice to help them protect their environment will be severely curtailed. The community should be alarmed about the very real threat to the survival of the EDO – we are now on the endangered list.  We call on the Federal Government to restore the funding otherwise defending property rights, community amenity and the environment could become unaffordable for many South Australians.” said Melissa Ballantyne, Coordinator and Principal Solicitor of the EDO.

December 18, 2013 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

BHP not keen to waste more money developing uneconomic Olympic Dam

BHPB-sadWhere Olympic Dam is concerned, it’s the outlook for the main commodity—uranium—rather than potential investors that it mostly dislikes.

BHP Warms to Partnerships, But Olympic Dam Remains in the Cold WSJ 10 Dec 13BHP Billiton Ltd. wants to share the love to get its $10 billion Jansen potash project in Canada off the ground. But the world’s biggest mining company is being a determined single when it comes to another costly development: Australia’s Olympic Dam…….

BHP’s reluctance to seek a partner for an expanded Olympic Dam project in South Australia may surprise as it’s stuck on the back burner, squeezed by low commodity prices and high development costs estimated by analysts at around $30 billion. In August last year, BHP said it would look for a less costly design for the Olympic Dam mine, which had been expected to bring in billions in tax dollars and create thousands of jobs. Up to now, it hasn’t announced any new plans for the site.

At first glance, finding a competitor to share development costs and risks with BHP makes sense. If they also bring in new technology then so much the better.

The problem for BHP is that a partner might actually want to get the project moving, even at a much-reduced scale. That would test BHP’s desire to keep annual spending below $15 billion in future, down by a third from last year’s bill totaling $21.7 billion. With uranium prices continuing to hover near eight-year lows, and several countries debating nuclear power in their energy mix, BHP can avoid such tough decisions by keeping full control of the asset.

“We like partnerships,” Mr Mackenzie told U.S. investors. Where Olympic Dam is concerned, it’s the outlook for the main commodity—uranium—rather than potential investors that it mostly dislikes.

December 11, 2013 Posted by | business, South Australia, uranium | Leave a comment

Waubra Foundation calls South Australian Environment Protection Authority “corrupt”

exclamation-Waubra Foundation attacks EPA Shannon Twomey Weekly Times,   December 3, 2013  THE Waubra Foundation labels the South Australian Environment Protection Authority corrupt and is calling for an external inquiry.

The anti-wind farm group attacked SA EPA over its Waterloo Wind Farm Noise Study findings which were conducted during April and June. The results were released on November 26.

The study found the Waterloo Wind Farm meets relevant SA and international standards and there was no evidence linking the noise from the wind farm to adverse impacts on residents.

But in a letter sent yesterday to South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill, Waubra Foundation chief executive Sarah Laurie said the EPA staff involved in the study were deliberately attempting to corrupt the data and mislead residents.
…….The letter concludes with five “necessary actions” that Ms Laurie has urged from the Premier including an immediate external public inquiry into the SA EPA to investigate breaches of integrity, respect and accountability.

SA EPA’s operations director of science, assessment and planning Peter Dolan said noise from the Waterloo Wind Farm did not breach EPA guidelines.

He said infrasound levels from the wind farm were below the internationally threshold for perception and in many cases analyses of audio records and data were unable to demonstrate associations with events described in noise diaries……

December 9, 2013 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Largest native title area – South Australia win for Aboriginal people

Native title recognised after 18-year legal battle ABC Indigenous News, November 28, 2013  South Australia’s largest native title determination will be granted to Aboriginal people in the state’s far west next week. The claim covers 80-thousand square kilometres of land from the Western Australian border, to Tarcoola in the north and Streaky Bay in the south.

The recognition comes after nearly 18 years of struggle by the Wirangu, Kokatha, Mirning and Anangu people. The groups’ connection to the land will be formally recognised at a special Federal Court hearing at Lake Pidinga, north of Yalata, next Thursday……..

National Park gets new name Last year, the Arabana people were granted native title over 70,000 square kilometres of land in the state’s far north, including Lake Eyre. Lake Eyre National Park has now been officially renamed to include the traditional Aboriginal name for the landmark. At the request of the newly-formed Arabana Parks Advisory Committee, the park will now be known as Kati Thanda – Lake Eyre National Park. The park is co-managed between the State Government and Arabana people.

November 28, 2013 Posted by | aboriginal issues, South Australia | Leave a comment

South Australian Environment Protection Authority (EPA) finds Wind Farm Not Harming Residents

Map-South-Australia-windEPA study finds no evidence wind farm noise impacting residents ABC News, 27 Nov 2013,  A study into the Waterloo Wind Farm, south-east of Clare, has found there is no evidence linking noise from the farm to any adverse effects on local residents.

The study was undertaken by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) during April and June.

It has found noise produced does not breach authority guidelines and that low frequency infrasound levels are below internationally-accepted thresholds for perception.

The authority also says in some situations there was no association between events described by residents in noise diaries with audio records and data.

The authority’s Peter Dolan says he cannot say why local residents are complaining about health effects…….

November 28, 2013 Posted by | South Australia, wind | Leave a comment

Uranium loses its glow at SA mining conference

uranium-oreAUSTRALIAN CONSERVATION FOUNDATION, 26 Nov 13Uranium hopefuls will be hard pressed to find a positive story about the embattled sector at a mining industry conference this week in South Australia. The last two weeks have seen further evidence of the continuing market fallout from Fukushima on SA’s embattled uranium sector with the closure of the Honeymoon operation and the decision by Marathon Resources to exit the uranium trade, declaring the sector’s ‘risks outweigh the rewards’.

 fearThe news comes as a set of uranium junior companies join with the Beverley project’s Heathgate Resources to talk up the sector at the 2013 Mining South Australia conference, which starts today in Whyalla.

Australia’s uranium industry is suffering from:

  • ·                The scrapping of plans for a massive expansion of BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam mine in SA because of the ‘uncertain’ uranium market
  • ·                A fall in the uranium commodity price of around 50 per cent and larger falls in the share value of uranium mining companies since Fukushima – a continuing crisis directly fuelled by Australian uranium
  • ·                Sustained losses and operational failures at ERA’s Ranger mine in Kakadu
  • ·                Attempts by Queensland uranium promoters to receive ‘royalty relief’ and public concessions even before making any formal applications to mine
  • ·                Projects stalled, scrapped or deferred in WA, SA and the NT

“The uranium industry has long caused trouble, now it is increasingly in trouble,” said Australian Conservation Foundation nuclear free campaigner Dave Sweeney. “Uranium mining is a high-risk, low-return sector that poses unique, unresolved and long-lived threats and does not enjoy secure social license.

“It is time for politicians to stop accepting industry promises and start genuinely examining industry performance. “ACF urges state and federal governments to give effect to the UN Secretary General’s call that Australia conduct ‘an in-depth assessment of the net cost impact of the impacts of mining fissionable material (uranium) on local communities and ecosystems’.

“Instead of misplaced industry enthusiasm it is time for a comprehensive and independent assessment of the costs and consequences of the uranium sector.”

November 26, 2013 Posted by | business, South Australia, uranium | Leave a comment

Bikini nuclear tests as cause of 1954 Adelaide earthquake?

The electromagnetic pulse and ionization of the atmosphere resulting from the high-yield nuclear bomb Bravo was clearly associated with Adelaide earthquake.

text-historyThe Castle Bravo nuclear explosion of 1954. Part 1: Bobby 1′s Blog 21 Nov 13      In the Adelaide, Australia earthquake in the early morning of March 1, 1954, residents of Adelaide, Australia were awakened to a violent shaking in their beds. When they went outside, they saw a brilliant glow in the east. The United States had just set off the Castle Bravo nuclear bomb on Bikini Island, 3,600 miles away.On March 1, 1954, the detonation of an estimated 15 megaton thermonuclear weapon, known as “Bravo” took place – as part of the “Castle” test series. According to the U.S. Radiochemistry Society, “the Bravo test created the worst radiological disaster in US history ….the yield of Bravo dramatically exceeded predictions, being about 2.5 times higher than the best guess and almost double the estimated maximum possible yield (6 Mt predicted, estimated yield range 4-8 Mt).” The bomb was over 1000 times more powerful than those exploded over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. The Bravo crater in the atoll reef had a diameter of 6,510 ft, with a depth of 250 ft. The cloud top rose and peaked at 130,000 feet (almost 40 km) after only six minutes. Eight minutes after the test the cloud had reached its full dimensions with a diameter of 100 km, a stem 7 km thick, and a cloud bottom rising above 55,000 feet (16.5 km), and after 10 minutes had a diameter of more than 60 miles.

Intense radioactive fallout from the cloud was carried eastward and severely contaminated a Japanese commercial fishing boat and the atolls of Rongelap, Alinginea, Rongerik, and Utirik, some 200 miles away. About five hours after detonation, fallout began to deposit on the Rongelap Atoll. The fallout was so heavy that the Rongelap people, who had never seen snow, thought it was snowing. Children played in the radioactive powder, and no warning was issued by the JTF. “We saw a flash of lightening in the west like a second sun rising, “Anjain said in 1980. “We heard a loud explosion and within minutes the ground began to shake. A few hours later radioactive fallout began to drop on the people, into drinking water, and on the food. The children played in the colorful ash. They did not know what it was and many erupted on their arms and faces. (link)

The radioactive fallout from Bravo covered the planet, including the Southern Hemisphere. It was a fission-fusion-fission bomb, designed to release high levels of radioactivity. Its yield was 15 megatons, but it released almost seven times as much radiation than the Russian Tsar Bomba, which had a yield of 50 megatons. Continue reading

November 25, 2013 Posted by | history, South Australia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Marathon uranium project closed – unviable due to poor uranium market

uranium-orethumbs-downExplorer says uranium project unviable Yahoo 7 Finance 21 Nov 13, Minerals exploration company Marathon Resources has turned its back on the uranium industry for good. The company says its experience suggests the “risks were more likely to exceed rewards” in a sector hit by low ore prices.

“Both the political and regulatory regimes have deterred us permanently from the uranium industry,” chairman Peter Williams told the company’s annual meeting in Adelaide on Thursday. Marathon previously has been involved in exploring a section of South Australia’s Flinders Ranges with a view to developing a significant uranium deposit.

However, it fell foul of the South Australian government over the disposal of waste while the government eventually moved to ban all mining in the environmentally-sensitive area anyway.

Since then, the uranium industry has been hit by falling commodity prices which also has prompted mining giant BHP Billiton to mothball its plans for a $30 billion expansion of its Olympic Dam copper and gold operations…… industry is presently witnessing that part of the cycle where the spot price for product has fallen dramatically below production costs sufficient to amortise large capital costs,” he said……..

November 21, 2013 Posted by | business, South Australia, uranium | Leave a comment

Arabunna elder highlights the costs of BHP’s uranium trade at annual meeting

Buzzacott,-Kevin21 Nov 13,  Mr Kevin Buzzacott, the President of the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance and a respected Arabunna elder will today take his concerns over the proposed expansion of the Olympic Dam uranium mine in South Australia to BHP Billiton’s annual meeting in Perth. Mr Buzzacott has been vocal in opposing the Olympic Dam uranium mine and the planned expansion. Mr Buzzacott unsuccessfully tried to halt the expansion through the courts and has now been ordered to pay court costs to the Government and to BHPB. At today’s meeting he will be asking whether BHP, the world’s largest miner, will be seeking to follow this cost order.

 “I’m an Arabunna elder and I’ve spent the last thirty years trying to protect my country and the water from my country from this monster mine,” said Mr Buzzacott. “Now I’ve come all the way from South Australia because this is so important for me, I’m getting old and this could be my last chance to get BHPB to quit to shut Olympic Dam down and leave the desert and us in peace.”

“All my life I’ve stood up for my country because that is the right thing, that’s what we’re taught to do. Now BHPB have a choice whether they’re going to penalise me, take me for the court costs, for standing up for my country – or whether they’re going to respect my rights to protect those sacred places.”

The planned massive expansion of Olympic Dam has been shelved because of low uranium prices and market uncertainty. The current Olympic Dam mine consumes over thirty five million litres of water day from the Great Artesian Basin from Arabunna country and any future expansion would increase pressure on water resources.

“Now you say the expansion is on hold well we have a right to know whether you’re going to try and get this expansion happening or not. I mean it doesn’t make sense to dig deeper when people are waking up and saying no to the nuclear industry around the world.”


“Our land is our life and we will follow BHP Billiton to the ends of the earth to stop this mine from damaging our country and draining our water,” concluded Mr Buzzacott.

November 21, 2013 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, South Australia, uranium | Leave a comment

South Australian Aboriginal Call For a Treaty

Don’t take our lands – Yami Lester The Stringer, by Gerry Georgatos November 16th, 2013 “……..South Australia’s Kaurna Elder and Chair of the Kaurna Nation Cultural Heritage Association, Lynette Crocker said that instead of 99-year leases Governments should settle their differences once and for all with Aboriginal peoples with a Treaty “and instead do the right thing by all Aboriginal peoples.”

“Treaty should have come in South Australian regions in the 1830s when the colonialists dispossessed our peoples, and similarly so around Australia. But our Government does not care about Treaties, or about land rights or of doing the right thing. But we will keep the battle up and fight for Treaty. We will get it.”

“What little we have did not come easy. What happened to Australia was the Aboriginal voice rose, Gough Whitlam came along, a friend to our peoples, then the Wik decision and Eddie Mabo. Don’t’ ever imagine that Australian Governments want to give us anything. I approached the then Prime Minister, Julia Gillard about Treaty, and she responded to me, ‘We don’t’ need any more bits of paper.”

“The Prime Minister said to me ‘there will be no Treaty’. We have to raise our voices to get it, we have to come together because look what is happening otherwise – land rights are disappearing, lands are being taken back, and this is what the 99-year-leases are about to make sure we lose back to them – the control of our Countries.”……


November 20, 2013 Posted by | aboriginal issues, South Australia | Leave a comment

As USA’s nuclear plants bite the dust, so do Australian uranium mines?

burial.uranium-industrySouth Australian uranium Honeymoon mine to stop production, jobs in doubt  NEWS.COM.AU NOVEMBER 11, 2013 THE Honeymoon uranium mine in South Australia’s far northeast is expected to be mothballed. Low uranium prices and production difficulties at the plant have put pressure on the mine. The future of about 70 employees was not immediately known but far fewer employees would be needed when the mine is put under “care and maintenance”.

Honeymoon, which began producing uranium in 2011 , became wholly owned by Russian state company JSC Atomredmetzoloto in mid-October.

Previously it had been 49 per cent owned-and-operated by Canada’s Uranium One……..

Honeymoon is about 500km north by road from Adelaide, 80kms northwest of Broken Hill.It uses an in-situ leach method – where liquids are pumped underground to dissolve the uranium with the mineral extracted from the pregnant solution at the surface. SA is Australia’s leading uranium producer with Olympic Dam and Beverley in operation. Ranger in the NT is the only other mine. The Four Mile mine – near Beverley – has been approved but is yet to be built…..

November 12, 2013 Posted by | business, South Australia, uranium | Leave a comment


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