Australian news, and some related international items

 Paladin called on to close and rehabilitate Malawi uranium mine

Paladin-thumbConservation Council of Western Australia, 20 Nov 15  Shareholders at Perth based company Paladin’s AGM will call for the non-operational Kayelekera uranium mine in Malawi to be closed and rehabilitated. Calls for rehabilitation follow years of community opposition to the mine and failure to prevent the release of radioactive material into the environment.

The mine has been under ‘care and maintenance’ for several years due to the falling demand for uranium globally.

Charles Roche from the Mineral Policy Institute who will be attending the meeting said “With predicted operating costs almost double the long-term uranium price, there is a real danger that Kaylekera will be abandoned or sold off to reduce company debt. Instead of endless optimism Paladin should be honest about the possibility of re-commencing of mining in the next few years and begin rehabilitation works to protect communities, secure the site and end the cycle of financial losses”.

Mia Pepper, CCWA nuclear free campaigner who is in Africa at the Nuclearization of Africa conference this week said “We’ve been asking, along with French group CRIIRAD, for Paladin to release monitoring data from testing downstream from the mine. CRIIRAD have completed intermittent tests which indicate there is some radiological impact from the Kayelekera mine on the environment.”

“As the mine is about to go into a third year of being in Care and Maintenance we are concerned about the ongoing management of water on site and the structural integrity of the site. We would like to see this mine going into early rehabilitation, given the failures of Paladin to address community concerns, the clear local opposition to the project and the failure to contain radiological material onsite and an uncertain future. Rehabilitation should be done to the same standards expected in West Australia.”

Paladin has two uranium exploration projects in WA, also on hold given the stagnant uranium price and no mid term prospects of improvement. Paladin’s project in Qld is on hold indefinitely given that the Queensland Government reinstated the ban on uranium in Qld. Their JV proposal in the NT is also indefinitely on hold given strong opposition from the NT Government and Alice Springs residents.

November 20, 2015 Posted by | business, politics international, Western Australia | Leave a comment

 Investors urged to dump Toro Energy at company AGM

protest-2Conservation Council of Western Australia, 18 Nov 15,  Traditional Owners and environment groups will ask shareholders to withdraw support for Toro Energy highlighting community opposition to the company’s uranium mine plans and a flat lining uranium market at the Toro’s AGM today.

Vicki Abdullah, Traditional Owner of the Lake Maitland area where the company plans to mine uranium will be attending the AGM today.

Ms Abdullah said, “I’ve told Toro Energy time and time again that they are not allowed to mine at Lake Maitland, they have no right to destroy our homelands, our sacred places and the burial sites of our old people. You wouldn’t let them do that your home or your ancestors. Well I won’t let them do it to mine.”

CCWA Director Piers Verstegen, said “After ongoing weak performance we expect Toro Energy will be asking shareholders to ‘hang in there and be patient’, however the reality is that community opposition and weak market are serious impediments that are not going to go away.

“Uranium is unnecessary, unsafe and unwanted and we will be asking Toro shareholders to place their investments in more lucrative and responsible industries like renewable energy.

“Toro must also face reality and cease pressuring local communities and Traditional Owners causing anxiety and conflict over a mine that will never make economic sense” concluded Mr Verstegen.


November 18, 2015 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Cameco’s uranium plans in Western Australia stalled indefinitely by low prices

burial.uranium-industryUranium miner Cameco to move in WA when demand lifts for nuclear energy, Perth Now 
October 28, 2015 
North American uranium miner Cameco plans to advance its WA projects when demand picks up.

The company says it is frustrated by roadblocks to uranium mining in WA, particularly from the WA Labor Party, which may stop new uranium mines from going ahead if elected.

Cameco Australia managing director Brian Reilly said uranium miners would need access to more Australian ports to export its products in the future……..

November 4, 2015 Posted by | business, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Australian media continues to confuse return of Lucas Heights wastes with plan to import world’s radioactive trash

text-cat-questionWhy does  the media continue to confuse the return of nuclear waste to Lucas Heights (permitted due to contracts, in Australian law) with the ill conceived plan to invite the world’s radioactive trash in, as a supposedly $squillion dollar industry – (which is illegal in Australia)

greed copyWA site ‘ideal’ for nuclear dump Andrew Probyn | Federal Political Editor | Canberra November 3, 2015,  The man behind WA’s only short-listed site for a radioactive waste dump says the mulga scrub near Leonora would be ideal home for the world’s spent nuclear fuel rods.

Glenn Baker, who owns 100ha submitted by Leonora Shire Council for low and intermediate level radioactive waste dump, said the area had the stable geology, environment and remoteness necessary for a world repository of high level nuclear waste.

The South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission has been told the industry could be worth $28 billion over the next three decades, such is the global demand for nuclear waste storage.

Mr Baker’s property “Waarmba” is one of seven sites short-listed for a federal radioactive waste management facility to dispose more than 4200 cubic metres of low-level waste from hospitals and universities, and store almost 700 cubic metres of intermediate waste from Lucas Heights nuclear reactor in Sydney. Continue reading

November 4, 2015 Posted by | wastes, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Western Australia’s wave power microgrid – a world first

waveWorld-first wave power microgrid to be trialled in WA By Emily Piess A WA energy company is about to trial the world’s first renewable microgrid power station using wave energy as one of its sources.

Perth-based Carnegie Wave Energy will build the pilot project on Garden Island, using wave and solar energy to supply power to the Defence Department and a desalination plant. Chief executive Michael Ottaviano said the technology could be used to provide power to regional townships near the coast, as well as island communities. “This is a model for islands to move away from diesel-power generation into a combination of renewables,” Mr Ottaviano said.

“It’s also [a model for] regional towns in Western Australia, particularly those that are either off-grid and also running on diesel, or those that are on the so-called fringes of a grid, typically on the end of long transmission lines.”

Mr Ottaviano said the technology could reduce WA’s reliance on transmission lines that are expensive to maintain and upgrade. “It can cost hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade, so as a way to avoid that sort of large expense, embedding renewable microgrids on the end of those transmission lines will be the future of clean power in Western Australia,” he said.

“The Garden Island microgrid project will do the equivalent amount of power for about 2,000 to 3,000 households, so it’s already of commercial scale.” Western Power is partnering with Carnegie and will provide technical expertise on the project.The microgrid, which will cost up to $10 million to build, will produce about five megawatts of energy, a significant portion of the Defence Department’s electricity use on Garden Island.

If the trial is successful, Mr Ottaviano said the microgrid model could be used in regional centres such as Albany and Geraldton. “This potentially could be rolled out to thousands and millions of households across Western Australia and beyond that really across the globe,” he said. “The potential for these sorts of projects is enormous.”Carnegie will undertake a detailed design phase before construction begins next year.

The microgrid is due to be completed by the end of 2016.

October 31, 2015 Posted by | energy, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Don’t let Western Australia be a radioactive quarry and waste dump

CCWA Campaign: Let’s keep WA nuclear free! Don’t let WA be a radioactive quarry and waste dump

(Check out the information provided here about uranium exploration in WA and the Kintyre, Wiluna, Mulga Rock and Yeelirrie uranium mine proposals – and radiation and health issues)

Nuclear Free WA , 23 Oct 15  WA has never had a commercial uranium mine; we’ve had state wide bans on uranium mining and federal restrictions on uranium mining and a long history of public opposition.

After the 2007 state election the newly elected State Liberal Government lifted a long standing ban on uranium in WA. This came shortly after the Australian Labor Party changed the three mine policy which has since the 1980s meant that there could only be three uranium mines operating in Australia. With these two decisions WA has become the target for many uranium miners.

There are now approximately 140 companies with uranium interests in WA, there are three proposed mines which are engaged in the State’s EPA approvals process followed closely by another two proposals which are advancing their exploration programs followed by about 80 + other uranium explorations.

Uranium mining in WA is not a done deal

No uranium mine has been approved in WA at a state level or a federal level and there is mounting concern in the communities about the dangers and implications of mining uranium. There are strong calls for a public inquiry into uranium mining from environment, social justice and public health groups, from traditional owners, unions and politicians.

WA has a strong history of opposition against the nuclear industry, we know it’s radioactive, we know that uranium and its by products can cause cancer, we know uranium mining and milling is water intensive and that we’re a dry state, we know that in Australia despite regulations and controls we have contaminated mine sites and weapons test sites that have never been cleaned up to a safe standard.

Nuclear and climate change

The nuclear industry and those who support it continue to talk about nuclear power being the solution to climate change, but we know there is carbon pollution associated with every stage of the nuclear fuel chain. We know that as ore grades decline mining and milling processes become more and more carbon intensive. Nuclear Power is polluting, radioactive, expensive and finite; it is unsafe, unwanted and un-necessary.

October 23, 2015 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Western Australia’s Wave powered Desalination Plant Now Operational

waveASX Announcement Friday, 23rd October, 2015 Wave Powered Desalination Plant • Wave powered desalination plant operational • First bottle presented to WA Water Minister Hon Mia Davies at AWA Conference   • MAK Water agency agreement extended to remote islands, first opportunities underway

Wave energy developer Carnegie Wave Energy Limited (ASX: CWE) is pleased to announce the world’s first wave energy powered seawater reverse osmosis desalination plant is fully integrated and operational. Carnegie’s desalination pilot plant on Garden Island (co-located with the Perth Wave Energy Project) was successfully commissioned off the electricity grid earlier this year, and is now fully integrated with the CETO wave energy power plant, meaning that the desalination plant is capable of running both off the grid and directly off hydraulic power from Carnegie’s wave project, or a combination of both.

The first bottle of wave-powered desalinated water produced was presented by Carnegie’s Chief Operating Officer, Greg Allen, to the Western Australian Minister for Water the Honourable Mia Davies MLA at the Australian Water Association’s (AWA) Annual Western Australian Conference today. Mr Allen presented on wave energy integrated desalination at the Conference timed to coincide with National Water Week (presentation attached). Carnegie’s Wave Powered Desalination Project won the 2014 AWA Innovation award.

October 23, 2015 Posted by | energy, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Perth home entirely powered by solar energy shows the way

highly-recommendedPerth gets first home powered almost totally by solar BKathryn Diss A Hilton home has become the first in Perth to use the Sun to meet almost all of its power needs by storing the energy in batteries while still remaining solar-home-storage-etcconnected to the power grid. (diagram at left not realistic!) 

The home uses solar for 97 per cent of its power needs and also offloads excess supply onto the grid, in what could become a mainstream feature in the future.

Environmental scientist Josh Byrne built the home in Perth’s southern suburbs two years ago with a 10-star energy rating.

But despite having an energy efficient home solar panels on his roof, Mr Byrne was still paying power bills.

So, Curtin University’s Jemma Green proposed a battery storage trial at the home to try to further reduce his power bills. She had spent the past year researching and getting approvals for the project while seeking funding to pay for the batteries and her research.  Continue reading

October 9, 2015 Posted by | solar, storage, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Western Australian Wiluna uranium project in the doldrums for the forseeable future

thumbs-downWA’s first uranium mine likely to be delayed as Toro Energy puts Wiluna on hold WESTERN Australia’s first new uranium mine is likely to be delayed due to the ongoing downturn in demand and prices, Perth Now, 1 Oct 15 

Toro Energy has put its Wiluna uranium project on hold as it waits for market conditions to improve. The company began drilling at the project in 2014 and had expected to start operations in 2017.

“We will get to build Wiluna when we get the price that makes Wiluna economic. We are not seeing that price today,” managing director Vanessa Guthrie told AAP.

Wiluna, 960 kilometres northeast of Perth, is the first new uranium mine in WA to receive federal Guthrie poisoned-chalice-3government approval since the lifting of a ban on uranium mining in 2008.

The project will require prices between $60 and $70 a pound to make money, Dr Guthrie said.

Long term uranium prices currently hover around $45 per pound, almost half the levels of five years ago. Prices are expected to dip further because of large stockpiles……..

Global uranium production has stalled in the past two years as depressed uranium prices have curtailed exploration activities and the opening of new mines……

October 1, 2015 Posted by | business, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Western Australia’s govt slow to re-register Aboriginal sacred sites

Aboriginal-protest-remote-WWA Government ‘dragging feet’ over sacred site registration: Indigenous group, ABC News 25 Sep 15 By Kathryn Diss An Aboriginal heritage group has accused the State Government of dragging its feet on reinstating several sacred sites it deregistered over the past year.

Several culturally significant sites around WA have had their protection withdrawn on the basis they no longer fit the definition of a sacred site.

Guidelines issued by the Department of Aboriginal Affairs stated that to be a recognised sacred site, a place needed to have been devoted to religious use rather than simply mythological stories, songs or beliefs.

But in a test case in April challenging the Aboriginal Cultural Materials Committee’s (ACMC) deregistration of a site in Port Hedland, the Supreme Court quashed the decision to remove it from the protected list.

Dr Stephen Bennetts from the Aboriginal Heritage Action Alliance said it had been months since the ruling was handed down and the government had not yet reinstated the other sites.

Dr Bennetts said he is concerned the sites could be damaged if they were not adequately protected. “It is quite possible some of those may have already been damaged,” he said.

Dr Bennetts said it was a scandal none of the custodians of the deregistered sites had been notified of the court’s decision.

“Because we know the reasoning the ACMC deregistered them in the first place was to make it easier for developers to get their approvals that was the exact reason,” he said………..

September 26, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Walkatjurra Walkabout completes 5th walk against uranium mining in West Australia 16 Sep 15: “The Walkatjurra Walkabout, which started in 2011,  finished its 5th walk in the North Eastern Goldfields town  of Leonora on Tuesday. The walk, a collaboration of Aboriginal and non-indigenous people, is a moving community  protest against the proposed uranium mines in the region.

The month long walk, lead by local Traditional Owners,  covered almost 450 km’s from Wiluna to Leonora, passing  Toro Energy’s Wiluna uranium mine proposal at Lake Way and Cameco’s proposed uranium mine at Yeelirrie Station.  Walk participants included local Traditional Owners, people
from Australia, Japan, Taiwan, England, Sweden, Aotearoa (New Zealand), America and France.

The walks continue to attract people interested in learning about Aboriginal culture, caring for country and to share a united vision for a nuclear free world.

greensSmThe walk was also joined at Yeelirrie for two days by Federal Greens senators Rachel Siewert and Co-Deputy Greens leader Scott Ludlam along with state Greens MLC Robin Chapple.

The visit included a tour of Toro Energy’s uranium project at Lake Way near Wiluna with walkers and Toro Energy. Many of the participants have first hand experience of the
dangers of the nuclear industry, especially those from Japan and Taiwan, whose nuclear industry are fuelled by Australian uranium. … “

September 19, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, opposition to nuclear, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Video: Walkajurra Walkabout protest Toro uranium mining project

Env-AustWalkajurra Walkabout begins fifth protest of Toro uranium mining project Anti-nuclear protesters have come together for the fifth consecutive Walkajurra Walkabout to oppose energy company’s Toro Energy uranium mining project.
By  Craig Quartermaine Yellarie Source:  NITV News 31 AUG 2015 

TRANSCRIPT Malarndirri McCarthy: The Walkajurra Walkabout has international anti-nuclear protesters and traditional owners gathered together on some of the richest uranium deposits in the country.

Craig Quartermaine: I’m here at Yellerie Station for the Walkajurra Walkabout that will continue for the next two weeks it’s a dynamic mix of people who make their way through country

After protesters set up camp, they had a breakdown of the meeting with Toro Energy before turning in for the night……

Kado Muir is the Tjurrura man who has lead the event for the last five years .

Kado Muir, Walkajurra Walkabout organiser: So if they ever got the approval to mine it, it would dig up a 50 kilometre area, taking uranium out of the ground, turning it over, extracting the ore, leaving radioactive materials behind, all this beautiful land will end up being a radioactive wasteland……..Basically all these people share this common goal with us the Aboriginal people of this land of keeping uranium in the ground and shutting down the nuclear industry.

September 3, 2015 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Western Australian Labor holds firm to nuclear-free policies

logo-ALPURANIUM AND THORIUM (nb: from Environment chapter)

  1. WA Labor believes that:
  2. Enriching uranium poses significant risks to human health, the natural environment and is not a solution to climate change; and
  3. Thorium also poses significant risks to human health and the environment.


  1. In Government, WA Labor will:
  2. Oppose the mining and export of uranium;
  3. Oppose nuclear enrichment, nuclear power and otherwise the production of dangerous radioactive waste;
  4. Oppose the storage of nuclear energy waste in Western Australia;
  5. Oppose the testing or use of nuclear weapons in Western Australia or near our coastline;
  6. Encourage local governments to declare themselves ‘Nuclear Free Zones’; and
  7. Ensure that the mining of thorium in Western Australia only occurs under the most stringent environmental conditions and oppose thorium exports to countries that do not observe the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.


URANIUM MINING & NUCLEAR ENERGY (nb: from Industry and Regional Development chapter)

  1. Recognising the problems, hazards and dangers of nuclear power, especially relating to:
  2. The safety of the nuclear fuel cycle;
  3. The unsolved problems pertaining to the reprocessing and storage of radioactive wastes and spent plant;
  4. The growing concern about the biomedical effects of even low radiation;
  5. The coupling of nuclear energy and nuclear weapon development;
  6. The added danger of a future plutonium economy and the threats to civil liberties involved in a nuclear economy; and
  7. The fact that Labor policy contained herein on fossil fuels, energy conservation and renewable resources will ensure Western Australian energy self-sufficiency.


  1. WA Labor will:
  2. Reject nuclear power as an option for electricity generation in Western Australia;
  3. Oppose the establishment of a nuclear enrichment facility in the State;
  4. Reject the establishment of nuclear processing plants or the storage of nuclear wastes in the State;
  5. Allow no uranium mining or development in Western Australia; and
  6. Place thorium under the restrictions and conditions applicable to the mining, processing, sale and transportation of uranium currently mined in Australia as outlined in the Resources and Energy section of the National Platform, so far as they relate to nuclear non-proliferation.


  1. The platform recognises WA Labor’s long and continuous opposition to Uranium Mining.  The commencement and continuation of any uranium project is inconsistent with WA Labor Policy.  WA Labor will accept no obligation to complete approval processes or honour contractual arrangements entered into by a previous government where such approvals or contracts are directed towards an outcome inconsistent with WA Labor’s platform.

International Relations:

Support measures that prevent the use of Australian uranium exports in the proliferation of nuclear weapons or environmental degradation


September 2, 2015 Posted by | politics, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Solar energy to power Perth

text-people-power-solarSolar to fuel new power generation Daniel Mercer August 27, 2015, 

Nearly all of Perth’s daytime electricity needs will be met by rooftop solar panels within a decade, according to State Energy Minister Mike Nahan.In his strongest comments yet on the rampant popularity of solar panels, Dr Nahan told an Energy in WA conference the technology would provide virtually all new generation capacity by 2025.

Fuelled by falling solar panel prices and rising electricity tariffs, demand for solar cells has been running at 20-30 per cent in Perth for the past six years.

About 170,000 households in the South West grid covering Perth now have a system.

Dr Nahan said installed solar capacity across the city was about 500MW — or the equivalent of a major base-load power station — and this was expected to more than double within years.

“We expect that the bulk of generating capacity during sunlight hours in the metro area in about 10 years time will be provided by rooftop solar,” Dr Nahan said.

“That’s the reality. So it is going to provide the bulk of additional capacity going forward.

“It will also displace a lot of the existing capacity. It’s low-priced, it’s democratically determined and it’s something we’re committed to facilitating.”

The comments came as Dr Nahan provided an update of the Government’s plans to shake up the electricity sector.

He said moves to end Synergy’s monopoly over the household power market and throw it open to competition by 2018 were on track.

Before the Government could do that, however, he said the subsidy to the State-owned utility would need to be erased and excess capacity from the system stripped by reducing some Synergy capacity.

He said it was too early to say which plants would be closed

August 27, 2015 Posted by | solar, Western Australia | 1 Comment

Canning voters are urged to reject Liberals’ war on solar energy


The solar council is planning a nationwide marginal seats campaign at the next election.

The government has directed the CEFC – which it unsuccessfully tried to abolish – to stop investments in rooftop solar, but changes to the investment mandate remain under legal uncertainty.

Canning byelection: solar industry urges voters to reject Liberals ‘war on solar’, Guardian, , 25 Aug 15

Solar Council letterboxes all electors in Western Australia’s seat of Canning encouraging them to vote for Labor, the Greens or the Palmer United party The solar logo-australian-solar-councindustry is letterboxing all electors in the crucial West Australian Canning byelection urging them to vote against the Liberal party on 19 September in response to the Abbott government’s “war on solar”.

The Solar Council leaflet states: “Installing solar helps Western Australians cut a typical power bill by up to 65%. The federal government is targeting solar by slashing the renewable energy target. We will support any political party with a good solar policy.”

  It advocates a vote against the Liberals and for either Labor, the Greens or the Palmer United party.

The council has invited all party leaders and candidates to a public forum on 13 September

Canning Forum

– a week before the byelection that could affect Tony Abbott’s hold on the Liberal leadership – to explain their solar policies. Continue reading

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


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