Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear industry, and hence the uranium industry – on the road to collapsing

The nuclear house of cards Online opinion,  By Mia Pepper -  Thursday, 20 November 2014  “…….. While the nuclear ideologues are charging ahead, many investors are treading carefully.

Mining journalist Dryblower this week made an interesting distinction between uranium and other minerals: “Because uranium is really not part of the pure mining industry but an arm of the nuclear industry it’s easy to understand why most investors prefer simpler metals where there is a chance that a discovery can be brought into production without incurring multiple layers of complexity.”………..

The marginal and short-term increase in uranium is hardly cause for celebration. Even from the miners’ point of view, there is little to celebrate since the current price is barely half that needed to make new mines viable or profitable.

All this excitement is really based on the hope from the industry that there will be a long-term increase in the demand for uranium. Often pointing to new build reactors in India and China, the industry is optimistic.


However according the World Nuclear Industry Status Report of 2014 there are currently 39 operating reactors that are operating over their 40 year life expectancy and due for closure. The report projects a long term decline in the number of reactors after 2020.

Likewise, in a report released last week the International Energy Agency warns of a looming “wave of retirements” of ageing reactors with almost 200 of the 434 reactors expected to be shut down by 2040. IEA chief economist Faith Bristolsaid: “I am afraid we are not well-prepared in terms of policies and funds which are devoted to decommissioning. A major concern for all of us is how we are going to deal with this massive surge in retirements in nuclear power plants.”

In the face of nuclear war, nuclear disaster, public opposition, financial struggle, and the growth and competitiveness of renewable technologies, the house of cards that is the nuclear industry is bound to collapse again.

November 22, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

BHP having a bet each way on climate change – both coal and uranium

a-cat-CANBHP has, in the past, always spruiked climate change and carbon pricing – in the knowledge that the nuclear industry was, and is again,putting over the world  the lie that uranium/nuclear power is the cure for climate change

BHP says action needed on climate change but won’t rule out coal investments at AGM, ABC Radio The World Today Sue Lannin reported this story on Thursday, November 20, 2014

ELEANOR HALL: BHP Billiton held its annual general meeting in Adelaide today

Its executives have been attempting to explain to shareholders why the company is helping to drive the drastic fall in commodity prices.

BHP Billiton promised to hold a vote for investors in May next year to enable shareholders to have their say on the company’s plans to spin off its less profitable businesses.

But many shareholders at the meeting focused on the environment and BHP Billiton’s record on climate change.

Our resources reporter, Sue Lannin, has been listening in and joins us now.  So Sue, what sort of a turnout was there at the AGM today?

SUE LANNIN: Yes, we had many groups attending such as the Australian Conservation Foundation, residents’ groups, and environmentalists from Australia and overseas, which we often see at BHP Billiton AGMs.

And of course BHP is the world’s biggest miner with operations around the world in commodities such as iron ore, coal, copper and uranium……..

Sue, what concerns were raised about the expansion plans at the Olympic Dam copper and uranium mine in South Australia?

SUE LANNIN: For the time being the expansion plans are on hold. BHP Billiton put them on hold for economic reasons but it is doing trials, what’s it’s called leeching trials of the copper and uranium ore.

Now residents and environmental groups are concerned about the trials that are going on and also the existing uranium exports, and BHP Billiton actually admitted there had been an incident a couple of weeks back……..

n coal, Jacques Nasser refused to rule out further investment in thermal coal, that’s coal used for power generation, amid concerns about global warming and he also defended the company’s stance on climate change…… 

November 22, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Russia calls Australia unreliable partner in nuclear power industry

Australia unreliable partner in nuclear power industry — Russian FM Tass  November 18, Australia has shot itself in the foot to demonstrate that it cannot be regarded as a reliable business partner in such a sensitive sphere as nuclear power, the Russian Foreign Ministry said MOSCOW, November 18. /TASS/. By refusing to supply uranium to Russia, Australia has positioned itself as an unreliable business partner in such a sensitive and responsible sphere as the nuclear power industry, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

“We have taken note of statements by the Australian ambassador in Moscow Paul Myler to the effect his country has stopped uranium supplies to Russia because of the loss of confidence in our country,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. “In fact, Myler has accused Russia of a possible abuse of WMD (weapons of mass destruction) non-proliferation liabilities.”………….

November 19, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

South Australia a world leader on renewable energy, other States lagging badly

States inconsistent on renewable energy NEWS.COM.AU NOVEMBER 18, 2014

SOUTH Australia is a world leader when it comes to renewable energy but other states including Victoria have missed out on investment worth billions of dollars, a report has found.

AUSTRALIA is being put in a vulnerable position without clear federal policy and changes to the renewable energy target, Climate Council chief councillor Professor Tim Flannery says.

Prof Flannery said the Australian government has to stop dragging its feet and be willing to address the issues, instead of seeking to reduce its target of 20 per cent renewable energy by 2020.”If we can forge a policy mix, a policy formula, that serves our economy well, that allows us to do our bit for combating climate change at a commensurate level from what we’ve seen China and the US do, I think people will be satisfied.”Prof Flannery says individual states are being put under pressure to perform and the Climate Council report released on Tuesday has recorded varying results.He said South Australia took action early and now got 36 per cent of its energy from renewable resources while less than four per cent of Victoria’s energy is renewable.”Victoria has got fantastic wind and solar resources, every bit as good as South Australia but we’re seeing here a laggard state,” he said.”We haven’t seen the investment here in Victoria that we would otherwise have expected.”Victoria has probably missed out on $4 billion worth of investment in the renewable energy sector.”Prof Flannery said the NSW government has seen the error of its ways and is now committed to a renewable focus……..

November 19, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Warning on outdoor workers’ risk of melanoma

UV-radiation Warning for employers on melanoma, The Standard, By PETER COLLINS
Nov. 19, 2014,   EMPLOYERS have been urged to ensure outdoor workers take precautions against skin cancer, with rising cases of melanoma requiring medical attention.
 In the past 10 years the Victorian WorkCover Authority has received 107 claims costing more than $6.2 million in compensation, common law damages and impairment benefits.

Lost work time and extra insurance costs were also repercussions for employers, the Cancer Council of Victoria said at the start of National Skin Cancer Action Week.

The Standard sought comment after observing several outdoor workers in recent weeks without sun-protective headwear………

he cancer council said outdoor workers received five to 10 times more UV radiation exposure than indoor workers.

“In Australia it is estimated that around 200 melanomas and 34,000 non-melanoma skin cancers are caused by occupational exposures to UV every year,” a spokeswoman said. “Recent research indicated that while 95 per cent of Australian outdoor workers use some form of sun protection, just 9 per cent are considered to be fully protected from UV overexposure.”

In Victoria more than 40,000 new cases of skin cancer were diagnosed every year including 2307 cases of melanoma and 460 deaths from skin cancer……..

It is estimated two in three Australians will get some form of skin cancer before they are 70 and UV levels are strong enough in January to damage the skin in as little as 11 minutes.

November 19, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Joe Hockey touts uranium exports as cure for the climate change that he doesn’t believe in anyway

Hockey,-Joe-on-GROWTHHockey: Australia resources will benefit from China, US climate pact THE AUSTRALIAN  NOVEMBER 13, 2014 
URANIUM and natural gas exporters will see “massive opportunity” from the historic climate pact between the US and China to reduce carbon pollution levels, Treasurer Joe Hockey says………Mr Hockey said the climate deal would benefit Australian resources sector, including uranium, gas and coal……

    Greens leader Christine Milne warned Australia risked “looking like just a quarry” while the world moved to post-carbon economic models…….

November 19, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Balance between need for Vitamin D, and avoidance of skin cancer

radiation spectrumSkin cancer fears blinding people to health benefits of sunlight, say scientists SMH, November 18, 2014    Skin cancer prevention campaigns may be steering people away from healthy doses of sunlight, which is now thought to protect against high blood pressure, heart disease and possibly stroke, a group of British scientists say.

In a provocative presentation to a Melbourne conference this week, Martin Feelisch, a professor of clinical and experimental sciences at the University of Southampton, questioned whether it was time for a “radical rethink” of the advice given to people about how much time they should spend in the sun.

Professor Feelisch said recent epidemiological studies suggested that the health benefits of moderate sunlight exposure outweighed the harmful effects of UV radiation on the skin.

In particular, a recent study conducted with colleagues at the University of Edinburgh found that a dose of UV equivalent to about 30 minutes of sunshine during the summer in southern Europe lowered people’s blood pressure……….

But head of the Australian Cancer Council Professor Ian Olver said current public health advice was sophisticated in Australia, balancing the pros and cons of sunlight for Vitamin D and emphasising high UV index times when people are more likely to burn.

“If the UV index is three or above, the sun is intense enough to burn you and therefore you need to take some protection measures. If it’s less than three, you can probably safely go out in the sun. So for vitamin D, early in the morning or late in the afternoon, it might be fine to go out without protection but in the middle of the day, it usually isn’t.”

Professor Olver said despite these campaigns, Australia still had high rates of skin cancer. There were still more than 12,000 melanomas and 430,000 non-melanoma skin cancers diagnosed each year and about 2000 people died from the disease annually, he said.

November 19, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Tony Abbott’s insensitive remarks spark Aboriginal protest at G20

‘Imagine having your whole history erased’: Indigenous rights activists burn Australian flag during G20 protests 9 News 16 Nov  Indigenous rights protesters have burned Australian flags during a demonstration outside the G20 summit convention centre in Brisbane.

A man at the forefront of the protests at the Roma Street Parklands told 9NEWS the act was a direct response to Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s comments on Friday that Australia pre-white colonisation was “extraordinarily basic and raw”.

“We had no choice when Abbott declared once again there was no semblance of any government [before white colonisation],” the demonstrator Woolombi said.

“This land for 67,000 years was the greatest biodiversity land management estate ever seen on the face of the world.

“We can’t afford to have that removed from our genetic memory.”………

November 17, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Loonpond – a refreshing critique of the Australian media and the G20

 loonpond November 17, 2014 In which the pond puts the G20 to rest, and begins the march to Paris … in company with the denialist dunderheads clutching at their coal for coal comfort

“…………In the matter of climate change, the commentariat solemnly scribbled how the US-China deal was a non-event and solemnly explained how it faced enormous difficulties, then promptly turned about and explained how 2.1% was engraved in stone, or perhaps growth gold, and that the world could live in hope … as if the same difficulties and hesitancies they gloated about in the US-China deal would be waived away by a magic wand, when it came to world growth, and never mind the quality and sustainability of the growth …

Abbott confirmed yet again that he was a lightweight – a man with an introductory speech so bemusing that even the hagiographers were bemused – and then it was left to that other lightweight Joe Hockey to attempt to mop up the consequences of climate change stances presented with all the gravity, depth and nuance of three word slogans. Poor Joe. Revealed as a flake, and so early in his career. Who’d have thought anyone could make Wayne Swan seem like a treasurer of substance?

Now the rest of the week will be spent with others scurrying from their bunk holes to explain how Australia is up with the rest of the world in the matter of responding to climate change, and how we have the very best policies for this grave matter, except – nudge, nudge, wink wink – it’s not that grave, not really…

In short, it’s pretty much business as usual, with the exceptional weather the gravy on the roast, seeing as how denialists just love climate change meetings that take place in unusually heavy snow storms… even these cocooned politicians must have noticed the heat, coming as it does as a furnace blast when you step out of the air-conditioning …

So how did the morons at the Currish Snail see the proceedings this morning?……

Yes, Tony Abbott bravely standing up to the Kenyan socialist and giving him what for about climate change, and so on and so forth, as if Obama was the only one to note the delusional aspects of Abbott’s policy stance:….
Yes, the Murdoch tabloids did their very best to present a defiant Abbott thumbing his nose to the world, as if being a dumbfuck bogan was some sort of clever policy position:
And never mind that the cowardly, graceless Abbott waited until Obama had left the country to produce a petulant bit of payback.

But that’s as fair as the Murdoch crazies could go, in the tabloid-lite arena. In the world of the reptiles, faces were grim, the extent of the humiliation gravely noted – some had already been consternated by Abbott moaning and whingeing about a seven buck co-payment to a president facing a Republican congress – and then there was the shirt-fronting:……….

November 17, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Tony Abbott’s negativity toward Aboriginal people blasted by Mick Dodson

Mick Dodson blasts Tony Abbott for ‘negativity’ towards Indigenous people Former Australian of the Year says the prime minister is contributing to the perception of ‘black failure’ The former Australian of the Year, Mick Dodson, has blasted Tony Abbott for his negativity towards Indigenous people, saying he’s contributing to the perception of “black failure”.

Speaking at the national press club in Canberra on Wednesday, Dodson said the prime minister’s Indigenous policy focuses on protecting children, securing communities and building jobs.

“It’s a three-trick pony and a very small pony at that. Stop the negativity. All of those three things are about our failure, supposedly. Because we’re Aboriginal,” said Dodson, who is chair of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (Aiatsis). “The reality is many, many of us are very successful.”

“We never hear about them from you guys [the media]. You’re too busy on the entertainment of black failure and that’s where the government’s mind seems to be and where the public discourse seems to be.”

Before taking office in 2013, Abbott promised to be the prime minister for Indigenous affairs, and moved the portfolio into the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Dodson warns that certain government policies, like moves to weaken the Northern Territory Land Rights Act, will be detrimental to reconciliation.

“I think the present government is picking fights on a number of fronts that don’t help reconciliation and certainly aren’t conducive to an atmosphere that would enable a successful referendum.”………

November 17, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

G20 heatwave makes it hard for Tony Abbott to sell his climate denialist policies

heat_waveAbbott’s nightmare: World leaders to swelter through G20 heatwave, Climate Spectator JOHN CONROY  14 NOV, As it seeks a growth-focus at the G20, the Abbott Government has been struck by another development which will only compound the attention on climate change generated by the US-China vows in Beijing this week.

The Bureau of Meteorology is expecting a heatwave across Queensland, with temperatures to be more than 10 degrees above average in parts of the state – including Brisbane.

In the state capital, the bureau is forecasting 35 and 39 degrees across the weekend, considerably higher than the city’s November average of 27.8.

Nearby Ipswich – 40km southwest of Brisbane – will touch 41 on Saturday, according to the bureau, it’s hottest November day since 1968 and well above its 30.8 November average, while further inland towns are expecting to reach the mid-40s in the first half of next week.

There will be little overnight relief at the G20, too, with temperatures to remain around the mid-20s in the evenings and only bottom out at 20 degrees early Sunday.

“We’re going to have hot days and hot nights as well,” Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Dean Narramore said, according to Fairfax Media……….

The heatwave comes as the world tracks for its hottest calendar year on record, having already experienced the hottest consecutive 12 months from October 2013 through to September this year.

Ahead of the G20, a group of health organisations – including the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation and the National Toxics Network – have called on climate change to be on the summit’s agenda, with the chief executive of the Public Health Association of Australia pointing out the increased risk of heatwaves. ……..

November 15, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

President Obama and Ban Ki-moon outspoken about climate change action

Obama,BarackObama’s University of Queensland speech: President throws down gauntlet to act on climate change, 15 Nov 14 PRESIDENT Obama has used his speech at the University of Queensland to throw down the gauntlet on climate change, urging Australia’s young people to act before it’s too late.

“If China and the US can agree on this, the world can agree on this. We need to get this done,” the President told a crowd of around 2000 students and politicians at the University of Queensland on a sweltering day in the city.

“I have not had time to go to the Great Barrier Reef and I want to come back and I want my daughters to come back and I want their daughters and sons to come back and have that be there in 50 years,” he said.

The reference will no doubt put pressure on Prime Minister Tony Abbot, who has been heavily criticised this week by media for refusing to put climate change on the G20’s official agenda.

In his opening address this morning United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said climate change was the “defining issue of our times” and it’s “only natural” G20 leaders should make it a priority.

President Obama also used the speech to announce a $3 billion contribution to the Green Climate Fund which aims to help developing nations deal with climate change………

November 15, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Nuclear submarine part of Russia’s fleet North of Australia for the G20

G20 News Roundup: Russian Nuclear Submarine 5th In The Fleet, World Leaders Coming, Beach Protest Happening International Business Times By Athena Yenko | November 14, 2014 A Russian nuclear submarine maybe the fifth ship to the four Russian warships spotted in north of Australia. A United States submarine had reportedly followed the four Russian warships as the fleet sail across the international waters and have kept the Russian vessels under radar near Japan as the fleet head south, The Australian reported Continue reading

November 15, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Western Australian Aboriginal Kardooloo fight back against removal from their land

handsoff‘This land is ours, you can’t kick us off it’    VICTORIA LAURIE THE AUSTRALIAN NOVEMBER 15, 2014  Aboriginal community Kardaloo community leader Bill Pearce and his extended family say they will not be moved.

If they are among the estimated 150 remote Aboriginal communities to close across Western Australia, they say history will repeat itself. It will bring them back to the days when they camped on the fringes of Mullewa, 30km down the road in the state’s midwest.

“They can keep their money — all we want is our land to live on,” said 84-year-old Mr Pearce.

Money has been central in the argument this week over the future of Western Australia’s 274 remote communities and about 60 in South Australia. West Australian Premier Colin Barnett argues his government cannot afford to service the communities which were, until September this year, a federal responsibility…….

November 15, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

G20 fetish for Growth will not bring better job outcomes

G20-danse-macabreWill growth mean more jobs? Not necessarily The Drum By Anthony D’Costa 13 Nov 2014We can expect to see the continuing fetishisation of economic growth at the G20 this weekend, but that’s not the magic potion when it comes to employment, writes Anthony D’Costa………

The G20 leaders are bent on raising the global economic growth rate to 2 per cent or more than current projections. The economic logic behind this mysterious number is an unspecified investment commitment and reforms that collectively would induce economic growth and get the world economy moving again.

The question is, will it get the economy moving again in terms of jobs? In fact, there is no explicit discussion by the G20 on the employment challenges that confront the world economy…….. Continue reading

November 15, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment


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