BUSINESS has urged South Australia’s nuclear Royal Commission to fast-track consideration of hosting the nation’s first major waste dump, amid fears the state could miss out on a lucrative opportunity to take a foothold in a future storage industry.
The Federal Government has announced a new tender process for a national radioactive waste management facility and is seeking site nominations until May 5. However, South Australia’s Royal Commission is not expected to conclude until late this year or early 2016.
Australia has 4248 cubic metres of low level and 656 cubic metres of intermediate level waste in temporary storage, which the Federal Government is seeking to consolidate.
Most has been produced as the by-product of medical, research and industrial processes.
BusinessSA chief executive Nigel McBride said waste storage was a multibillion-dollar opportunity for the state and could become a major new revenue stream for government.
“The thing that really stands out as an opportunity is spent nuclear fuel storage,” he said.
“Maybe we need to fast track that. Maybe that’s the part of the Commission that needs to come out first. “We can’t just wait until the Commission is over. They’re calling for it now…….
Australian Conservation Foundation nuclear free campaigner Dave Sweeney called for the tender to be delayed amid fears a rushed process could harm communities and the environment.
“There are no compelling social or technical reasons to rush a decision on an issue that demands the highest quality decision making,” he said. “We have time to get this issue right.” http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/nuclear-royal-commission-urged-to-fast-track-storage-talks/story-fni6uo1m-1227246749276
Port Adelaide community leaders say they don’t want a nuclear power plant in the heart of the Port KURTIS EICHLER PORTSIDE MESSENGER FEBRUARY 18, 2015
THE Port Adelaide Mayor and a local MP say they do not want a nuclear reactor built in their patch.Port Adelaide Enfield Mayor Gary Johanson and State Labor Port Adelaide MP Susan Close say any such plan for the heart of the Port would not be viable.
Mr Johanson said because the district was only 14km from the city it should not be an option for generating nuclear energy.He said Port Augusta, 322km north of Adelaide, was a better and more “convenient” option for the state.
While Mr Johanson would not be drawn on the viability of storing the state’s nuclear waste on the Le Fevre Peninsula, he said a power plant would not work even if it did create jobs………
“There are benefits in job creation in other areas such as freight but I don’t think it is feasible to have a nuclear power plant in the Port,” Mr Johanson said.
“I can’t see you would want to build it anywhere in metropolitan Adelaide.” Mr Johanson said most Port Adelaide residents would not want to live near a nuclear reactor……..
Dr Close agreed the Port was ill-suited for nuclear power. “The idea of a nuclear plant in the Port is a ridiculous and inflammatory suggestion and I don’t support it,” she said.Local real estate agent Rob McLachlan said a nuclear power plant in the heart of the Port would not attract people to live in the area.
Port Augusta mayor Sam Johnson did not return calls before the Portside Messenger’s deadline. http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/messenger/west-beaches/port-adelaide-community-leaders-say-they-dont-want-a-nuclear-power-plant-in-the-heart-of-the-port/story-fni9llx9-1227223707411
The ERA full year report for 2014 shows sales revenue up from $356.1 million in 2013 to $379.2 million, however nets profits have dropped from -$135.8 million to -$187.8 million.
Production has copped a beating as the Ranger begins to reach the end of its mine life, down to 1165 drummed tonnes in 2014, compared to 2960 in 2013 and 3710 in 2012.
The Ranger mine will continue mining until 2021, with full rehabilitation required by 2026, and has spent $378 million on rehab and water management over the past 2 years……http://www.miningaustralia.com.au/news/uranium-miner-era-posts-new-profit-losses
Renewable energy is popular, and job growth is essential. Committing to the existing Renewable Energy Target would be a good first step for policy makers on all sides to show they are serious about creating Australia jobs rather than fighting ideological battles.
This is occurring while renewable energy companies such as TrustPower, Infigen Energy and Pacific Hydro are suspending further investments in Australia because of the uncertainty around the RET. Continue reading
Australia’s uranium industry is in a sick and sorry state. Production of 5000 tonnes in 2014 was the lowest for 16 years. The industry generates less than 0.2 per cent of national export revenue and accounts for less than 0.02 per cent of jobs in Australia (about 1200 jobs).
The Ranger open-cut mine in the NT has been mined out and the planned Ranger 3 Deeps underground mine is subject to doubt and delay. Energy Resources of Australia has posted losses for each of the past five years, totalling $500 million. The uranium industry in the NT may come to an end when the last of the Ranger ore stockpile is milled in two years time.
In South Australia, the planned expansion of the Olympic Dam copper-uranium mine was cancelled in 2012, and hundreds of workers have been retrenched by BHP Billiton since then. The Honeymoon mine has been put into care-and-maintenance. Beverley Four Mile started production last year, at the same time as the nearby Beverley mine was put into care-and-maintenance. Instead of the usual fanfare, The Advertiser reported: “South Australia’s newest mine will lose money and won’t create any jobs.”
Nuclear non-starter: Oversupplied, losing money and without a constituency, Climate Spectator, JIM GREEN 16 Feb 15 As discussed in Climate Spectator recently, some nuclear insiders and lobbyists are starting to confront the reality that the global pattern of nuclear power stagnation is likely to continue. With the number of ‘operable’ power reactors declining from 443 to 437 over the past decade, the rhetoric about a nuclear renaissance is becoming hard to sustain.
Similar opinions about the uranium industry are becoming increasingly common. Continue reading
Uranium miner Energy Resources of Australia tight-lipped about its Ranger mine’s gloomy financial situation
ERA keeps its Ranger delay very hush-hush BY CRAIG DUNLOP NT NEWS FEBRUARY 11, 2015 ENERGY Resources Australia has quietly delayed the expansion of the Ranger uranium mine, with work now set to commence at an unspecified date in 2016, rather than its original target date of late 2015.
The company, 68 per cent owned by mining giant Rio Tinto, made the announcement to the Australian Stock Exchange late on Friday.
“Dependent on the outcome of further work, and subject to board and regulatory approvals, first development ore for Ranger 3 Deeps is now expected to be in 2016,” the report said.
It also said that ERA was likely to require further investment for the expansion to go ahead.
The knock-on effects from the failure of a leach tank in 2013 continued to be felt until mid-2014, as the company was forced to purchase, and then onsell, uranium in order to meet its prearranged sales contracts.
The delay has pleased environmental groups, who have long objected to Ranger 3, with the Environment Centre NT and the Australian Conservation Foundation labelling the expansion plans “unviable”.
The Environment Centre NT’s Lauren Mellor said: “The delay on investment in the Ranger 3 Deeps project is a major setback for both Rio and ERA, with costs continuing to blow out and time running out for this short-term, high-risk venture.”………
- In light of the losses and the investment required in Ranger 3, the company’s directors have not issued a dividend.
13 Feb 15 National and Territory Environment Groups have today welcomed the announcement that investment in Ranger 3 Deeps, a controversial new underground uranium mine proposal has been significantly delayed by Rio Tinto, majority owner of the embattled Ranger uranium mine within the boundaries of Kakadu National Park.
The decision came off the back of further record losses for Rio subsidiary and Ranger mine operator Energy Resources of Australia of $188 million in 2014 and $136 million in 2013. ERA have now suffered five consecutive yearly losses totalling $500 million.
“Ranger’s underground mine has become a money pit for Rio Tinto, with the company investing hundreds of millions in feasibility studies and an underground decline tunnel in recent years, and has faced unprecedented community opposition receiving over 4500 public submissions opposing the mine during the Environment Impact Assessment public comment phase in December last year,” Lauren Mellor, Nuclear-free Campaigner with the Environment Centre NT said.
“The delay on investment in the Ranger 3 Deeps project is a major setback for both Rio and ERA, with costs continuing to blow out and time running out for this short-term, high risk venture. Years of sustained uranium company and sector losses have shown even the industry’s biggest players are getting cold feet for new mines, with no commodity price recovery predicted within ten years – well past the legal operating timeframe for Ranger 3 Deeps.”
“This decision by the Rio board is a long overdue recognition that the project, like the wider uranium industry, is unviable. It has a very limited lease life, with all mining on the Ranger lease mandated to end in 2021, at a time when the commodity price has never been lower, making old mines like Ranger struggle, and new projects like Ranger 3 Deeps buckle.” said Dave Sweeney of the Australian Conservation Foundation.
“Day by day, every delay and every lost dollar makes this project less viable and less likely. “The nuclear industry simply can’t compete, on cost, construction times and on community standards for environmental protection. Like Ranger mine its well past its use by date and the NT and Federal governments should be using this company delay to instead accelerate a rehabilitation plan for Kakadu that will see the region and its inhabitants protected for the long haul.”
These are some of the people behind the push that got South Australia’s Premier Jay Weatherill to change his tune and open the door to the toxic nuclear chain in Australia. Note that I write “chain” – not “cycle”
Directors at SA Nuclear Energy Systems Pty Ltd – the list includes former Labor federal MP Bob Catley, Ian Kowalick, a former head of the Department of Premier and Cabinet during John Olsen’s Liberal Government and later an information technology consultant to the Rann Labor Government, and climate scientists Professor Stephen Lincoln and Professor Tom Wigley
The nuke lobby would have us believe in a cycle, whereby suddenly, by magic – radioactive trash is no long trash. It becomes a “valuable resource” – recycled into gee-whiz new (exiting only in blueprint) innocuous little nuclear reactors.
Apart from all the disecoomics, and health and environment aspects – the promised new reactors themselves create highly toxic radioactive wastes, and eventually themselves become highly toxic radioactive corpses.
Business groups embrace nuclear industry debate in South Australia ABC News 9 Feb 2015,The prospect of a nuclear industry in South Australia has been embraced by the state’s peak business group as a multi-million-dollar industry. Business SA chief executive Nigel McBride said it would be good for the state and could result in reduced carbon emissions.
“We’re talking about a massive, potential nuclear recycling industry,” he said.
“We’re talking about low energy costs and a huge rise in job opportunities through cheaper manufacturing, cheaper water.” SA Chamber of Mines and Energy chief executive Jason Kuchel said it was “about time” options for the future were discussed.
“One of those things that we would be hopeful for is that we might able to consider enriching uranium in South Australia,” he said.
Mr Weatherill …. indicated that he did not think the establishment of a SA nuclear power plant was on the horizon but said a nuclear waste dump and the creation of a nuclear enrichment industry should be considered……
But the Conservation Council’s chief executive Craig Wilkins described any use of nuclear energy in SA as “unwanted” and “unsafe”.
“It’s old thinking, rather than new thinking and it’s so frustrating to spend time, energy and resources investigating this when we are on the cusp of an energy revolution in renewable,” he said….http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-09/business-lobby-embraces-nuclear-debate/6079348
The Rio Tinto-owned Energy Resources of Australia made a $188 million loss in 2014, after suffering a loss of $136 million in 2013.
The company expects to increase its uranium production in 2015, after output was dented in 2014 because of the suspension of processing operations for more than six months after the failure of a leach tank in December 2013.
The company’s purchase of uranium oxide to fulfil sales dragged on its earnings……..https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/uranium-miners-loss-widens-100814187.html
Paladin Energy Ltd revenues soar 79% but shares sink Motley Fool By Mike King – January 19, 2015 Uranium miner Paladin Energy Ltd (ASX: PDN) has announced sales of US$69.9 million in the December quarter, a rise of 79% over the previous quarter.
But despite the news, shares are down 2.8% at 35 cents at lunchtime.
So why are investors selling out of a stock reporting such strong growth?
The problem is that Paladin sold 1.9 million pounds of uranium in the quarter, at an average price of US$36.58 per pound. That last figure is the issue – that price is well below what it costs Paladin to produce the uranium, and there are no signs that the price is…[members only] http://www.fool.com.au/2015/01/19/paladin-energy-ltd-revenues-soar-79-but-shares-sink/
Uranium bulls have long pointed to China’s nuclear-industry expansion as a catalyst for a recovery in the market. In mainland China, there are 22 nuclear reactors currently operating, 26 being built and more about to start construction, according to the World Nuclear Association.
However, Australian investment bank Macquarie thinks there are now “serious question marks” about how much uranium the world’s No. 2 economy will need. “China is clearly the most positive story globally when it comes to nuclear-power-capacity expansion,” according to Macquarie analysts. “The concern, however, is that China has already procured a substantial amount of uranium well in excess of what it has consumed and that this advance purchasing might limit its need to enter the market to source material over the next few years,” they add in a note.
Uranium prices have mostly languished since the 2011 Fukushima disaster………with uranium prices rising 37% from August through November as Japan moved closer to restarting its idled reactors. Consultants Ernst & Young said they thought the market had bottomed. Analysts at Australian brokerage Bell Potter agreed.
BUT THAT RECOVERY HAS STALLED…….While the revival of Japan’s nuclear sector is positive for prices, China’s potential demand is more important……..But Macquarie’s analysts say China’s growing store of uranium may be bigger than anyone previously thought. Their latest analysis suggests China increased its stockpiles by 17% last year and now has enough uranium to meet domestic demand for about seven years at forecast 2020 consumption rates. China doesn’t provide data on its uranium inventories…. JPMorgan expects uranium prices to average $30.70 a pound this year, down from last year’s $31.70…….http://online.barrons.com/articles/uranium-rally-running-low-on-juice-1421462807
West Australian Mines Minister Bill Marmion gave the exploration proposal the go-ahead after the mining warden recommended it be rejected in February 2014.
Mining Warden Kevin Tavener said the application for three exploration permits on Minderoo should be rejected because of the company’s low cash position.
It was a decision that reverberated throughout the industry as junior mining companies typically do not have access to deep cash reserves……..
Forrest’s Minderoo expressed its disappointment at the decision.
“Minderoo is disappointed at the minister’s decision to allow exploration by Cauldron Energy within the historical and environmentally fragile parts of Minderoo station,” a spokesperson said.
“As we have continuously stated on the public record, Minderoo supports development as long as it has no negative impact on the environment, and specifically protects the delicate environment of the Ashburton River.”http://www.miningaustralia.com.au/news/uranium-exploration-given-the-go-ahead-on-forrest
The deal comes just days after Forrest bought Harvey Beef for a reported $40 million.
The uranium buy came as a surprise to the industry, with spot prices yet to recover to pre-Fukushima levels and dropping as low as US$30.75……..http://www.miningaustralia.com.au/news/andrew-forrest-invests-in-west-australian-uranium
Renewable investment dives in Australia, bucking global trend, SMH January 10, 2015 – Peter Hannam Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald Investments in renewable energy rose to record levels globally in 2014 but fell sharply in Australia because of uncertainty triggered by the Abbott government’s review of the industry, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said.
Worldwide investment in wind farms, solar photovoltaics and other clean energy sources jumped 16 per cent last year to $US310 billion ($383 billion), or more than five times the tally of a decade earlier. Solar investments accounted for almost half the total.
China led the way, with investment soaring almost one-third to $US89.5 billion, while US investment gained 8 per cent to $US51.8 billion, and Brazil’s almost doubled to $US7.9 billion.
Australia, though, went the other way, with investment sinking 35 per cent to $US3.7 billion. BNEF said the amount was the “lowest since 2009, as wind and solar project developers delayed decisions while they awaited the government’s response to its Renewable Energy Target review”.
The Australian tally in fact masks a much steeper dive for large-scale renewable plants as small-scale solar PV largely held its own in 2014 even as state-based support schemes were wound back further.
“Four wind farms are currently under construction, but these signed contracts before the last RET review,” said Darren Gladman, the acting policy director for the Clean Energy Council.
“No more projects in the country have imminent construction plans.
“Australia is not just at risk of falling behind the rest of the world on renewable energy, we have already slipped off the back of the wave. We have some of the best sun, wind and waves in the world, but this new research shows that we are squandering some of our huge natural advantages.”
Fairfax Media sought comment from Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane, who has sought to cut the country’s renewable energy target from the current goal of 41 terawatt-hours annually by 2020 to as low as 27tWh.
So far, the Senate has blocked such a move but uncertainty over whether and when the goal will be reset has made it almost impossible to raise financing for new projects………..http://www.smh.com.au/business/renewable-investment-dives-in-australia-bucking-global-trend-20150109-12kqhk.html