Already today, the environment around Beaufort West is contaminated close to the previous mine sites. First field studies by the author show unprotected nuclear wastes with 10 to 20 times the background radiation.
Dust and Radiation – Two Deadly Impacts…… a particular direct relationship between occupational exposure to uranium and its decay products and lung diseases.Mining uranium ore in the Karoo will invariably create huge plumes of contaminated dust. Dust clouds are unavoidable during drilling, blasting and transporting.
Dust suppression by spraying water is only partially effective and creates new problems with contaminated slimes, adding to the environmental cost of groundwater abstraction
The Karoo has long been known to harbour substantial sedimentary uranium deposits. Now an Australian company [Peninsula Energy , through it’s wholly owned subsidiary Tasman Pacific Minerals Limited] with Russian funding is planning to get the radioactive mineral out of the ground on a major scale.
The company has quietly accumulated over 750 000 hectares of Karoo properties and concessions around Beaufort West and plans to set up a large Central Processing Plant just outside that town.
While the nation is still debating the pros and cons of fracking, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as the precursor to mining licences is nearing finalisation. During 2016 the Department of Mineral Resources will make a decision on the industry’s application……….
extensive studies on the risks of uranium mining over many decades are available today….yet so far there is no public debate, no strategic assessment process in place in the Karoo.No advocacy groups balance the glossy claims of the industry against sobering experiences on the ground….. Continue reading
Opposition resources minister Gary Gray has said that a closure of Ranger would have “massive implications” for the economy of Arnhem Land and would be unfortunate for the uranium industry in Australia.
Energy Resources of Australia nears decision on future of Ranger uranium mine, SMH, January 12, 2016 Angela Macdonald-Smith Energy Reporter The future of the Ranger uranium mine in the Northern Territory hangs in the balance as owner Energy Resources of Australia nears a decision on a strategic review.
Rio Tinto-controlled ERA said on Tuesday it would update the market this quarter on the strategic review, which it kicked off in October after being advised by traditional owners that they oppose an extension of production at the mine near Kakadu.
The Mirarr traditional owners refused to back the miner’s bid to extend its processing permits beyond the current expiry date of January 2021.
ERA, 68 per cent-owned by Rio, warned then that it may have to write down its assets as a result. Some analysts calculate the impairment could reach several hundred million dollars. ERA, for whom Ranger is its only producing asset, is due to report its 2015 earnings on January 28…………. Continue reading
Australian Ethical Super Dr Stuart Palmer, Head of Ethics Research at Australian Ethical. 6 Jan 16
We agree that the nuclear energy is a complex issue given the need to transition globally to low-emissions power. However, Australian Ethical has a strong negative screen on nuclear power for a range of reasons including:
· frequent association with nuclear weapons manufacture;
· radioactive pollution from uranium mines;
· the intractability of radioactive waste;
· the potential for catastrophic failure of nuclear power stations;
· security risks associated with the operation of nuclear power stations, and with the transport and storage of nuclear waste.
In our view these concerns outweigh the potential climate change benefits of nuclear power. Even with new generation nuclear plants we still consider the level of risk to be unacceptable, particularly given rapid advancements in renewable energy and storage technology.
I hope this information is helpful in explaining our approach.
Australia’s official economic forecaster has finally admitted that the cost of nuclear energy is more than double other clean energy alternatives, suggesting it would likely play no role in a decarbonised grid based around lowest costs.
The Australian Power Generation Technology Report – a 362-page collaborative effort from more than 40 organisations, including the CSIRO, ARENA, the federal government’s Department of Industry and Science and the Office of the Chief Economist – clearly shows that solar and wind will be the cheapest low carbon technologies in Australia.
It comes at a critical time, with the nuclear lobby, supported by existing coal generators, pushing nuclear generation heavily, on the basis of previous technology cost assessments that had unrealistically optimistic views of its costs.
But the APGT report has essentially ruled out nuclear power for the whole of Australia, revealing that the technology is becoming more and more prohibitively expensive, at around double the capital cost estimated three years ago – and double the cost of competing technologies. Continue reading
Conservation 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.
Global energy giant Westinghouse says an Australian nuclear power plant would cost $17.5bn November 5, 2015 ……..Ms Bowser, Westinghouse’s vice president of new plant project advancement, said construction of the company’s AP1000 model would take four years but deciding a site and various necessary approvals would take longer.
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……..http://www.perthnow.com.au/business/uranium-miner-cameco-to-move-in-wa-when-demand-lifts-for-nuclear-energy/news-story/cb93a50d83666159909dfa00d4b94c7c
That gap demonstrates the quantum of incentive that Australia might need to attract the capital necessary to establish a footprint in nuclear power.
Nuclear warriors reject power and enrichment, AFR, by Matthew Stevens, 31 Oct 15, Hugh Morgan has been an apostle of the nuclear industry for more than 30 years. Australia’s biggest uranium mine, Olympic Dam, opened under Morgan’s watch as chief executive of Western Mining. And, to the ridicule of many, one of Morgan’s retirement projects was a business set up a decade ago that aimed to build nuclear power stations in Australia.
You might imagine Melbourne’s miner of legend is pretty excited about the quite sudden emergence of some level of national political consensus over South Australia’s attempt to expand its place in the nuclear energy cycle.
But Malcolm Turnbull’s support for a nuclear fuel industry based in South Australia is no Toyota moment for Morgan. And neither is our favourite defender of all things atomic tempted to excitement by Bill Shorten’s observation that an Australian nuclear industry should have been established years ago.
Morgan, you see, remains ever the financial rationalist. Continue reading
Energy Resources of Australia Accepts Defeat on Ranger Uranium Mine Extension, http://investingnews.com/daily/resource-investing/energy-investing/uranium-investing/energy-resources-of-australia-accepts-defeat-on-ranger-uranium-mine-extension/ Uranium Investing News, Kristen Moran • October 19, 2015 Mining Australia reported that Energy Resources of Australia (ASX:ERA) has decided to accept defeat on plan to extend Ranger uranium mine beyond 2021.
As quoted in the market news:
A statement from ERA this afternoon revealed the Mirrar Traditional Owners and Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation do not support an extension to the authority to mine at Ranger, in Kakadu National Park.
A statement from ERA said the company respected the views of the Traditional Owners, and would undertake a business review in light of their decision.
“In light of this development, ERA has commenced a process of assessing whether the company’s assets may be impaired,” the company said.
The news was welcomed by Environment Centre NT, where Nuclear Free campaigner Lauren Mellor said it was time for “the era of rehabilitation and a staged and managed exit from Kakadu to begin”.
“ERA must now accept full financial responsibility for the costly and complex task of rehabilitation, accept Rio’s funding offer and cooperate with all stakeholders in the transition to a post-mining phase of operations,” Mellor said.
power-bill-comparison-site-launched-20151016-gkaoee.html October 17, 2015 Marc Moncrief Consumers disgruntled by their electricity providers can access an updated independent price comparison service backed by the state government.
The Victorian Energy Compare website allows users to use their own smart meter data to compare offers from electricity providers. It also compares offers from gas retailers and estimates the net position of any solar credits a home might have.
Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said that, while there were other sites that compare electricity deals, they limited the offers they displayed to companies that pay.
“Unlike other websites that compare energy offers, this government website includes every single tariff,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.
“No other price comparison web site does that.”
She said that, particularly for an essential service like electricity, it was vital that consumers had access to every deal to be able to make informed decisions.
Karl Barratt, EnergyInfoHub project manager at the Consumer Utilities Advocacy Centre, said it was “the only independent price comparison site” in the state.
“Because it’s such a complex system in Victoria, I think it’s groundbreaking that we have this available,” he said.
“The others are private operators. They have a relationship with the retailers. The private comparators will only show the narrow range that they are paid to show you.”
The launch follows the release earlier this month of a code of conduct for websites that compare utility offerings after some high-profile companies fell foul of the consumer affairs regulator.
Popular sites iSelect, Compare the Market and Energy Watch have all been pinged in the past by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for misleading their users.
the nuclear lobby’s spiel to Australia is something different, and very original. No dispute — because the argument is that small reactors would further the large reactor industry.
First articulated by Oscar Archer on ABC RN, March 2015, the idea is that Australia, in setting up small nuclear reactors, would enable the conventional nuclear industry and uranium mining to flourish:….. As Archer says, Australia would indeed be the pioneer for the new technology.
And that’s what the USA “new nuclear” lobby desperately needs. They need this, because they’re finding it impossible to go ahead in America. Why? Well it’s those pesky safety regulations imposed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
What the “Small Nuclear” lobby needs is a “nuclear friendly” country – one with less stringent safety
regulations – to set up their nuclear reactors on a test site. Hence the enthusiasm of those lobbyists for the South Australia Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission, as shown, for example, in a recent Royal Commission hearing speech by Thomas Marcille of Holtec International nuclear company.
……… the Nuclear Regulatory Commission(NRC) has proved to be real nuisance since it tightened regulations for the licensing process after the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The new nuclear marketers have had to go overseas, first to China, then perhaps to Australia?…. https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/why-australia-is-important-to-the-small-nuclear-lobby,8263
ENERGY Resources of Australia produced 457 tonnes of uranium oxide in the September quarter, down 19 per cent on the same quarter last year.
- Production was up 17 per cent on the June quarter, when output was impacted by a mill shutdown to carry out maintenance.All ore milled in the September quarter was taken from existing stockpiles, and no exploration expenditure was incurred during the quarter.ERA lost half its board in June after deciding a proposed new underground mine at Ranger in the Northern Territory will not proceed to a final feasibility study due to a sluggish uranium market.
The company’s total evaluation expenditure for the September quarter dropped to $1 million, from $3 million in the June quarter, due to “close out activities” of its Ranger pre-feasibility study……..http://www.ntnews.com.au/business/era-sept-quarter-production-down-19-pct/story-fnjbnvte-1227567072625
Westinghouse eyes Australian nuclear potential, links with local suppliers, SMH October 8, 15, Angela Macdonald-Smith and Jenny Wiggins Nuclear technology giant Westinghouse sees the retirement of old coal-fired power plants in Australia as an opportunity for nuclear power and is positioning itself early to inform the political and public debate.
In Sydney to announce a tie-up with three local suppliers, Westinghouse chief executive Danny Roderick said the Japanese-owned company “wants to make sure that the facts are out there” on the safety of new-generation nuclear reactors.
He said that convincing the 8 per cent of the Australian public that is undecided about nuclear power would create “an overwhelming majority of people in Australia that would support a nuclear new-build”.
The company, part of Toshiba Corporation, already has strong links with uranium suppliers in Australia, and sees the latest step as “a very logical fit” to build on those and explore local manufacturing capacity for a new reactor……….
Public perception still an issue
Nuclear power made “a lot of sense” for Australia, Mr Chilcote added. “Look at what brown coal and the associated emissions are doing on the environment. There’s a lot less waste out of nuclear, the hardest part is overcoming the public perception.”
The option of nuclear power for Australia is being examined within a South Australian royal commission, with findings due next year. Meanwhile, the federal government’s greenhouse gas reduction targets, of 26 to 28 per cent cuts from 2005 levels by 2030, and the anticipated retirement of ageing coal-fired generators have also set the scene for discussion.
“In the next decade you have several very large coal plants that are going to need to be retired, and you’re going to have to choose to build something to replace those,” Mr Roderick said.
“If you’re going to talk about carbon reduction and greenhouse gas reductions you’re going to have to bring nuclear into the mix.”
Mr Roderick’s discussions this week included federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt, Port Adelaide member Mark Butler and senior officials from the offices of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg.
He has been pointing out that Westinghouse’s AP1000 nuclear plant uses “passive” technology that doesn’t require electricity to be able to safely shut itself down, averting a Fukushima-like situation. This type of plant is under construction in the US and is set to be used in the UK, China and India……….. http://www.smh.com.au/business/energy/westinghouse-eyes-australian-nuclear-potential-links-with-local-suppliers-20151008-gk427h.html#ixzz3o0cN6nkW
WA’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.
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……http://www.perthnow.com.au/business/was-first-uranium-mine-likely-to-be-delayed-as-toro-energy-puts-wiluna-on-hold/story-fnhocr4x-1227552733503
Australian clean energy jobs could be worth $370 bn in 10 years http://reneweconomy.com.au/2015/australian-clean-energy-jobs-could-be-worth-370bn-in-10-years-39526 By Sophie Vorrath on 29 September 2015 Australia’s renewable energy industry could generate $370 billion worth of jobs over the next 10 years using current technology, a new report has found. The report, released on Tuesday by Beyond Zero Emissions, aims to illustrate how Australia can transition from coal-fired power to renewables, shifting the economy along with it.
“Our research with Melbourne University into energy generation in Australia shows that we can create $370 billion of green energy jobs with current technology, instead of using coal-fired power stations,” said Beyond Zero Emissions CEO Stephen Bygrave.
When you add to this smart homes and buildings, as well as low-carbon land use, high speed rail and electric vehicle options, the green jobs climb towards $1 trillion dollars in value, Dr Bygrave says.
The report’s findings coincide with a new policy proposal from the Greens that calls for a levy to be imposed on coal mining companies to help pay for the transition away from fossil fuels, including for the rehabilitation of retired mines and retraining workers for clean energy jobs.
BZE is also set to launch a new book on October 2, at the Smart Future Cities Conference showing how easily existing Australian homes can be retrofitted to eliminate electricity and gas bills – a follow-up to its Zero Carbon Australia Buildings Plan, that was researched over 3 years.
“The Buildings Plan showed that all residential and commercial buildings in Australia could be converted to generate as much energy as they consumed, creating $270 billion of green jobs in the construction industry,” Bygrave said.
“The new book, The Energy Freedom Home, shows how every home can produce more energy than it consumes. And with rising electricity and gas prices and falling rooftop solar prices, Australian households can affordably revolutionise the way they power their homes.
“Our research shows that millions of ordinary Australian homes can be transformed to be high performing, comfortable and cheaper to run. The transformation is easy since 1.4 million homes already have rooftop solar.”
To illustrate their theory, BZE along with the University of Newcastle have retrofitted a brick veneer family home in North Lambton, Newcastle, that was originally built in 2000.
The retrofits, which began in 2009 and are based on the guidelines provided by the Energy Freedom Home program now save the household $1,200 a year on power bills, with credits during the year. By 2013 the house was transformed into a comfortable, passive solar house, generating more energy from the PV system in the year than it uses.
“We removed the gas systems for health, safety and cost reasons, and have found we use less energy now than when we had both electricity and gas,” said the house’s owner, who monitors it for energy, water, temperature and humidity.
As part of the Smart Future Cities conference, the home in North Lambton will be open on 10am and at 10:30am on Saturday 3rd October for free limited tours.