Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Do not let the Nuclear Industry ruin beautiful South Australia’s Tourist Industry

Wilderness and nature photographer Steve Parish rates South Australian landscape best in country 891 ABC Adelaide  By Brett Williamson 22 July 15 Celebrating more than four decades as a freelance nature photographer, Steve Parish rates South Australia as the best place he has ever shot.

Flinders ranges

Mr Parish, who grew up in the eastern Adelaide suburbs of Norwood and Burnside, said he found his love of nature when exploring the local coastlines…….

After leaving the Navy at 29, Mr Parish joined the Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Services as a wildlife photographer for five years before working freelance across the country.

“My favourite landscape is northern-central South Australia, [Kati Thanda] Lake Eyre up to Innamincka, that beautiful channel country, the Gibber Desert,” Mr Parish said.

“The most glorious light and aerial photography I have done in my whole life was around [Kati Thanda] Lake Eyre in 2010, the second time the lake filled.”

Mr Parish said South Australians were spoilt by the beautiful, natural light experienced across the state during winter as weather systems rolled across the state……..

“Instead of bland, empty skies that we tend to get more in the north in the different times of the year, you get that wonderful shafting, golden light,” he said.

“You have the wonderful granite coasts, Kangaroo Island, thethe Flinders Ranges– you get that wonderful light, and photography is very much connected to your emotions, feelings and the light that paints the scene.”……http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-21/photographer-steve-parish-rates-south-australia-landscape-best/663423

July 22, 2015 Posted by | environment, Nuclear Royal Commission, South Australia | Leave a comment

Esperance to be sacrificed for the profits of the uranium industry?

why should the people of Esperance have any faith they will be protected this time around by those with responsibility to regulate mining companies and protect the community, when they failed so badly last time?

During the Esperance lead crises, Government agencies continually downplayed the seriousness of the problem and denied any serious risk to human health.

Martin Bruckner’s remarkable book Under Corporate Skies tells the shocking story of another Western Book Under Corporate SkiesAustralian “Sacrifice Zone”

The inability of WA Government agencies to effectively regulate and monitor the operations and performance of multinational corporations whose rationale is profit maximization was confirmed in a recent WA Auditor General’s Report.

 

Esperance WA: Sacrifice zone for the profits of the uranium industry?, The Stringer,  by Colin Penter July 20th, 2015 A mining industry media outlet hasreported that the uranium industry in WA is keen to establish Esperance on WA’s southern coast, as a port export hub for radioactive uranium material mined in Western Australia. Continue reading

July 22, 2015 Posted by | environment, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Troubled history of Australia’s Ranger uranium mine – ABC Radio

‘So to Mirarr, I guess what they see is very, very large disturbance, they see mountains of waste rock and low-grade ore, and sometimes that does affect their views of important sites like Djidbidjidbi or just the landscape.

‘It will never look the same again and the site will have to be monitored for decades to come after it is finished being rehabilitated so that we can make sure that it is actually in a stable chemical condition, the biodiversity is doing okay and the ecosystem is functional and so on.’

Ranger 3

According to ERA figures, rehabilitation is expected to cost close to $500 million.

The long and controversial history of uranium mining in Australia, ABC Radio, Rear Vision, 14 July 2015 Keri Phillips Last month’s announcement that Energy Resources Australia will pull the plug on the Ranger uranium mine in the Northern Territory signals the end of one of the most controversial chapters in Australian mining history. Keri Phillips traces the history of uranium mining in Australia and Ranger’s role in it……. Continue reading

July 15, 2015 Posted by | environment, history, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Landcare group reports high radioactive gas levels at Iluka mine

Radioactive gas levels at Wimmera mining site near Horsham too high says Landcare group, ABC News, 30 June 15 

 

A Wimmera Landcare group in south-western Victoria says monitoring it has done shows levels of radioactive gas at a mine near Horsham far exceed the maximum for public exposure.

The Kanagulk Landcare Group placed four radon gas monitors at properties surrounding Iluka Resources’ mining operations at Douglas over a three-month period.

It said analysis of the monitors’ data by Australia’s nuclear industry regulator, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, reveals levels of the gas were four times the limit.

The group’s Albert Miller said the State Government needed to step in…….http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-29/fears-aired-over-radioactive-gas-levels-at-wimmera/6579670

July 1, 2015 Posted by | environment, Victoria | Leave a comment

Northern Territory’s Environmental Defenders Office will stay open, despite federal funding cut

Environmental Defenders Office NT to stay open; other jurisdictions enter ‘caretaker’ mode following funding cuts   105.7 ABC Darwin  By Emilia Terzon The Northern Territory wing of the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) will stay open another year despite Federal Government funding cuts, after holding an Indigenous art auction and receiving an emergency grant.

The news comes as EDOs in other jurisdictions enter caretaker mode, following the loss of $10 million in funding for the nationwide network of environment-focused legal centres.

EDO NT lost $450,000 in funding following a 2013 announcement that EDOs across the country would be completely defunded by July 1, 2015.

Offices in northern Queensland and South Australia are now entering caretaker mode, while the Western Australia office also had its State Government funding entirely withdrawn last month. Continue reading

June 20, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, Northern Territory, politics | Leave a comment

Rio Tinto will have to step in to fund rehabilitation of Kakadu’s uranium mining area

kakaduERA cans Ranger uranium mine in Kakadu by: BARRY FITZGERALD , Resources Editor  The Australian June 12, 2015 The crash in uranium prices in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan has claimed the controversial Ranger mine inside the world heritage-listed Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory as its latest victim.

 

Operated by the Rio Tinto-controlled Energy Resources of Australia (ERA), Ranger’s long-term future was to be secured by the development of an underground uranium resource known as Ranger 3 Deeps.

But ERA has canned the development, citing the “current operating environment”. The decision leaves ERA to process stockpiles from the previous open-cut operation which was dogged in recent years by water handling issues and process plant spills.

Shares in ERA plummeted after the announcement. At 2:10pm the shares were down 61c, or 47 per cent, to 69c each in trading on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Rio (RIO) owns 62 per cent of the ASX-listed ERA and said last night that it would likely take a $US300 million impairment charge on the investment — an acknowledgment that in the current environment, its investment is near worthless.

Rio could also be compelled to step in to ensure that in the event that Ranger’s life is not extended beyond the current treatment of stockpiles, ERA will be able to meet its rehabilitation costs of more than $600m…….

Despite seeming to baulk at having to help ERA at its annual meeting in April, Rio said last night that it recognised the “importance of ongoing rehabilitation work at the Ranger mine site”.

It said it was “engaged with ERA on a conditional credit facility to assist ERA to fund its rehabilitation program, should additional funding be required beyond ERA’s existing cash reserves and the future earnings from processing ore stockpiles”….  http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/era-cans-ranger-uranium-mine-in-kakadu/story-e6frg9df-1227394169459

June 13, 2015 Posted by | environment, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

World will be watching how Australia manages Kakadu, now that uranium mining there has ended

Koongarra 1WWF welcomes cancellation of Kakadu uranium mine http://www.theadvocate.org.au/wwf-welcomes-cancellation-of-kakadu-uranium-mine/

WWF has welcomed the cancellation of a planned controversial underground uranium mine in Kakadu National Park.

Energy Resources of Australia, whose parent company is Rio Tinto, cancelled the Ranger 3 Deeps project in a statement to the Stock Exchange last night.

The proposed mine was in an area that had previously been excised from the Kakadu National Park and World Heritage Area.

WWF said the move was not only a victory for Australia’s environment, but also important for further economic empowerment of Indigenous communities.

WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman backed calls by the Mirarr Traditional Owners to ensuring the permanent protection of the natural and cultural values for which Kakadu is inscribed World Heritage.

“Kakadu is one of Australia’s environmental treasures and this development presents an ideal opportunity for the area to be rehabilitated and incorporated into the Kakadu World Heritage Area,” said WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman.

“Now that the mine will not go ahead, WWF looks forward to ERA and Rio Tinto accelerating the rehabilitation program, ensuring that it results in the full reinstatement of the internationally recognised outstanding natural and cultural values of this important site.

“With a World Heritage Committee meeting now less than a month away, the eyes of the world will be watching how the Australian Government and Rio Tinto manage the rehabilitation of Ranger.”

June 13, 2015 Posted by | environment, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

“Normalising” radioactive trash – Maralinga as tourist attraction

The indigenous people who used to wander these lands called the radioactive plume the “puyu,” or black mist, and still are reluctant to visit despite having fought hard for the land to be returned.

“They deem it as a bad place, what they call ‘mamu,’ like a devil country,” says Mr. Matthews, whose wife is indigenous to the area…….

Maralinga-noticeAustralia’s Newest Tourist Attraction: Nuclear Test Zone At Maralinga, Australia, visitors are given an unusual welcome: Don’t stay too long and never, ever dig. WSJ, By 

ROB TAYLOR June 5, 2015  MARALINGA, South Australia—At the gateway to Australia’s newest tourist attraction, visitors are given an unusual welcome by Robin Matthews: Don’t stay too long and never, ever dig.

Maralinga, a deserted former military base in the Outback, has become ground zero for an unusual type of vacation Down Under. In a country best known for its white beaches and coral reefs, Mr. Matthews wants vacationers to wish they were here: on land once used for nuclear-weapons explosions.

Nearly 2,000 warning signs ring the red soil around Maralinga, displaying a Ghostbuster-style graphic prohibiting camping ……

The stark beauty of the hills here, on the edge of the vast Nullarbor Plain where the sun sinks in the same ocher color of the desert, belies its notorious past. Continue reading

June 6, 2015 Posted by | environment, South Australia | Leave a comment

Environmental powers handed to the States – will mean falling standards

exclamation-Environmental standards face decline if all approval powers are handed to states, report finds, ABC News, By Jane Ryan, 21 May 15  Environmental standards would drop under a proposed state-based one-stop-shop environmental approval system, a new report has found.

The proposed legislation, which is before the Federal Senate, seeks to streamline environmental approval processes by giving power of approval to state governments and cutting out the Commonwealth.

But a report by the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) warns against relegating environmental approval powers to state governments, saying the environment will suffer.

EDO principal lawyer Jess Feehely said there were several areas where state legislation did not meet the standards set by Commonwealth protections……..

Ms Feehely said Tasmania would not meet international obligations on environment protection under the proposed legislation change.”There’s a real risk that matters of national environmental significance will receive less protection,” she said. “Matters of national significance include threatened species, so habitat for the Tasmanian devil, and it includes world heritage areas and endangered ecological communities.”

She said there were four main areas where the Tasmanian law fell short of the protection afforded under the Commonwealth Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. “They don’t apply the precautionary principle, they don’t take account of our international obligations, and they don’t make it easy for people to find access to information about development decisions,” she said.

The report also commended the strong rights for public participation currently provided in many Tasmanian laws.http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-22/one-stop-shop-system-would-reduce-environmental-standards-report/6489168

May 23, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

Australian govt fast tracks approval for Cameco uranium mine, despite environmental concerns

Uranium mine approved for WA despite environmental warnings, http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/uranium-mine-approved-for-wa-despite-environmental-warnings-20150424-1mssk8.html  Steve HollandApproval of a uranium mine in Western Australia has prompted concern from environmental and indigenous groups.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt has granted conditional approval to Canadian uranium miner Cameco to develop the Kintyre mine in WA’s north.

But Dave Sweeney from the Australian Conservation Foundation said the East Pilbara mine, adjacent to the Karlamilyi National Park, will harm the environment and people.

“On Anzac eve the government has backed the wrong diggers,” he said.  “This mine plan does not enjoy broad support and the mining company has said it has no immediate plans to develop the project because of the low commodity price.

“The federal government had time to genuinely examine this plan. “Instead, it has chosen to fast-track an approval before a national holiday”.

Mia Pepper, from the Conservation Council of WA, said the mine, of which Cameco owns 70 per cent and Mitsubishi holds the remainder, also threatens water quality in the region.

“It is irresponsible for Minister Hunt to have given approval for this project at this time”, she said.
“A unique part of our country faces an unnecessary threat because of this approval.

“We will continue our work with the local Parnngurr community and many wider community members and organisations to stop a poor political decision becoming a polluting Pilbara mine”.

West Australian Environment Minister Albert Jacob granted conditional approval for the mine to go ahead last month. Environment Minister Greg Hunt was contacted for comment.

April 25, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, Western Australia | 1 Comment

Kintyre uranium project approved, for when and if uranium price improves

Federal approval granted for Cameco to develop Kintyre uranium mine in Pilbara, ABC News 24 Apr 15  By Tyne McConnon and Ebonnie Spriggs A proposed uranium mine in Western Australia’s Pilbara region has been granted conditional Federal environmental approval.

One of the world’s largest uranium producers, Cameco Australia, wants to build the Kintyre open-cut uranium mine 270 kilometres north-east of the town of Newman.

The project received conditional approval from Western Australia’s Environment Minister Albert Jacob last month……..

In a statement, Cameco said the approval by the Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt included conditions covering radiation, ground and surface water, terrestrial fauna and mine closure……..

Environmentalists fear long-term impact of uranium waste

Environmentalists have previously condemned the proposal, citing concerns over the level of radiation monitoring required of the company throughout the Karlamilyi National Park, where the mine would be located.

Campaigner Mia Pepper said current regulations for safely managing uranium in Australia were deficient. “The thing with uranium is that it’s different to other minerals. It’s radioactive, and that radiation is very hard to manage in our environment that [has] very, very dry periods and very, very wet periods,” she said.

“That radiation is so mobile in our environment when we start mining it, you know, it becomes hugely dangerous, and I don’t know of anywhere where they can safely mine uranium.

“What’s left behind after mining is radioactive mine waste, and that stays in our environment forever, really, or for at least 10,000 years. “It’s a very long period of time, and it will be there long after this company has stopped existing and long after this Government has changed.”

Traditional owners, the Martu people, signed a land-use deal with Cameco in 2012.

The company said a development decision would be made when market conditions were favourable to new uranium production…http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-24/uranium-mine-kintyre-given-federal-approval-cameco-says/6418974

April 25, 2015 Posted by | environment, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Rio Tinto and ERA passing the buck to each other on who pays for Ranger uranium clean-up

As Ranger approaches its end of mine life the stark question of which company bears responsibility for the costly, complex and technically challenging rehabilitation effort is increasingly being asked. ERA says it doesn’t have the funding capacity and Rio Tinto claim it hasn’t the legal responsibility.

Rio Tinto and ERA are playing a game of corporate convenience and the stakes are very high as the miners are required by law to bring the former mineral lease to a standard whereby it can be incorporated into the surrounding Kakadu National Park.

responsibilityRio Tinto and Energy Resources of Australia: Uranium Uncertainty and Radioactive Responsibility, Environment Centre NT 22 Apr 15  “The fate of Energy Resources Australia hangs in precarious balance with majority-owner Rio Tinto growing increasingly uncertain about the competitive economics and investment risk of a life-sustaining underground expansion” Financial Review, April 2015

Rio Tinto owns 68 per cent and is the parent company of Energy Resources of Australia, an Australian-listed uranium miner who’s only operating asset is the troubled Ranger mine in Kakadu – a 30-year-old mine with a long history of accidents, spills and security breaches.

Mining at Ranger’s open pit ceased over two years ago and production is currently sustained by processing stockpiles. All mining and mineral processing at the site must end in January 2021, to be followed by a mandated five year rehabilitation period.

But as the window on mining at Ranger closes there is growing concern that Rio Tinto may seek to avoid its near $700 million rehabilitation responsibilities and leave a lasting radioactive hole in the heart of Kakadu National Park.

RIO HOLDING THE REINS AT RANGER Continue reading

April 22, 2015 Posted by | business, environment, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Wiluna uranium project not viable due to flooding risks

Lake Way flooding proves Wiluna unviable http://www.robinchapple.com/lake-way-flooding-proves-wiluna-unviable 27 Mar 15, (Good photos)  After yesterday flying over Lake Way to see the extent of flooding in the area, WA Greens spokesperson on uranium Robin Chapple MLC has expressed deep concern about the future of proposed uranium mining on the lake bed.

 Toro Energy Ltd plans to store radioactive tailings from the proposed Wiluna uranium mine – up to 100 million tonnes – in the mined-out Centipede and Millipede pits, which will also reside on the lake bed and are currently underwater.
 The company has previously cited flooding as a non-issue claiming the lake to be a natural drainage point however photographs taken by the Hon Robin Chapple MLC reveal this to be untrue.
 Mr Chapple said the extensive flooding at Lake Way raised very serious concerns about the ability of Toro Energy Ltd to effectively manage water whilst mining such a volatile mineral on a lake bed.
“I do not believe this company has properly accounted, nor planned, for potential flooding to the extent we have seen this week at Lake Way,” he said.
“Not only would flood waters of this magnitude carry radioactive material to other parts of the ecosystem but upon drying out, could potentially release large quantities of oxidised uranium – radioactive dust – into the atmosphere.
“Had this been an active mine site we would now be dealing with an environmental disaster on a large scale.”
For comment please contact Robin Chapple on 0409 379 263 or 9486 8255.

March 28, 2015 Posted by | environment, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Flooding danger to uranium tailings at proposed Wiluna uranium mine

exclamation-Chapple says water could increase the risk at Toro,  Kalgoorlie Miner, 26 Mar 15  Mining and Pastoral MLC Robin Chapple has expressed concerns about plans to mine uranium in Wiluna after the “flooding” of Lake Way.

His comments came this week after a flyover revealed what Mr Chapple termed flooding on the lake bed. Toro Energy plans to store radioactive tailings from the proposed Wiluna uranium mine — up to 100 million tonnes — in the mined-out Centipede and Millipede pits, which will also be on the lake bed and are now underwater. The company has cited flooding as a non-issue, claiming the lake to be a natural drainage point, according to Mr Chapple.

Mr Chapple said the extensive flooding at Lake Way raised serious concerns about Toro’s ability to manage water effectively while mining on a lake bed. “I do not believe this company has properly accounted, nor planned, for potential flooding to the extent we have seen this week at Lake Way,” he said

“Not only would floodwaters of this magnitude carry radioactive material to other parts of the ecosystem, but on drying out could potentially release large quantities of oxidised uranium … into the atmosphere.

Mia Pepper Nuclear Free Campaigner Conservation Council of Western AustraliaAbout the flooding of Lake Way – the proposed site for the “Wiluna uranium project” including three pits on Lake Way. We’ve raised the issue that Toro Energy want to store about 100 million tonnes of radioactive tailings in two mined out pits on the lake bed (Centipede and Millipede) – the Department of Mines and Petroleum haven’t yet approved or even seen a tailings management plan from the company. We are focused on making sure the tailings don’t end up in this lake!

Conservation Council of Western Australia (Inc.) City West Lotteries House, 2 Delhi St, West Perthmia.pepper@ccwa.org.au www.ccwa.org.au M 0415 380 808 T (08) 9420 7291 F (08) 9420 7273

March 27, 2015 Posted by | environment, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Western Australian government dismissive about environmental concerns re Kintyre uranium mine

Pilbara uranium mine: Minister dismisses concerns over environmental approval ABC News 6 Mar 15 Western Australia’s Environment Minister Albert Jacob has dismissed concerns about his conditional approval of a Pilbara uranium mine. One of the world’s largest uranium producers, Cameco, is proposing to build the Kintyre open-cut mine about 270 kilometres north-east of Newman.

Environmentalists have condemned the decision, citing concerns over the level of radiation monitoring required of the company throughout the Karlamilyi National Park, where the mine would be located……..

the WA Conservation Council’s Mia Pepper said the Government should ensure any animal which is consumed by traditional landowners, not just those that are endangered, also remain protected.”In that area there is a lot of hunting and the big concern is around the radiological uptake in bush foods, which could impact public health,” she said.

“Whether there’s a big risk or a small risk, the point is that there should be monitoring and there should be evidence that the company can provide to the community to say that there is no risk.”……..

Traditional owners, the Martu people, signed a land-use deal with Cameco in 2012.

Kintyre now requires federal environmental approval.

The Conservation Council said environmental groups have vowed to continue to fight the project and will take their concerns to Canberra.http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-06/minister-dismisses-concerns-over-uranium-mine-approval/6286908

March 7, 2015 Posted by | environment, Western Australia | Leave a comment

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