Now here’s an unusual item from the Australian business pages. Instead of the usual big talking up of the future for Australia’s uranium companies, – darned if one investment writer hasn’t told it like IT IS!
Uranium on the nose, The Motley Fool By Mike King - May 16, 2013 More than 26 months after the nuclear accident at Fukushima, Japan, the nuclear industry is still feeling the effects with depressed uranium prices and cost pressures that are squeezing margins……
The price for uranium has fallen 40% since Fukushima to US$40 a pound, as Japan suspended its fleet of nuclear plants, while Germany…
….. the uranium price could stagnate at current levels for many years, much like it did after previous nuclear incidents. Japan may not restart its reactors, preferring instead to seek other energy alternatives, and reactors currently under construction could still be cancelled or postponed.
That is not good news for ASX listed uranium miners Paladin, Energy Resources of Australia (ASX: ERA), Toro Energy (ASX: TOE) or Deep Yellow Limited (ASX: DYL). http://www.fool.com.au/2013/05/16/uranium-on-the-nose/
they should shut down this factory for producing radioactive trash
Nuclear future unclear for Lucas Heights. http://www.abc.net.au/local/audio/2013/05/16/3760616.htm?site=sydney By John Donegan, 16 May, 2013 702 ABC Sydney Morning presenter Linda Mottram discusses the future of the Lucas Heights nuclear facility with Sutherland Shire mayor Kent Johns. While the permanent site for a national nuclear waste storage facility is mired in the courts, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation [ANSTO] is required to store processed waste materials at the Lucas Heights facility in Sydney.
Audio The secret trade deal that could let multinationals sue states ’ http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/trade-talks/4689004 RN Breakfast Presented by Fran Kelly 14 May 2013 Cathy Van Extel The latest round of negotiations for the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership starts today in Lima, Peru. The TPP is a multinational trade deal involving 12 countries, including the US and Australia, and if finalised it will account for 40 per cent of the global economy. Cathy Van Extel reports that the outcome of the Australian federal election is likely to have a big impact on the terms of the deal. The latest round of negotiations for the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership is kicking off in the Peruvian capital of Lima today.
The TPP is a multinational trade deal involving 12 countries including the US and Australia. If finalised it’ll account for 40 per cent of the global economy.
The trade talks are heavily shrouded in secrecy—and critics are concerned the TPP will benefit multinational corporations at the expense of existing labour and social protections.
The US has been pushing for an agreement by October this year and the Australian federal election is likely to have a big impact on the terms of the major trade deal. The wide ranging trade deal has been under negotiation since 2010 behind closed doors, and that’s a worry for critics like Jane Kelsey, professor of law from the University of Auckland and an activist academic.
She says it’s being rushed through with no public scrutiny.There’s going to be a huge amount of political pressure brought to bear on the negotiators in this round because they have set an informal deadline for signing a deal, or at least something, at the APEC leaders’ meeting in Bali in October,’ Professor Kelsey says. ‘However, the negotiations are still stuck on a number of key points and so there will be quite a bit of public posturing and quite a lot of pressure behind the scenes.’ Read more »
Not much climate change doubt, science says : http://www.theage.com.au/environment/climate-change/not-much-climate-change-doubt-science-says-20130515-2jmup.html#ixzz2TV6hLn4F Peter Hannam Carbon economy editor, 16 May 13,
Having doubts over climate change and the role of humans? You’re unlikely to find many scientists who share your uncertainty. That is the finding of a University of Queensland-led study that surveyed the abstracts of almost 12,000 scientific papers from 1991-2011 and claims to be the largest peer-reviewed study of its kind. Of those who a stated a position on the evidence for global warming, 97.1 per cent endorsed the view that humans are to blame. Just 1.9 per cent rejected the view.
The report’s lead author, John Cook, a fellow at the University of Queensland’s Global Change Institute and founder of the website skepticalscience.com, said the scientific consensus was overwhelming, growing and had been around since the early 1990s.
He said that while the number of papers rejecting the consensus was “vanishingly small”, his research suggested the public was under the impression the debate was split 50-50. Read more »
‘Absurd’: Intentionally dumping Fukushima nuclear material into ocean from land “is not considered dumping” — Allowed under international law? http://enenews.com/absurd-intentionally-dumping-fukushima-nuclear-material-ocean-land-considered-dumping-allowed-international-law
Author: David Pacchioli
Date: May 6, 2013
The Fukushima disaster is without precedent and will have unprecedented impacts on future policies governing the ocean, both Japanese and international.
[...] the Fukushima accident has revealed some key shortcomings in international law, said Kentaro Nishimoto, who teaches law of the sea at Tohoku University. To illustrate, he used an incident that has brought sharp criticism from Japan’s neighbors: the intentional release of radioactive water into the sea.
[...] Nishimoto said, the relevant international laws proved to be nonbinding. In particular, he noted, the London Convention on marine pollution, although it expressly prohibits ocean dumping of radioactive material, limits these restrictions to vessels at sea. Release of materials from land is not considered dumping.
“When I tell this to people outside the field of international law, the reaction I get is, ‘This is absurd,’ ” Nishimoto acknowledged. [...]
See also: Bloomberg: Increasing risk that Fukushima radioactive waste being dumped into Pacific Ocean
Sister Bullwinkel and a Nuclear Japan, May 15, 2013 By Major Van Harl USAF Ret Wisconsin –(Ammoland.com)- Vivian Bullwinkel was a young Lieutenant in the Australian Army Nursing Service…… Bullwinkel hid her wound because she knew, if the Japanese found out she had survived the Bangka Island Massacre of twenty-one Army nurses, she would be shot. You cannot leave witnesses when you commit atrocities. Wartime atrocities were committed by the Japanese through out the Pacific region of WW II. Today’s problem is Japan is working hard to re-write history…..
Now North Korea has nuclear weapons and Japan is getting very worried. If Japan changes its constitution and builds up an offensive military they will take their world class missiles that we know about and marry them to their world class nukes that we act like we do not know about.They will then become a first world player in the nuclear game and the US is obligated by treaty to defend Japan if it is attacked.
Is a nuclear armed Japan really a good thing even if they are supposed to be our best ally in that part of the world?…. If they amend their constitution and go nuclear that is a game changer as far as I am concerned. The US should not be obligated to defend Japan if they push too hard and start a shooting war just so they can save “face” dealing with China. http://www.ammoland.com/2013/05/sister-bullwinkel-and-a-nuclear-japan/#ixzz2TVN7CNqo
Milne blasts cuts to green schemes, BY:LAUREN WILSON , The Australian May 16, 2013 GREENS leader Christine Milne remains confident the legislated carbon package can drive the economic transition from coal to renewable energy, despite the “deep cuts” Labor made in its budget to green schemes and the slump in the European carbon price.
Senator Milne accused Labor of “reneging” on the agreement it reached with the Greens and the regional independents through the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee, by making cutbacks of $685 million to renewable energy and energy-efficiency programs, as well as slashing $257m from the Biodiversity Fund.
“The Labor Party cannot be trusted with this critical area of transition to a low-carbon economy,” she said.
But despite declaring the cuts a “disgrace”, Senator Milne said the climate package legislated after the MPCCC clinched a deal in 2011 “will be effective into the future” despite the plummeting European carbon price and the cut to renewables funding. ”Quite outside what this parliament does, the fact is that the technology for renewables is becoming cheaper and what we are seeing is greater competition for renewables,” she said.
Senator Milne, who has previously noted a high carbon price and significant and sustained investment in renewable energy would be essential to drive the transition away from brown coal, said: “I’m hoping that if the European price gets back to the floor price, $15 in 2015, then we’ll be on track, and with the technology prices coming down,” she said.
The minor party leader called on Tony Abbott to block the funding cuts to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency…. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/treasury/milne-blasts-cuts-to-green-schemes/story-fnhi8df6-1226643419221
TEPCO Withholds “Black Box” Data About Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Simply Info, May 13th, 2013 In April of 2010 TEPCO signed a contract with high tech security company Magna BSP to provide asophisticated video and trespass detection system at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. This was the first installation of what was to be a series of similar installations at nuclear plants around Japan, coordinated between the government and nuclear operators. The system was installed at Fukushima Daiichi in 2010
Two TEPCO workers who were trained on the system weeks before the disaster were confirmed to have been among the Fukushima 50 who stayed at the plant during the worst of the disaster. To date TEPCO has not acknowledged the existence of the system or volunteered any of the video and data captured by the system to the public or the press. This data was never taken into account by any of the investigations into the disaster that commenced in 2011 and 2012.
This system holds critical data that could shed light on many of the early events at the plant. It should be made public in an unedited and usable format asap.
The sophisticated technology provided by Magna BSP would have been capable of recording through a variety of drastic conditions at the plant. Most security systems consist of durable cameras and sensors that send data to a central computer system that records and distributes the imagery and other data………
These security systems exist and were in operation at the plant at the time of the disaster. The head of the company confirms the system likely survived all or most of the early disaster and recorded information during that time. The equipment that recorded the data would have survived even under the worst of scenarios and would be recoverable even if damage to the data center occurred.
This data should be made public in an unedited and usable format asap. The existence or lack thereof of any data from these systems should be independently verified. Not just for the exclusive use of the select favored press as TEPCO did with much of the teleconference video but made publicly available to all immediately. This critical information should be made part of all post disaster investigations as they were denied this important information during their work……. http://www.simplyinfo.org/?p=10359
Still – the Australian Renewable Energy Agency survives, and solar and wind power are going to keep growing. Heaven help us if Tony Abbot gets in in September and tries to wreck renewable energy and climate change action. We may well look back on this Budget as something quite good.
The uranium lobby will be squealing, as new rules tighten, to stop the rorts on tax exempt exploration. But they keep all their other $billion perks.
Nuclear agencies continue to gobble up their $millions. The old dead, but still dirty High Flux has costly cleanups indefinitely, the live OPAL nuclear reactor continues to cost. Then there’s the radioactive waste dump planning.
And there are the Counsellors in India and China being funded – their job sounds very like marketing for Australia’s uranium industry.
The mining industry has had a royal run from the Australian government. Up until this latest Federal Budget uranium mining companies could deduct the full cost of exploration immediately, or even 150 per cent of the cost of exploration in some cases. Tax breaks on exploration and equipment cost taxpayers more than $1 billion per year.
Now – mining companies will cry poor, as the new budget contains measures to tighten the rules on exploration deductions for miners. Companies will now only be able to deduct genuine exploration spending, rather than writing off the acquisition of a company that acquired mining rights and spent money on exploration. But hey, the Government is sacking more than 100 staff from the federal environment department, staff who help assess mining proposals
But don’t let’s feel too sorry for the uranium, or indeed, any mining corporations. For example BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto pay tax on their fuel, but the government gives nearly all of it back through the Fuel Tax Credits program. Fears the diesel fuel rebates could be targeted again proved unfounded, with no direct changes to the 32 cent rebate.
As Charles Berge wrote (in Sydney Morning Herald May 11, 2010) “And then there are direct government services. Geoscience Australia’s annual budget is $130 million, much of which goes to providing free data and services to the mining industry. The CSIRO and various government research centres chip in another $130 million per year in benefits to the industry. And for the research the miners have to do themselves, they get $160 million back per year in the form of research and development tax concessions.
A billion or two for fuel, … a billion for free pollution and a couple of hundred million for subsidised science . . . pretty soon we’re talking real money.
And that’s before we’ve even begun to talk about government-provided roads, rail, ports, electricity networks and other infrastructure.
Mining is different from most other industries because it directly accesses publicly owned, non-renewable resources. It is appropriate that it pay for this privileged access, over and above its fair share of company tax. In light of the $4 billion to $5 billion in benefits the mining industry receives each year from the Australian taxpayer, the government’s proposed resource rent tax starts to look modest (and anyway, uranium mining was exempt from that tax)…..
So don’t be snowed by the big miners’ shrieks about sovereign risk driving them out of Australia. The biggest risk is that we continue to subsidise mining operations that aren’t paying a fair return for their use of public resources and taxpayer dollars.”
- Nuke Dump – $35.7m over 4 years National Radioactive Waste Management — securing a site and First Stage business case to “secure suitable volunteer site” and undertake initial scoping and design work, establish a Regional Consultative Committee and First State business case. (p253 bp2)
- Counsellor in New Delhi - $3.1m over 4 years to continue posting a Resources, Energy and Tourism Counsellor in New Delhi – is this to do with Uranium??
- ANSTO = $38.7m for decommissioning High Flux Nuclear Reactor and $8.1 m for increasing costs of running OPAL Nuclear Reactor (nuclear fuel and electricity) Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation — additional funding for decommissioning and nuclear waste management activities
ARPANSA = $ 7.8 m over four years Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency — improving Australia’s capacity to deliver effective radiation protection and nuclear safety to enhance capacity to issue new licences and undertake compliance, upgrade Yallambie and to address workplace health and safety issues. 5.1 m to be recovered through revising licencing fees and testing fees.
More detail on these nuclear-related expenses in the Budget: Read more »
Budget 2013-14 And Renewable Energy http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=3739, 15 May 13, Australia’s Clean Energy Council has expressed disappointment in last night’s Budget, stating more than $600 million of funding for clean energy projects has been put in jeopardy.
While acknowledging a tough set of financial circumstances for the country and ambitious new projects such as the NDIS requiring funding, the CEC says chopping and changing clean energy program funding unsettles investors.
A deferral of $370 million in funding to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) over three years from 2014-15 is causing some concern as the CEC says the process for returning that funding to ARENA’s budget beyond 2020 is unclear.
$260 million of funding for energy efficiency programs and large-scale solar was also cut; the latter being $160 million of unallocated solar flagships funding which was to go to the ill-fated Solar Dawn project.
However, it wasn’t all bad news. The Clean Technology Programs did not receive rumoured cuts and $58 million of unspent funds in 2012-13 has been reallocated to 2017-18. $160 million of funding has been brought forward to 2014-15 to provide earlier access to funds for industry.
Greens leader Christine Milne was particularly scathing of the Budget. In an email with the subject line of “weaker, dumber, meaner”; Ms. Milne said the Government’s cuts to renewable energy funding constituted “back-flipping on their commitments to the Clean Energy package made with the Greens”. Ms. Milne also said “This budget is bad but Tony Abbott’s extreme agenda would go even further.”
For potential buyers of small scale rooftop solar arrays, their was neither bad or good news in the Budget – it’s business as usual.
On a somewhat related topic, carbon capture copped it in the cuts; with $662 million of uncommitted funds for the controversial Carbon Capture and Storage Flagships program being returned.
A full round-up of Budget 2013-14 winners and losers (renewable energy related and otherwise) can be viewed on ABC News.
Federal budget 2013: Renewable energy agency spared funding axe http://www.startupsmart.com.au/financing-a-business/federal-budget-2013-renewable-energy-agency-spared-funding-axe.html , 14 May 2013 | By Oliver Milman The federal government will extend the funding for its flagship clean tech initiative, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, confounding fears from green start-ups that the program was to be slashed to the bone.
Media reports in the lead-up to the budget suggested ARENA was set for funding cuts after the government flagged a reduction in the carbon price and the deferment of a tax cut linked to the scheme.
In the budget papers, the government has indeed deferred the tax cut until the carbon price is estimated to be above $25.40, which is projected for 2018-19.
However, ARENA has emerged relatively unscathed, with Treasurer Wayne Swan and Climate Change Minister Greg Combet announcing that its funding will be extended by two years to 2021-22, with funding “remaining above $3 billion for the life of the program”. Read more »
ARENA plans new mechanisms as funding cut, deferred REneweconomy By Giles Parkinson on 15 May 2013 Australia’s Renewable Energy Agency – the independent institution charged with giving a kick-start to emerging renewable energy technologies and supporting infrastructure – has had its overall funding cut by around 5 per cent and a further $370 million deferred to beyond 2020 as part of changes announced in the 2013 Federal Budget on Tuesday.
The cut, which effectively reduces ARENA’s total budget from $3.2 billion to just over $3 billion – comes from a decision to return $159 million of unspent money from the Education Investment Fund – a $200 million facility that was to run alongside the now defunct Solar Flagships program – to the budget.
CEO Ivor Frischknecht said he was disappointed by the budget cut – which effectively removes 10 per cent of unallocated monies, even though these particular funds were not under its direct control – but he said the “reprofiling” of the funding for other programs could actually suit ARENA’s investment objectives.
Under the changes announced by Treasurer Wayne Swan, funding for ARENA would be trimmed by $70 million in 2014/15 and by $150 million in the two subsequent years, with the money backloaded from 2020 into a program that would be extended out to 2021/22.
The move to effectively delay around 7 per cent of its unallocated funds has been criticised by clean energy supporters. The Clean Energy Council said it was disappointed the funds had been sent into the “budget ether”, just one year after ARENA had been established as an independent body to provide long-term stability to investors, and to avoid this very problem of annual budget cuts. ARENA enjoys bipartisan support, unlike the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
However, Frischknecht told RenewEconomy in an interview that the “reprofiling” of funding was a “sensible” move because it would help align the funding with the agency’s own investment plans……..
Frischknecht said ARENA was particularly pleased to get a $6.1 million increase in operational funding, which would allow the agency to expand, adding in project managers and specialist financing and transactional teams to look at new projects. “This is a big vote of confidence in our work,” he said. http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/arena-plans-new-mechanisms-as-funding-cut-deferred-81277