Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear Waste Bill, BHP spin, Glencore

It’s a pivotal time for Australia, with the government now trying to get its draconian nuclear National Radioactive Waste Management Bill passed very quietly.

Nuclear spin continues, with today’s Age reporting BHP chairman Mr Nasser joining the pro nuclear chorus.

But BHP CEO Marius Kloppers has been strangely silent lately. It is rumoured that Kloppers might move to Glencore.  Glencore plans to take over  Australian coal and uranium miner Xstrata.  Friends of the Earth has a legal action against Xstrata

May 10, 2011 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Hidden under Budget news, Australian govt sneaks in Radioactive Waste Bill

Nuclear debate shrouded in budget, Sky News  May 10, 2011 The Greens suspect the Senate nuclear waste debate was timed intentionally to coincide with the federal budget. Greens Senator Scott Ludlam said legislation to set up Australia’s first nuclear waste dump at Muckaty Station, near Tennant Creek, was listed for debate in the Senate on Tuesday, when the federal budget will be handed down.

‘It’s a sign that the government’s got something to hide … it’s curious timing,’ he told AAP. Continue reading

May 10, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

USA, Japan, – secret plans to dump radioactive waste in Mongolia

Japan, U.S. negotiating construction of nuclear waste facility in Mongolia, Mainichi Daily News 10 May 11 ULAN BATOR, Mongolia — Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the U.S. Department of Energy have secretly been advancing plans to construct the world’s first international storage and disposal facility for spent nuclear fuel in Mongolia, it has been learned.

The deal would enable Japan and the U.S., which lack disposal sites of their own, to counter efforts by Russia and France to market nuclear technology internationally by selling reactors and the disposal of nuclear waste services together as a set. Parties involved in negotiations acknowledged the secret plans when interviewed by the Mainichi.

In return for the deal, Mongolia would receive nuclear power technology from Japan and the U.S. However, the nuclear crisis sparked by the earthquake and tsunami at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant has pressured the Japanese government to rethink its nuclear power policies, and the move to burden a third party with the task of disposing of nuclear waste is likely to draw criticism.

Sources familiar with the plans said negotiations started in late September last year at the initiative of U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman. Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade handled talks, which were facilitated by the fact that there are no immediate prospects of Japan or the U.S. being able to settle on nuclear waste disposal sites of their own and Mongolia wants technological support to construct nuclear fuel processing plants and nuclear fuel storage facilities…….

May 10, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Coming to Australia – Glencore – a company some see as rotten to the core

 From Wikipedia  “Glencore’s history reads like a spy novel“.[6] The company was founded as Marc Rich & Co. AG in 1974 by now-billionaire commodity trader Marc Rich, who was charged with tax evasion and illegal business dealings with Iran in the U.S., but pardoned by President Bill Clinton in 2001.[7] He was never brought before U.S. justice before his pardoning, therefore there was never a verdict on these charges….

Dealings with “rogue states”

ABC Radio reported that Glencore “has been accused of illegal dealings with rogue statesapartheid South AfricaUSSRIran, and Iraq under Saddam Hussein“, and has a “history of busting UN embargoes to profit from corrupt or despotic regimes”.[6] Specifically, Glencore was reported to have been named by the CIA to have paid $3,222,780 in illegal kickbacks to obtain oil in the course of the UN oil-for-food programme for Iraq.

… Investments in Colombia

Moreover, Swiss public television (TSR) reported in 2006 that allegations of corruption and severe human rights violations were being raised against Glencore on account of the alleged conduct of its Colombian Cerrejón mining subsidiary. Local union president Francisco Ramirez was reported to have accused Cerrejón of forced expropriations and evacuations of entire villages in order to enable mine expansion, in complicity with Colombian authorities. 

Glencore goes in where others fear to tread, Dan Fortson, THE AUSTRALIAN The Australian  May 09, 2011  “….To convince investors to buy in, Glencore had to bare all. Last week, it issued a 1600-page prospectus that for the first time revealed the full extent of its empire.

…. It makes for some uncomfortable reading: Continue reading

May 10, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business | Leave a comment

Australian government opposes any expansion of nuclear industry – Penny Wong

Wong said the federal government has made its position on the nuclear industry clear and it was also clear in opposing any expansion of the nuclear industry.

She said solar and wind powered energy should be considered, as should the potential for geothermal energy. “We do have these resources and we should use them,” she said.“We have an underinvestment in the energy sector.”

ENRICHING THE URANIUM DEBATE, Australian Mining, By Jessica Burke   9 May 2011……Penny Wong recently warned South Australia against becoming involved in nuclear enrichment. The senior federal South Australian Minister and former climate change minister told ABC radio that enriching uranium or having power stations is “not the sort of vision I want for South Australia.” Continue reading

May 10, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, South Australia | | Leave a comment

Australian govt’s rush to pass nuclear waste law – no consultation with Palmerston municipality

Palmerston Mayor nuclear fallout with Federal Government ABC News Darwin By Nicole Foote, 10 May 11 The Mayor of Palmerston has strong concerns over the transportation of radioactive nuclear waste from Darwin Port through his community. The proposed nuclear waste dump at Muckaty Station is around 800 kilometres south-east of Palmerston, yet Palmerston Mayor Robert McLeod is very concerned about its impact.

If the dump site goes ahead, radioactive waste from other states and overseas is likely to be transported through Palmerston.

Looking at proposed transport routes, Mayor McLeod says the current recommendations from Linfox and Toll to the government would see waste transported in 20 foot containers either by rail or road from East Arm Port down the Stuart Highway. Either way, the Palmerston Mayor is concerned that neither the Territory or Federal government have consulted Palmerston Council so far.

“At this stage the Federal Government hasn’t spoken to anyone within regards to moving stuff throughout our municipality.”…… The Palmerston council has passed a motion for the Mayor to approach Energy Minister Martin Ferguson. Robert McLeod will be writing to the minister and meeting with him in Canberra this June to raise his concerns…..

May 10, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Chancellor Angela Merkel now a geniune promoter of renewable energy

“It’s over,” she told one of her advisers immediately after watching on TV as the roof of a Fukushima reactor blew off. “Fukushima has forever changed the way we define risk in Germany.”

How Angela Merkel became Germany’s unlikely green energy champion Fukushima has seen German chancellor Angela Merkel embark on the world’s most ambitious plan to power an industrial economy on renewable sources of energy, Christian Schwägerl for Yale Environment 360,, 9 May 2011 German Chancellor Angela Merkel is anything but a left-wing greenie. The party she leads, the Christian Democratic Union, is the political equivalent of the Republicans in the US. Her coalition government is decidedly pro-business. Often described as Europe’s most powerful politician, Merkel’s top priority is job creation and economic growth.

Yet if the chancellor succeeds with her new energy policy, she will become the first leader to transform an industrialized nation from nuclear and fossil fuel energy to renewable power. Continue reading

May 10, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

ERA talks up Ranger uranium mine, despite floods, share price fall

 …… Energy Resources itself has also been under siege, with accusations that it may be lax in environmental monitoring during its operational suspension. 

fears were raised over pollution leaks from the Ranger mine, and it was accused of allowing 100 000 litres of contaminated water to seep from its tailings dam….

A NEW ERA FOR ERA, Australian Mining    10 May 2011 “……Rio Tinto’s Energy Resources Australia (ERA) has stated that it believes there is an additional 34 000 tonnes of high grade uranium oxide underneath its existing open pit at the Ranger mine, near Jabiru in the Northern Territory. According to the miner, exploratory drilling at its 3 Deeps project is set to increase the life of the mine.This is despite the world’s fourth largest uranium producer’s suspension on its operations.

…… A total of 2 490 millilitres of rain has inundated the mine since September last year, the wettest period it has seen since recoding 2 527 millilitres of rainfall in 2006/07. This rainfall also flooded out Energy Resources’ Pit 3, essentially forming a pit lake. Due to this, Energy Resources Australia does not expect to obtain access to the high grade ore at Pit 3 until much later this year. Continue reading

May 10, 2011 Posted by | marketing for nuclear, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

News on Fukushima has gone worryingly quiet

“It’s very important to have scientists who are not already paid by the nuclear power industry,”  “If they are the same people from Euratom and national authorities they use today, why would they say anything different to what they say all the time?”…..Now the Japanese government has moved to crack down on independent reportage and criticism of the government’s policies in the wake of the disaster by deciding what citizens may or may not talk about in public…

Deadly Silence on Fukushima  Huffington Post , Vivian Morris, : 05/ 9/11   (includes video) “……[ quoting Russian nuclear physicist]  ‘About Japan: the problem is that the reactor uses “dirty” fuel. It is a combination of plutonium and uranium (MOX). I suspect that the old fuel rods have bean spread out due to the explosion and the surrounding area is contaminated with plutonium which means you can never return to this place again. It is like a new Tchernobyl. Personally, I am not surprised that the authority has not informed people about this‘….. Continue reading

May 10, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment