Australian news, and some related international items

Mount Gambier leads in renewable energy training

Solar & wind power facility best in Australia, ABC Radio Adelaide, 10/08/2011  by Alan Richardson Mount Gambier can now boast that it has the very best facility in Australia for training technicians and installers involved in domestic renewable energy systems.

The $150,000 “Solar & domestic wind turbine installation and grid conect training centre” was built by TAFE students and largely financed by industry sponsors. It has attracted sponsorship and interest from around Australia in fact. The site features a ground level roof structure which has a tiled section, a currugated iron section and a Trimdeck section so students can practice installing solar panels on all roof types. There are also separate controllers and electronics for each set of installed panels , and their output can be monitored remotely via the internet.

In addition, two wind turbines have been installed so far. One is a semi-industrial unit that could power a dairy farm for example, and the other is a typical “domestic” turbine. Two more wind turbines will soon be added, including a small unit that sits just a metre or two above a suburban house roof.By the end of the year, Mount Gambier TAFE plans to acquire a large trailer that will have both solar panels and a wind turbine fitted. This can be towed to anywhere in Australia, allowing technicians in more remote areas to get hands-on experinece with the technology

August 11, 2011 Posted by | energy, South Australia | | Leave a comment

Promising economic future for Queensland with renewable energy

The SCCC predicts the proposed $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation, to be funded with revenue from the carbon price, has the potential to help unlock Queensland’s abundant solar energy resources – providing new job opportunities in regional areas…..
Clean energy future plan promises jobs and economic boost
Eco Business, , August 9th, 2011 

A coalition of social, union, environmental and research organisations today said the federal government’s clean energy future plan would provide unprecedented investment in Australia’s renewable energy resources and energy efficiency, with the potential for major job creation, especially in Queensland.

The Southern Cross Climate Coalition, comprising The Australian Conservation Foundation, The Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Australian Council of Social Services and The Climate Institute, made the claims in an analysis that also urges the federal government to release measures to meet Australia’s international climate finance obligations, in advance of the next round of climate negotiations in Durban in December. Continue reading

August 11, 2011 Posted by | energy, Queensland | Leave a comment

Clean energy a sound long term investment

Clean energy is not getting a free kick. Funding from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation will not be a slush fund – it’s a loan. Clean energy will be challenged to deliver viable, cost-effective solutions. There will be risk, and not all investments will succeed.

But if investors around the world have got it right in their support for clean energy, it should also make a lot of money.

An insurance policy with no regrets, Climate Spectator, 12 Aug 11, Kane Thornton Opponents of the carbon price package will tell you it is a risk to our economy and puts Australia at a competitive disadvantage: in fact, the opposite is true. Continue reading

August 11, 2011 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Nagasaki joins the call for end to nuclear power

Nagasaki mayor calls for denuclearization, by Kenichi Ezaki and Yuji Endo. 10 Aug 11 NAGASAKI–The mayor of Nagasaki called for Japan to move away from nuclear power generation at a ceremony on Aug. 9 to commemorate the 66th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki.

Speaking after a moment’s silence at 11:02 a.m., the exact moment when the atomic bomb was detonated in 1945, Tomihisa Taue told 6,000 participants in the ceremony at Nagasaki Peace Park that Japan should never have another hibakusha, or nuclear victim.

“As a people of a nation that has experienced nuclear devastation, we pleaded that there should be ‘No more hibakusha.’ How has it come about that we are threatened once again by the fear of radiation?” Continue reading

August 11, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

BHP and Mike Rann in a hurry to change laws to allow Olympic Dam uranium mine expansion

Just 10 weeks to seal Dam deal, Adelaide Now Sarah Martin  August 09, 2011  “…..The insistence of the Premier to stay until the new indenture act is signed off has prompted concern from the Opposition and minor parties that the “whip hand” has been handed to BHP Billiton.

The company yesterday remained tight-lipped on the dealings for the legislation required for the $30 billion expansion

BHP Billiton is earmarking nearly $10 billion of a planned $80 billion capital-spending spree over the next five years to expand iron ore and coal mining in Australia but has yet to allocate funding for Olympic Dam…..

Our focus continues to be to… finalise indenture negotiations,” BHP Billiton spokeswoman Kelly Quirke said. The indenture negotiations refer to proposed amendments to legislation in the Roxby Downs township where the mine is located to allow expansion work to commence

BHP Olympic Dam expansion linked to outgoing politician  SYDNEY Aug 8 (Reuters) – An Australian politician who has played a key role in developing BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam copper and uranium mine and is now under pressure to step down has vowed to stay on until Oct. 20 to finalise an expansion of the mine, suggesting talks may be nearing an end. Continue reading

August 11, 2011 Posted by | politics, South Australia, uranium | | Leave a comment

Australian government policy drives Aboriginals off their homelands Amnesty report

Aborigines being driven off homelands: Amnesty, Google News, 9 Aug 11SYDNEY — Australia’s Aborigines are being forced off their traditional land because of government policy, despite the fact they would live longer if they stayed put, Amnesty International claimed Tuesday.

The human rights organisation studied small groups in the central desert region and found those choosing to live on their ancestral lands were effectively denied services such as public housing due to a government emphasis on bigger towns.

“There’s a grave risk that these policies will mean that one-third of the Aboriginal population in the Northern Territory will be abandoned,” said Amnesty International Australia director Claire Mallinson. “The report highlights the really unique and special relationship that Aboriginal people have with the land and then how government policies are putting that relationship at risk, and as a result, people and culture at risk.”

Mallinson said that research showed Aborigines lived healthier and longer lives in the small, homeland communities and that these tended to have fewer social problems such as domestic violence and substance abuse. “The stripping away of essential services will effectively force families to abandon their traditional lands and move into larger towns and cities,” she told AFP.

Australia has committed to improving the lives of its indigenous people but is directing the majority of resources in the Northern Territory to so-called growth towns, Amnesty argues. It said this means that outside these towns, many Aborigines live in overcrowded and dilapidated housing, often without electricity, running water or sanitation…..

August 11, 2011 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Some good news for Australia – avoiding radiation airport scanning?

Now why on Earth did I have to go to an American news service, to find out that the Australian government was doing something sensible about protecting people from ionising radiation? – Christina Macpherson 

Australia Tests Radiation Free Body Scanners HUFFINGTON POST  9 Aug 1 1  AOL Travel News:

(at left – scanner – millimeter radio wave type)

Now that the whole “nudie pic” situation has been cleared up, it seems the main concern surrounding airport body scanners is the radiation they emit.

But, at airports in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, tests were run in July on scanners that emit no radiation, reports the BBC. Instead, the T8000, developed by UK-based ThruVision Systems, uses a “passive” screening technology.


August 11, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health | Leave a comment

Martin Ferguson endorses new Australian pro nuclear spin centre

The aim of New England Nuclear Energy is to gain enough support to change NSW legislation created in 1986 which prohibits nuclear facilities from being constructed or operated.

Nuclear centre opens, The Glen Innes Examiner AMY SLESSOR, 09 Aug, 2011 ,NEW England Nuclear Energy opened its Research, Education and Discussion Centre on Saturday morning.

The opening was at 8.15.43 seconds to coincide with the anniversary of the Hiroshima atomic bombing to show how far nuclear had come since that day, according to New England Nuclear Energy principal Howard Eastwood. Continue reading

August 11, 2011 Posted by | New South Wales, spinbuster | 1 Comment

Pro uranium spin revs up, in Australia and USA

Toro Energy to commence regional public information days for Wiluna uranium project Proactive investors, August 10, 2011 Toro Energ  will begin the public information days on the Wiluna uranium project in regional Western Australia on August 15.

Uranium Safe to Eat With a Spoon!, OpEd by David Swanson, 11 Aug 11, Carefully ignoring Fukushima, Los Alamos, Vermont, and Nebraska, a comforting new announcement informs us that “nuclear energy is safe.” A series of soothing television ads and videostells us that mining uranium in Virginia would produce jobs and protect us from scary foreigners.

Virginia newspapers carried an article from theAssociated Press this week that did not pretend to be anything but one-sided, reporting on the agenda of corporations that would profit from mining uranium while including no other views or any verified facts. The Washington Post did the very same thing. These articles are essentially press releases that have been tweaked. The online versions even include the videos.

We can expect even less actual news reporting than that (yes, less than nothing) to come through our televisions. But these ads hyping uranium mining as a job solution will be aired. And the television networks will consequently view the mining corporations as customers not to be needlessly offended or inconvenienced……

Thousands of years of danger, to provide what the uranium mining companies claim might be 65 years of uranium use. That seems like the kind of deal only a U.S. president could consider a bargain. Let’s hope Virginia still has more life left in it than Washington.

August 11, 2011 Posted by | marketing for nuclear, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Australians urged to back inquiry into Murdoch media ownership

Rupert Murdoch has been allowed to become an unchallenged dictator of public opinion…and has free rein to spread his ideological agenda promoting wars, climate deniers and xenophobia.

 But now the Australian Law Review Commission has recommended the adoption of new laws guaranteeing our privacy, and more and more voices are calling for a full inquiry on our media, including ownership concentration.

Gillard: Stand up to Murdoch, Avaaz, 11 Aug 11Rupert Murdoch’s News Limited controls 70% of what Australians read in newspapers every day — and dismal media regulation give him a free rein to hold politics hostage, manipulate public opinion, and even hack phones. But now we have an opportunity to change that…..Avaaz members in the UK won an amazing victory, helping stop Murdoch from buying over 50% of UK media. Now, he is beginning to feel the heat here — PM Gillard is considering a full inquiry into Australian media that could place News Ltd under closer scrutiny and control. But Murdoch wields massive political influence and key members of both the cabinet and the Parliament are wavering. Continue reading

August 11, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | Leave a comment

Uranium mining company fights on, – environment is irrelevant?

Miner prepares to fight Arkaroola ban, Adelaide Now, Business Reporter Russell Emmerson, August 10, 2011, MARATHON Resources is preparing for a fight over the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary.The company said yesterday it had retained two top commercial law firms and senior counsel in South Australia and interstate to advise Marathon on its options relating to its Mt Gee uranium tenement and the loss of its right to explore and mine in the Sanctuary.

Premier Mike Rann late last month banned mining in Arkaroola despite Marathon holding an exploration licence for what it believes is Australia’s fifth-largest undeveloped uranium reserve.

Marathon Resources chairman Peter Williams yesterday said the company would decide its next move after seeking the advice…..

 While the State Government may not have a legal obligation to compensate Marathon for its expenditure, it is likely to offer an “ex gratia” payment for political purposes.

It paid the three bidders for the State Government’s cancelled $557 million prisons project at Mobilong $3.5 million each in “good faith” to avoid being seen as a political risk and is likely to do more here to protect the state’s “pro-mining” reputation…

August 11, 2011 Posted by | politics, South Australia, uranium | | Leave a comment

Investors are finding renewable energy safe and attractive

Munich Re, the world’s biggest reinsurer, has already said it will lift its investments in wind farms and solar plants nearly 10-fold this year to about €2.5 billion to help boost its investment returns. Such installations are offering 7-8 per cent annua returns, fixed over a 20-25 year period. That is proving irresistible in the current market environment. Allianz has so far invested in 31 wind farms and solar plants. Munich Re last month bought four photovoltaic plants in Italy.

GREEN DEALS: Investors seek green shelter, Climate Spectator Giles Parkinson and Sophie Vorrath, 9 Aug 11, Over the last few months, some of the world’s biggest insurers and managers of money – Allianz, Munich Re and Axa – have announced that they will be diverting sizeable amounts of funds into clean energy investments. Frustrated by the low yields in bond markets and the extreme volatility in equities, the world’s biggest risk assessors and funds managers are discovering that wind farms and solar plants with 25-year contracts for their power offtake are looking like solid and attractive investments. Continue reading

August 11, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment