Australian news, and some related international items

Radioactive dust storms from uranium mine will threaten Australia’s cities

Dust storm envelopes Coober Pedy, South Australia – September 27 11, Christina Macpherson    Dust storms can travel thousands of km, from South Australia – the Olympic Dam uranium mine area,   to three capital cities, and even to New Zealand.

These winds travelled similarly to the 2009 Red Dust storm and went across to NSW and through Victoria. Coober Pedy is just East of Emu Field.

Weather forecast was : A vigorous front moving across South Australia 28 September 2011, with west to southwest winds averaging 60-km/h with damaging wind gusts in excess of 80 km/h

RED DUST STORM TWO YEARS AGO to the week was: Forecast September 2009    A vigorous front moving across South Australia 22-25 September [2009], with west to southwest winds averaging 60-70 km/h with damaging wind gusts in excess of 90 km/h.

This time around, Australia’s capital cities have been lucky. Not like two years ago, when dust covered dozens of towns and cities in three states, affecting Adelaide , Melbourne and blanketing Sydney. The dust from the Olympic Dam region might have carried radioactivity –  the uranium mine then , and now,   an underground mine.

But what happens when Olympic Dam uranium mine becomes the world’s biggest open cut mine?

Similar wind storms will happen.  But then the winds will be carrying the  radioactive dust from BHP Billiton’s massive mountain of tailings. The waste rockpile (overburden) will be an enormous mountain on the landscape, 150 metres high and up to 8 kilometres wide.

BHP Billiton themselves admit – or is it boast ? – that this giant mine will alter the region’s weather patterns – to such an extent that aircraft flight paths will have to be changed.

Wake up, city-dwelling Australians – the radioactive threat of Olympic Dam means that Coober Pedy’s dust storms will concern you, too

September 30, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, Olympic Dam, uranium | | Leave a comment

Expansion of Olympic Damn uranium mining is not yet certain

it is a lengthy process as BHP lines up all the necessary government approvals before taking the project to its board next year.

South Australia digs deep to take part in mining boom Telegraph UK 28 Sept 11, Deep in the South Australian outback, change is in the air. Quite literally in fact, since the plans under way to develop the Olympic Dam mine will create a site so vast that it is expected to affect local weather patterns.

Negotiations are now in advanced stages to give BHP Billiton the go–ahead to turn its existing operation some 560km (350 miles) north of Adelaide into the world’s biggest open cast mine. Continue reading

September 30, 2011 Posted by | Olympic Dam, South Australia, uranium | , | Leave a comment

It is the radiation in cigarettes that causes lung cancer

Karagueuzian and his team replicated the calculations that tobacco company scientists described in these documents and found that the levels of radiation in cigarettes would account for up to 138 deaths for every 1,000 smokers over a period of 25 years.

Tobacco Companies Knew of Radiation in Cigarettes, Covered It Up, By CARRIE GANN, ABC News Medical Unit, Sept. 29, 2011 Tobacco companies knew that cigarettes contained a radioactive substance called polonium-210, but hid that knowledge from the public for over four decades, a new study of historical documents revealed.

Scientists from the University of California, Los Angeles, reviewed 27 previously unanalyzed documents and found that tobacco companies knew about the radioactive content of cigarettes as early as 1959. The companies studied the polonium throughout the 1960s, knew that it caused “cancerous growths” in the lungs of smokers, and even calculated how much radiation a regular smoker would ingest over 20 years. Then, they kept that data secret.

Hrayr Karagueuzian, the study’s lead author, said the companies’ level of deception surprised him. “They not only knew of the presence of polonium, but also of its potential to cause cancer,” he said. Continue reading

September 30, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Barry Jones brings some much needed common sense to the climate change ‘debate’

 a way of evaluating the risk of action v. non-action:

 * If we take action and disaster is averted, there will be massive avoidance of human suffering.

 * If we take action and the climate change problem abates for other reasons little is lost and we benefit from a cleaner environment.

 * If we fail to act and disaster results then massive suffering will have been aggravated by stupidity.

 * If we do not take action and there is no disaster, the outcome will be due to luck alone, like an idiot winning the lottery… 

Climate change debate? Pity about the science, ABC Radio National 2 Oct 11, Barry Jones was Minister for Science in Bob Hawke’s government and is a Fellow of all four of Australia’s Learned Academies. Today he discusses the development and the debate of climate science over the years… Continue reading

September 30, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | | Leave a comment

Tragedy of Fukushima’s families. New radiation standards needed for children

New Radiation Limits Demanded for Children, By Suvendrini Kakuchi TOKYO, Sep 29, 2011 (IPS) – The threat of radioactive contamination faced particularly by children after the Mar. 11 nuclear disaster in Japan has touched the heart of the Japanese public, and become a major political and social issue.

Mothers are inevitably in the forefront of citizen groups working to protect children. At a meeting this week at the Ministry of Welfare, they presented an appeal that included a demand for the world’s first radiation safety standards for minors.  Continue reading

September 30, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s Lynas corporation accused of fraud – secrecy over radioactive waste disposal

Malaysian MP accuses Australian company of fraud, 702 ABC Sydney , 29 Sept 11, South East Asia correspondent A Malaysian MP has accused an Australian company of corporate fraud in relation to the building of an ore processing plant in Malaysia.

The Lynas Corp plant will process ore from Western Australia in Malaysia, extracting rare earth minerals for hi-tech manufacturing. The ore contains low levels of radiation, but the Australian company says its plant will be safe.

But Malaysian MP Fuziah Salleh has lodged an official complaint with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). In a letter to ASIC, she says the company promised the International Atomic Energy Agency it would intensify consultation.

She says the company’s failure to publicly release a waste disposal plan amounts to corporate fraud…..The plant is expected to be complete by the end of the year..

September 30, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies | | Leave a comment

Danger of transporting nuclear waste through Australia’s major food bowl

Nuclear waste transport opposed in South Australia 9 News, 29 Sept 11, A plan to ship nuclear waste through the South Australian Riverland puts one of Australia’s major food bowls at risk, the state opposition says. Riverland Liberal MP Tim Whetsone said the state government was totally opposed to a nuclear waste dump being located in South Australia and must take the same stand against the transport of nuclear waste.

A federal government report has advised against transporting waste from the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor in Sydney throughthe Blue Mountains to a proposed nuclear dump in the Northern Territory.

Instead it suggests shipping the waste by road through South Australia. Mr Whetstone said that would put the Riverland’s food production at risk of contamination along with water supplies from the Murray. “Much of this production is export focused and transporting nuclear waste through the Riverland sends a bad message to critical export markets,” he said.

“Transporting waste along the Sturt Highway will involve nuclear waste being in close proximity to the River Murray for much of the journey. “The risk to SA’s water supplies is unacceptable….

September 30, 2011 Posted by | South Australia, wastes | | Leave a comment

Call to sack Australia’s Resources Minister, over his deceitful handling of nuclear waste issue

 Dr Jim Green said: “Mr Ferguson’s handling of this dump issue has been misleading, undemocratic, secretive and in violation of binding Labor Party platform policy. He is treating South Australians with contempt. Prime Minister Gillard should sort out this mess by replacing Mr Ferguson with someone better suited to the task of managing a difficult and contentious issue.”

MARTIN FERGUSON MISLEADS SA ON NUCLEAR DUMP, 28 September 2011, Federal resources minister Martin Ferguson’s mishandling of the contentious plan to truck nuclear waste through SA to a dump site in the NT reached a new low with his misleading comments on ABC Riverland radio this morning.

Mr Ferguson claimed that no decision had been made on a dump site. However he is pushing the National Radioactive Waste Management Bill (NRWMB) through Parliament. The Bill targets Muckaty in the NT as the only site under active consideration for a dump site despite the fact that MuckatyTraditional Owners are challenging the nomination in the Federal Court, and despite NT legislation banning the imposition of a nuclear dump. Continue reading

September 30, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies | | Leave a comment

Australian govt’s corporate welfare to the Big Non Australian BHP Billiton

 “The fuel tax credits effectively act as a massive subsidy for BHP Billiton, begging the questions as to why the Federal Government is subsidising one of the largest mining companies in the world.” said Nectaria Calan of Friends of the Earth Adelaide.

Once known as the “Big Australian,” BHP is now 76 per cent foreign owned, so whilst the Federal Government is funneling taxpayers money into the company, the vast majority of its profits will end up overseas.

BHP Billiton – record profits and still on corporate welfare,  30 Sept 11 The Olympic Dam Expansion Draft Environmental Impact Statement states that the proposed new mine will require 346 million litres of diesel per year in its initial development stage, 394 million litres per year in the intermediate stage, and over 490 million litres per year at full production. This is in addition to the 26 million litres per year currently used at the mine.

Under current fuel tax credit rates, BHP stands to gain $128 million per year in diesel rebates in the initial development period of the mine, $144 million per year in the intermediate stage, and $178 million per year at full production. Continue reading

September 30, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, uranium | Leave a comment

Uranium mining’s horrible year continues – Paladin and Uranex

Paladin raising fails to impress, SMH, Peter Ker, September 30, 2011  “……Paladin has endured an annus horribilus this year, as an easing uranium price, rising costs, reduced production targets and concerns about debts have savaged the company’s share price to barely a quarter of its former value…..

Paladin closed 14¢ lower at $1.17, the company’s lowest share price since June 2005….
Paladin is not the only uranium play seeking funds. Uranex wants to raise $4.7 million through a placement to institutional investors and a share offer to existing shareholders….

September 30, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment

Fall in uranium miner Paladin’s market value

Reuters Australian Business News, SYDNEY, Sept 29 2011 “…..Paladin Energy yesterday launched a A$70 million equity raising through UBS and RBC Capital Markets due to unforeseen cost increases at its two African projects. Costs at the uranium producer’s newest mine, the Kayelekera development in Malawi, have risen to A$50 a pound of uranium oxide. Paladin’s market value has fallen from over A$5 million to A$1 million after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March depressed uranium equities markets ….”

September 30, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment