Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s opportunity to work to make renewable energy cheap

There is a better way. Instead of trying to make fossil energy more expensive, Australia should work to make clean energy cheap. 

Australia’s carbon tax battle: where it fits into the global war, Crikey, October 6, 2011  Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus  :“…….the Left and Right parties in Australia have adopted virtually wholesale the positions taken by Left and Right parties in America.

The Labor Party has borrowed from American Democrats the strategy of giving out money to win over consumers, powerful industries, and unions. The Liberal Party has borrowed from American Republicans the strategy of attacking climate scientists and mobilising a populist backlash. Continue reading

October 7, 2011 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

BBC documentary discusses Chernobyl and Breast Cancer

Doctors told us our radiation levels were 100 times higher than normal.

Catriona Munro on Chernobyl and her breast cancer, BBC News, 7 Oct 11, Catriona Munro believes her incurable breast cancer is linked to the fall out from the Chernobyl disaster. For a BBC Scotland documentary she has recalled how she may have been exposed to radiation and told of her fears for others whose health may also have been affected. Continue reading

October 7, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

India’s nuclear power plans thwarted by protest movement

Protests thwart India’s nuclear plans MUMBAI, Oct. 6 (UPI)– An increase in anti-nuclear sentiment after the Fukushima disaster in Japan in March has stalled India’s ambitious plan for nuclear expansion, officials said…..

Violent protests in April halted construction in Jaitapur in the western state of Maharashtra, where a French company was to build six 1,650-megawatt reactors, and West Bengal state refused permission in August for a proposed 6,000-megawatt facility near the town of Haripur intended to host six Russian reactors, Nature reported Thursday.

The protests have almost completely shut down the country’s nuclear expansion plans, Indian officials acknowledged. “We have not begun work on a single reactor from a foreign vendor; even the land has not been acquired,” Swapnesh Malhotra, a spokesman for the Department of Atomic Energy, said.

The protests have been mainly against imported reactors, the designs of which are untested.

“The French reactor offered to India is not working anywhere in the world and the Russian reactor had to undergo several design changes before we accepted it,” Annaswamy Prasad, retired director of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai, said.

October 7, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Martin Ferguson, Australia’s Minister for Uranium Mining, confronted by clown protestors

Clowns tell big-wigs  to stop messing around.  1057 ABC Darwin, By Clare Rawlinson.6 October, 2011 A group of ‘Kakadu clowns’ have surrounded the Darwin Convention Centre this morning as the NT Mining and South East Asia offshore conference begins. The clowns – protestors from the NT Environment Centre – aim to highlight environmental risks associated with uranium mining in the Kakadu national park.

Minister for Resources Martin Ferguson and delegates from mining big players Inpex and Connoco Phillips avoided the protestors as they arrived this morning, walking directly into the convention centre as the clowns enacted the destruction of the national park caused by mining.

“We’re here to send a message about Kakadu and uranium mining,” organiser Cat Beaton said. ”Kakadu is Australia’s largest National Park – it’s very precious to everybody…Uranium poses a lot of risks.

“We want to send a message to resourse Minister Martin Fergus that we really need to rethink this industry and surely in the NT we can do better. This is an industry that poses risks to workers, to transport, and, you know, on a good day it will end up as radioactive waste and on a bad day it can end up in nuclear weapons.”…

October 7, 2011 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Victoria’s Baillieu government hands out coal mining leases on coastal and agricultural land

So who is benefiting from the Baillieu government’s assault on the environment?

Big Mining. In spades….

Hundreds of brown coal mining leases have now been issued by this government for the very areas out of bounds to wind farms — coastal regions and areas of significant environment value….Oh, and Victoria’s prime agricultural land, 

.. The overriding advantage of wind farms is that agricultural production or grazing can continue unimpeded. Open-cut coal mines can never be converted to agricultural land and coal seam gas wells are notorious for leaking toxic chemicals into aquifers…..

How ‘Red’ Ted Baillieu hoodwinked Victorian votersIndependent Australia, Sandi Keane, 7 Oct 11 It’s hard to know where to start on the transformation of Ted Baillieu from the champion of small-l liberalism to the worst environment Premier on record. Conservative politics these days displays little conscience about robbing future generations of their heritage…..

cattle are OK in National Parks but not so wind farms. Draconian new legislation, Amendment VC82, prohibits wind farms from being constructed in National Parks, near the coast or any area thought to have “environmental value”.

The earlier Amendment VC78 by the Baillieu government already gave local councils the power to reject wind farms. Interestingly, if you read through the legislation, you’ll see that the designated “no go” zones for wind farms are the very same areas of the state singled out by the Landscape Guardians whose agenda appears to be stopping wind farms from replacing coal fired power. For more facts on the Guardian’s phony health claims, their links to the mining industry and the climate skeptics in the Liberal Party, read here. Continue reading

October 7, 2011 Posted by | politics, Victoria | 1 Comment

Uranium SA address to shareholders – all the right weasel words

Russel Bluck Chairman Uranium SA Limited gave a brave  Address to Shareholders
on 6 October.  
It was designed to jolly them up, and Mr Bluck is to be admired, for he has learned all the right terms.  I was reminded of schooldays, when I was taught certain religious beliefs and words by rote.  Obviously Australia’s uranium mining executives have followed the same sort of teaching.

First comes the admission – ” The rate of corporate and generational change has been slowed [ a better word than plummeted?] by external circumstance”

But this is followed quickly by the new nuclear dogmas:   about  “robust returns on invested capital”,…..”The failure of the Fukushima nuclear plants was an industrial [ not a nuclear?] catastrophe within the context of a major natural disaster.”…

…as the fog of disinformation [does he mean the facts on radiation?] clears , it is again clear nuclear power generation is safe and made even safer by the lessons of Fukushima,…

Nuclear power is the only proven technology which is able to deliver energy at the levels required to sustain and grow industry and urban populations – it has a secure future. [Oh Yeah?]
 the uranium market will continue to have a sound future structure [Oh Yeah?]
As a corporate entity, everything we do is done professionally and with integrity [ except telling the truth]

October 7, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, marketing for nuclear, uranium | Leave a comment

New uranium mines not likely to be viable, with costs greater than uranium prices

with demand lower than was expected before, the price outlook is also down in both the medium and long-term..

It is clear that some of the anticipated new mines, heavily promoted by financial backers, will be ‘out of the money’—in other words, too expensive to develop in the new environment. Future uranium projects are very sensitive at prices in the $50 to $70 per pound level, and many may need more than $70 for viability. 

Uranium – what are the prospects post-Fukushima?, Nuclear Engineering, Steve Kidd  Deputy Director General of the World Nuclear Association, 06 October 2011………..Falling uranium demand in the short-term is likely to delay some new projects, particularly those in Africa where financial requirements are heavy. But the reaction of producers will largely depend on the continuation of China’s new build programme and its willingness to finance new mines abroad.

…….Turning to potential new reactors, where the anticipated demand has been important in pushing up the uranium price since 2003, the position has also become arguably more difficult. A highly politicised industry has become, rightly or wrongly, even more politicised, and nuclear plans in some countries may be scaled back, or at best delayed. The position of China in this is not surprisingly crucial, as it has almost half of the reactors under construction around the world. Its immediate reaction to stop the approval process for new units and look more closely at the safety of those already approved is a typical reaction. Continue reading

October 7, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment

Xstrata mining company, like its close friend Glencore, out to wreck renewable energy in Australia

The mining giant Xstrata is now behaving just like the  company that is the world’s most ruthless, secretive and lacking in integrity – Glencore.

This is hardly surprising, as the two companies  are as thick as thieves, and tipped to merger very soon. or might have already merged.  Glencore’s CEO, South African -born Ivan Glasenberg, took the trouble to become an Australian citizen. Glencore very recently listed as a public company. Both actions designed to further Glencore’s interest in Australia, as Glencore bought into Xstrata Australia.

It’s a dead shame that Australian governments can lie down and let these rapacious corporations, known. especially in Glencore’s case, for illegal activities and environmental degradation –  walk all over efforts to get renewable energy happening in this country.


Given the government’s description of CopperString [ involving  renewable energyplan]as a “once in a generation opportunity,” it now seems extraordinary that it should agree with the proposal by Sims, a noted economic rationalist, to allow “the market” – effectively Xstrata – to decide the fate of the project….

Xstrata gas deal sinks renewables hubClimate Spectator Giles Parkinson, 7 oct 11,  Hopes of building one of Australia’s largest renewable energy hubs in north Queensland appear to have been dashed after the Swiss-based global mining giant Xstrata signed a deal instead with AGL Energy to build a gas-fired power station in Mt Isa. Continue reading

October 7, 2011 Posted by | energy, Queensland | Leave a comment

Court finds AREVA nuclear company guilty of radioactive water pollution

AREVA-SOCATRI was finally convicted of the offense of water pollution, in addition to his conviction for delay in reporting an incident. 

Areva-Socatri convicted of water pollution: an unprecedented legal victory! , September 30, the Court of Appeal of Nîmes condemned AREVA-SOCATRI of water pollution, as a result of the appeal including the Network “Sortir du nucléaire”. This sentence follows the unprecedented radioactive leaks detected on the Tricastin nuclear site in July 2008.

Located between Valence and Avignon, the Tricastin nuclear site includes both treatment plants and four fuel nuclear power reactors in operation. SOCATRI society, located on this site, ensures the maintenance and dismantling of radioactive materials and nuclear waste treatment and industrial companies AREVA Tricastin.  Continue reading

October 7, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s Greenhouse Mafia lobbying hard to undermine Clean Energy Finance Corporation

The hardest thing is that the big polluters are working to stop the CEF being passed and at the same time, actively lobbying to turn it into more compensation, undermining the carbon price……. to divert funding from genuine energy efficiency merit to be used as “compensation” for big polluters who do not want to actually pay a price on carbon. For some people, too much pork is barely enough!

I am keen to see the whole $1.2 billion of the CTP invested in good programs and believe it will be. It is certainly possible for ambitious investments to be made through an unambitious funding scheme….

Australia’s $1.2 Billion Clean Technology Program, Renewable Energy World, By Dan Cass , October 6, 2011  When the Labor Government, Greens and independents pass the Clean Energy Future (CEF) package later this year, there will be more than $13.2 billion on the table for renewables and low-carbon investment. Continue reading

October 7, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics | Leave a comment

Vixctoria’s State Library saves $60,000 a year through energy efficiency

PACE, By Hartley Henderson   6 October 2011 Over the last ten years the push for energy efficiency has been rapidly gathering momentum, particularly in relation to productivity improvement and reduction of carbon emissions.

During a recent visit to Australia from Low Voltage Drives headquarters in Finland, ABB group vice president, Pekka Tiitinen, pointed out that 65 percent of all energy consumption at industrial sites goes through motors, and that the biggest challenge is ignorance of the scope for savings…. “Some 50 percent of carbon reduction comes from energy efficiency improvement from renewable energy and other non-fossil, plus carbon capture storage,” he said.

“Australia is a front runner in legislating for energy efficiency and recognising the benefits of energy appraisals for industry and large buildings.

In industry, cost/benefit analysis demonstrates that big savings of up to 50 percent can be achieved, with payback typically in one to two years and sometimes even five to eight months. “The easiest way to add more electricity capacity, is to improve the energy efficiency that would release existing capture in new consumption. Nowadays, more and more systems are playing a key vital role in that.”…

The State Library of Victoria was founded in 1854 and is a reference and research library for over one million visitors a year.

It holds more than two million books and occupies an entire city block of two hectares, comprising reading rooms, galleries, exhibition spaces, conference centre and cafe. Jussi says that an energy appraisal carried out at the library concluded that significant energy savings could be made by replacing the existing HVAC flow control, which used throttling valves, with variable speed drives..

Jussi advises that by using 15 ABB standard drives for HVAC, from 5.5 kW to 55 kW, energy savings of between 30 to 60 percent were achieved across the various applications. “With combined motor ratings of 400 kW and 24/7 plant operation, the total energy consumption was reduced by 1,800 MWh annually, saving the library nearly $60,000 per year. Payback, including maintenance savings, was achieved in just 14 months,” he said….

October 7, 2011 Posted by | energy, Victoria | Leave a comment

Deep mining might increase Australia’s earthquake risks

about every five years there’s a potentially devastating quake of magnitude 6.0 or more. 

some scientists have suggested that mining might have been to blame in that case [Earthquake in Newcastle 28 December 1989,] …..Some experts think this [ deep-core mining] might be enough to destabilise pre-existing faults in the Earth’s crust, and to trigger an earthquake. Certainly, human activity – like large dams being filled – has been linked to quakes overseas….

Earthquakes in Australia, AUSTRALIAN GEOGRAPHIC BY:EMMA YOUNG | OCTOBER-6-2011 Earthquakes don’t only occur near our neighbours Japan and New Zealand – they’re common in Australia too  “……..Australia doesn’t sit on the edge of a tectonic plate. However, the Indo-Australian plate, at the centre of which our continent lies, is being pushed to the north-east at about 7cm per year. It’s colliding with the Eurasian, Philippine and Pacific plates, causing stress to build up in the 25km-thick upper crust. This build-up of pressure within the plate can cause earthquakes in Australia.

In fact, Australia has more quakes than other regions that sit in the middle of plates and are considered relatively stable, Continue reading

October 7, 2011 Posted by | Olympic Dam, safety, South Australia | , | Leave a comment