Australian news, and some related international items

Critical nuclear issues in Australian States today

  • South Australia.   With BHP Billiton’s lackeys, (Mike Rann and Kevin Foley) gone, South Australian Labor and Liberal  politicians are squirming around, trying to make themselves look different, more “open”.  At the same time, new Premier Jay Weatherill and Liberal’s Isabel Redmond, are kow-towing to BHP Billiton, with a pretty farcical Committee study of the Roxby Downs Indenture Bill.  Among other extraordinary gifts to BHP, The Bill will give away

Olympic Dam land freehold to BHP, thus exterminating any possible Native Title claim.          The Committe  has been pushed into agreeing to let the Conservation Council have a say.  VIDEO: Conservationists to have say on mine (7pm TV News SA)        

  • Western Australia.  While Julia Gillard stated that there will be no discussion at CHOGM about Australia selling uranium to India, behind the scenes at CHOGM, such discussions are going on, with Labor Party people involved, as well as, of course, Tony Abbot.  India lobbies for Australian uranium,  .
  • Also in Western Australia – Walkers Against Uranium mining end their 1400 km marathon, and join in protest with other social justice activists
  • Northern Territory.  Let us not forget that the struggle continues, to prevent a radioactiev waste dump on Aboriginal land at Muckaty. The traditional owners’ legal action is continuing.
  • New South Wales. The rich suburb of Hunters Hill is, quite reaonably, fed up with hosting radioacive uranium wastes. But the working class Western suburb of Kemps Creek doesn’t want it dumped there. No thank you. The NSW government is in a dilemma –   nobody wants their radioactive waste!


October 28, 2011 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

South Australia’s Olympic Dam Indenture scrutiny – a token effort, just for show?

Weatherill happy to widen Olympic Dam mine bill scrutiny, ABC News October 28, 2011   South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill says he would be happy for groups opposed to the planned Olympic Dam mining expansion to put evidence to a special parliamentary committee.

It sat on Thursday to examine legislation which will enact the Olympic Dam indenture. The Greens say they managed to get the proceedings opened to the public, but said the committee was a farce because the three witnesses who appeared were all in favour of the mining expansion near outback Roxby Downs in South Australia.

Mr Weatherill said he would not be opposed to other groups having a say.”That’s a matter for the committee but I think we want to make this an open process as we can,” he said….

Greens leader Mark Parnell was upset the only parties invited before the parliamentary inquiry were proponents of the expansion; BHP Billiton, the Chamber of Mines and the Olympic Dam task force. He accused the SA Government and Opposition of colluding to make sure the committee only heard from those who favoured the mining project.

After the hearing, the Greens said BHP Billiton had been given an easy ride. Mr Parnell says it was a one-sided affair with little real scrutiny.

“The questions asked of BHP Billiton were about as soft as they get,” he said. “This is a multi-billion-dollar project that will go for 100 years or more and a lot of the committee’s time was wasted talking about boggy roads and grey nomads.

October 28, 2011 Posted by | politics, South Australia, uranium | | Leave a comment

CHOGM: police target peaceful protestors (Are they hoping for violent ones?)

Barred CHOGM protestor ‘not a threat’, STEVE PENNELLS and JANE HAMMOND, The West Australian, October 25, 2011 The blitz started early – around 7am – when 56-year-old physically-impaired activist Seamus Doherty answered his front door to find four policeman holding a map of the CBD with much of it blacked out.

These were the places he couldn’t go, the police told him. If he walked into any of those areas during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting he faced 12 months in jail…..

Mr Gransch, a member of Forest Rescue, said he had no idea why he was targeted. “I don’t really understand why they have given this to me. Everything I do and everything we do in the Forest Rescue is non-violent,” he said.

At least 12 people have so far been identified as being on the excluded persons list, a police hit list which identifies them as potential threats and bans them for 14 days from much of the Perth CBD, including the foreshore and the river until five days after CHOGM has ended.

All said yesterday they had no idea why they were being seen as a threat and had no records – or intention – of violence.

“These people are activists who care about the environment and want to see a better world. Why should their democratic rights to walk around the city for days after CHOGM is over be impeded,” CHOGM Action Network spokesman Alex Bainbridge said. “From the people I know of, there is no record of violence or anything that would give cause for this”….

October 28, 2011 Posted by | civil liberties, Western Australia | | Leave a comment

CHOGM: It’s going to be harder for Australian uranium companies to rip off African people

We have long needed greater assurances that Australian mining companies are adequately meeting their responsibilities in the developing countries in which many of them operate….

 a focus on revenue transparency is long overdue…..Relying on companies to do the right thing is not enough. These initiatives will send a positive international signal, 

Timely move to make miners more responsible for damage they cause, The Age Andrew Hewett October 28, 2011 Poor countries can expect greater control of mining companies.  With two-thirds of the world’s poorest people living in resource-rich countries, too often the extraction of those resources contributes to poverty, corruption and conflict. Australian mining companies have become embroiled in damaging behaviour far from our shores and attention.

This week at CHOGM, the federal government announced initiatives aimed at ensuring the mining sector is better able to contribute to community and social development, and the responsible management of taxes and royalties paid by mining companies to governments, in Australia and overseas. Continue reading

October 28, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, uranium | Leave a comment

Labor must retain sensible policy not to sell uranium to India

28 Oct  PERTH: The Australian Conservation Foundation has called on the Labor Party to keep its policy not to export uranium to India while India refuses to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

 “The Labor Party has a long-standing, prudent and sensible policy of not supplying uranium to countries that will not sign the international nuclear non-proliferation treaty,” said ACF nuclear free campaigner Dave Sweeney.

“The non-proliferation treaty, while imperfect, remains a key international legal mechanism in restricting the spread of nuclear weapons technology. “Uranium is a dual-use fuel – it can be used in reactors and it can be used to power the world’s worst weapons.

“Australia, as a significant global uranium supplier, has a responsibility to acknowledge that India is a nuclear-armed state that obtained its weapons capacity in breach of international commitments. “Adding Australian uranium to the mix would not ease the long standing tensions between India and its nuclear-armed neighbours or improve the effectiveness of the global nuclear safeguards regime. “There is no compelling or convincing reason for Labor to change its policy.”

ACF opposes uranium sales to nuclear weapons states and has long campaigned for Australia to phase out uranium mining and exports, including to Russia, China and India.

October 28, 2011 Posted by | General News, uranium | Leave a comment

India does not need Australia’s uranium, says Kevin Rudd

Oz ban on uranium sale not holding up India’s N-programme:Rudd, IBN Live, From Natasha Chaku Melbourne, Oct 27 (PTI) Australia’s ban on uranium sale to India was not holding back its civil nuclear programme as the country was not exclusively dependent on supplies from here, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said today. The ruling Australian Labor Party (ALP) refuses to permit sale of uranium to India on the ground that the country is not a signatory to the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty. The issue is expected to be a topic of discussion on the sidelines of this week’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth.

Rudd said India and Australia shared a strong relationship despite their differences on uranium, AAP reported. “Each of you go back home and work out where India currently sources its uranium from around the world,” he told reporters when asked about the issue. “There is no problem in global supply. Let’s just be very, very blunt about this. If you hear an argument from an Indian business person that the future of the civil nuclear industry in India depends exclusively on access to Australian uranium – that is simply not sustainable as a proposition.” …..

October 28, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, uranium | Leave a comment

Pressure on Kevin Rudd to join Australia’s nuclear marketing men

Rudd targeted in push to sell uranium to India, The Age, Michelle Grattan, October 28, 2011 PRESSURE is
mounting on Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd to join the strong push to change ALP policy to allow uranium sales to India. The uranium debate is shaping up as a major issue for the December ALP national conference, with Resources Minister Martin Ferguson urging a change of policy……

Last night, Australian Workers Union chief Paul Howes backed change, saying if there was a debate at the national conference, he would argue for sales to India… Mr Ferguson and Mr Rudd yesterday appeared together at a mining breakfast in Perth….

Mr Rudd is in a difficult position on the issue because of his strong support for the nuclear non-proliferation treaty…..

Mr Howes said … the non-proliferation treaty was a ”rubbish treaty’

‘…….Read more:

October 28, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, uranium | Leave a comment

India’s nuclear power programme halted as safety concerns increase

Admitting problems, the federal Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has said there could be a delay in the two projects.
Meanwhile, the state government of West Bengal state has refused permission to a proposed 6000 MW facility near the town of Haripur that intended to host six Russian reactors. ..

 activists and experts have called for an audit by an independent body. They say that given the non-transparent nature of India’s state-controlled nuclear energy sector – there is no way to estimate whether safety issues will be carefully followed

India’s Rising Nuclear safety Concerns , Asia Sentinel, Siddharth Srivastava, 27 Oct 11, Concerns about safety of nuclear power plants (NPPs) are threateningIndia’s massive investment plans in the sector..

Post the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan populations around proposed Indian NPP sites have launched protests that are now finding resonance around the country, raising questions about atomic energy as a clean and safe alternative to fossil fuels. Continue reading

October 28, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sydney’s Western suburbs don’t want Hunter’s Hill radioactive uranium waste

Uranium plant waste unwelcome in western suburbs, SMH, Ben Cubby, October 26, 2011 THE state government will face tough local opposition if it intends to take contaminated waste from a radioactive site in Hunters Hill and bury it at Kemps Creek in the city’s west.

It conceded at a budget estimates hearing this week that Kemps Creek was the only viable option if 5800 tonnes of mildly radioactive dirt and rock were to be removed from the site of a former uranium-processing plant.

The waste cannot be taken overseas or interstate, but Penrith City Council remains firmly opposed to the plan, which was first floated under the previous state government. Documents produced last year showed waste was to be placed in sealed trucks and driven to Kemps Creek, and warned that protests against the operation were likely to take place in western Sydney……

Hunters Hill Council wants the site cleaned up and the earth removed but does not want to simply transfer the problem to another part of Sydney. The land, on Nelson Parade, was the site of a radium smelter between 1911 and 1916. About 500 tonnes of uranium ore were processed at the plant and radioactive tailings are still mixed in with soil.

At least six people who have lived on or next door to the site have died of cancer, but there is no proven link between elevated levels of radiation on the site and health problems.


October 28, 2011 Posted by | New South Wales, politics, uranium, wastes | Leave a comment

Renewable energy in Australia is up against anti science Tea Party style thinking

As in the U.S., Australian conservative parties have been the target of a take over by self-styled Tea Party radicals in recent years…

Conservatives are increasingly led by a more shrill, less educated set, who are more likely to be small business owners or from the resource sector. To these climate denialists, renewable energy is part of a global conspiracy to destroy prosperity and Western values. ..

Unsurprisingly, some think tanks on the conservative side of politics are now linked with the notorious climate denial and astroturf efforts of the Koch brothers.

In Australia, Can Renewable Energy Get Over the Tea Party Blues?, Renewable Energy World, By Dan Cass , October 27, 2011 Australia’s government is trying to initiate a new era of clean energy and facing such powerful opposition that some renewables companies that will benefit from the policy are scared to proactively campaign for it.

The debate around Australia’s new Clean Energy Future legislation has seen conservative parties here — as in the USA — take a stance that is not just oppositional, but dangerously radical. They now oppose traditional conservative measures such as carbon trading and corrections to market failure and a substantial minority are vocally anti-science. Continue reading

October 28, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment