Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Few Australians aware of the environmental disaster that will be Olympic Dam uranium mine

The project was vigorously opposed from the start by both the local Arabunna and Kokatha peoples …..

 The mining operations are expected to produce 8 million litres of radioactive tailings every day – which will eventually leach into local aquifers – and will create 9 billion tons of radioactive waste that will need to be monitored for the next 10,000 years,

Virtually every adult Australian citizen was aware of the “carbon tax” …Very few, however, were aware that at much the same time, a project had been set into motion that made a complete mockery of any pretensions to act in a an environmentally responsible manner.

Learning To Shine Through The Ruins, By Vincent Di Stefano, 30 October, 2011,Countercurrents.org   “…….Despite the fact that the Chernobyl melt-down 25 years ago has already cost nearly a million lives , and despite the fact that hot Strontium from the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant has been detected on the rooftops of houses in Yokohama 250 kilometers away, the nuclear industry, together with its marketing arm, the International Atomic Energy Commission continues to aggressively pursue their deadly interests.

On October 10th 2011 , both the Australian Federal Government and the South Australian Government obligingly rubber-stamped a massive industrial development at the Olympic Dam mine complex at Roxby Downs in South Australia that will, over the next 10 years, see an additional 19,000 tons of uranium oxide (yellow cake) produced annually for export every year. Australia already exports over 10,000 tons of yellow cake every year.

This mammoth project will result in the creation of the world’s largest open-pit mining operation. It is projected that immense quantities of copper, silver, gold and uranium will be extracted using energy-intensive methods for the next seventy years . South Australian Mineral Resources Minister Tom Koutsantonis has described the project as “the largest undertaking in mining in human history.”

The expansion of the Olympic Dam mine will require massive infrastructure changes that include the construction of a new town to house the additional 10,000 workers needed for the project, a new gas-fired power-plant and additional electricity transmission lines from Port Augusta 270 kms away to power the project, a new airport, and a new 105 km long rail line to link the complex to the national rail network. Also slated is the construction of a new desalination plant in the Spencer Gulf and 320 kilometres of pipeline through which desalinated water will be pumped to the new mining complex.

The project was vigorously opposed from the start by both the local Arabunna and Kokatha peoples for whom the area has long been revered as a sacred site, and byenvironmental groups concerned about the destructive consequences of the project. In addition to the water pumped from the proposed new desalination plant, the project will require a further 42 million litres of ground water to be drawn daily from the Great Artesian Basin . The mining operations are expected to produce 8 million litres of radioactive tailings every day – which will eventually leach into local aquifers – and will create 9 billion tons of radioactive waste that will need to be monitored for the next 10,000 years, And like the monstrous Alberta tar sands project, huge amounts of greenhouse gases will continue to be produced through the coming decades .

On October 12th 2011 , two days after the decision to approve expansion of the Olympic Dam mine, environmental commentators around the world applauded the triumphal passage in the Australian Parliament of the highly disputed Clean Energy Bill or “carbon tax.” This bill has the ambitious aim of reducing carbon emissions in Australia by a miserable 5% by 2020.

Virtually every adult Australian citizen was aware of the “carbon tax” due to the rancorous opposition to its passage by the Liberal Party and its leader, Tony Abbott. Very few, however, were aware that at much the same time, a project had been set into motion that made a complete mockery of any pretensions to act in a an environmentally responsible manner. Like Canada and the US , Australia has enthusiastically embraced the suicidal ethos of industrial development at all costs and joined the horde of lemmings rushing towards the abyss….

http://www.countercurrents.org/stefano301011.htm

October 31, 2011 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, uranium

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