Australian news, and some related international items

Look out, New South Wales, the uranium economic downward plunge beckons!

Look out – New South Wales residents!  You thought coal seam gas exploration was a threat?  And it probably is.

But now, your government, in its unwisdom, is going to allow uranium exploration.

The yellow area shows the area of uranium mineralisation in New South Wales.

Very handy, I suppose, to where some of Ziggy Switkowski’s 50 nuclear reactors will supposedly be positioned.

South Australia is going to go down the economic drain, for its  drive for all things nuclear.  Meanwhile, what with Paladin Uranium  looking like going broke, and the nuclear industry winding down, – Does New South Wales want to join this plunge? – Christina Macpherson

GOVERNMENT TAKES STEP TOWARDS URANIUM MINING Lee Jeloscek, 7 News Sydney February 14, A map drawn up by the government and reported on by 7News shows a large swath of land from north western town of Bourke stretching down past Canberra to the Victorian border could be explored for the resource.

February 15, 2012 Posted by | Christina reviews, New South Wales, politics, uranium | Leave a comment

Australian uranium mining company makes dramatic loss, and share price fall

Paladin’s annus horribilis worsens, The Age, Peter Ker February 15, 2012 URANIUM miner Paladin Energy has managed to underwhelm the market yet again, despite the worst aspects of yesterday’s $US120.2 million loss being known for several months.
Investors wiped more than 5 per cent off the value of the stock … The loss was largely due to a $US133 million write-down on the value of Paladin’s Kayelekera mine in Malawi. Paladin revealed the write-down to the market late last year. …

the market was not impressed. Analysts at Goldman Sachs said the result was worse than expected, and by the close of trading 10¢ had been shaved off Paladin’s share price, taking it to $1.70 – dramatically lower than the $5.40 it was fetching less than a year
Some of the negativity appeared to be linked to ballooning expenses, despite chief executive John Borshoff cutting his own pay by 25 per cent and reducing exploration in an effort to rein in costs.
From $US31 a pound in the first half of 2010, Paladin’s costs rose to $US34 a pound in the six months to December 31, and costs at the Kayelekera mine were as high as $US46 a pound in the final quarter of last year.

February 15, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment

Responses to New South Wales government new policy on uranium mining

 O’Farrell’s 180 degrees on uranium a toxic turn,Senator Scott Ludlam,  February 14th, 2012. The New South Wales Government appears poised to commit a random act of colossal stupidity, following reports that the NSW Cabinet will move to overturn the state’s 26-year uranium ban. Greens spokesperson on nuclear affairs Senator Scott Ludlam said Premier Barry O’Farrell should stick to the position he held before being lobbied by the uranium industry and Federal ALP minister Martin Ferguson.

“In August 2011 it was revealed that resources minister and nuclear fanatic Martin Ferguson had urged Premier O’Farrell to lift the ban and the Australian Uranium Association had lobbied state resources and energy minister Chris Hartcher to do their dirty work. Asked in parliament if the government was considering lifting the ban, the Premier said no.”

“Uranium mining in the Northern Territory has a long and sorry history. More than forty years after Rum Jungle’s closure, the Federal Government recently committed eight million dollars over four years just for an attempt to figure out how to clean up the mess.

“Australian uranium was used in every reactor at Fukushima. Why would the O’Farrell Government want New South Wales to be complicit in the next disaster?”

Nuke South Wales? Uranium plan is unsafe and unwelcome, Dave Sweeney, AUSTRALIAN CONSERVATION FOUNDATION 15 February 2012  State government plans to open the door to the uranium mining in NSW are ill-considered and out of step with community opinion, the Australian Conservation Foundation said today.

“Premier Barry O’Farrell has not taken his uranium u-turn to the NSW community, because he knows it would be deeply unpopular,” said ACF nuclear free campaigner Dave Sweeney. “The uranium industry is unsafe, unclean and unwelcome in NSW. “For the NSW government to open the door to uranium mining now is like taking up smoking at thirty: it would bring high risk, little joy and it’s completely unnecessary.”

The last independent assessment of the Australian uranium industry – a 2003 Senate Inquiry – found the sector is characterised by underperformance and non-compliance, an absence of reliable data to measure the extent of contamination or its impact on the environment and an operational culture that gives greater weight to short term considerations than long term environmental protection.

The Senate report concluded that the uranium industry in Australia had to change to protect the environment and its inhabitants from ‘serious or irreversible damage’. “In the shadow of the first anniversary of the continuing Fukushima nuclear crisis – which was fuelled by Australian uranium – we need to move away from this controversial and contaminating industry, not open the door to more environmental and community threat,” Dave Sweeney said.  “The Premier lacks a mandate to mine.  This poorly considered policy reversal will be actively contested.”

NSW’s  peak environment group condemns Government green light for toxic impacts of uranium mining February 15th 2012  The state’s peak environment group, the Nature Conservation Council of NSW, has strongly condemned Premier O’Farrell’s decision to overturn a 26‐year ban on uranium exploration in NSW.

“The O’Farrell government’s uranium exploration proposal leaves our local communities and our environment exposed to serious pollution risks and a persistent legacy of toxic waste,” Chief Executive Officer Pepe Clarke said today.

“Uranium mining consumes enormous volumes of water, contaminates groundwater and leaves behind a
legacy of radioactive mine waste, placing workers, local communities and the environment at risk.

“Less than one year after the tragic nuclear accident at Fukushima in Japan, it is incomprehensible that the O’Farrell government is planning to overturn a 26‐year ban on this dangerous, polluting industry….

February 15, 2012 Posted by | uranium | Leave a comment

NSW people don’t want the uranium industry

Opposition lashes O’Farrell’s plan to overturn NSW ban on uranium exploration,  THE AUSTRALIAN, AAP, February 15, 2012   THE NSW opposition has criticised a plan to overturn the state’s decades-old ban on uranium exploration….. Opposition Leader John Robertson said voters don’t support the industry. “The people of NSW didn’t vote for it and they don’t want it,” he said in a statement. “Only months ago the Premier categorically ruled out uranium mining and exploration in NSW – now it is on for young and old.”

Greenpeace campaigner Julien Vincent called the expected announcement an “insult”….. “Next month we are marking the first anniversary of nuclear disaster in Fukushima, which is one of the best reasons for not going nuclear,” he added.

Australian Greens nuclear affairs spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam added: “Australian uranium was used in every reactor at Fukushima. “Why would the O’Farrell government want New South Wales to be complicit in the next disaster?”

Uranium mining is banned in Queensland but allowed in Western Australia and South Australia.

… Just days before that vote Australian Workers’ Union secretary Paul Howes called on states that don’t allow uranium mining to overturn their bans.

February 15, 2012 Posted by | New South Wales, politics, uranium | Leave a comment

Rare aggressive brain cancers in medical specialists exposed to ionising radiation

‘Cardiologists exposed to radiation susceptible to tumors’, Jerusalem Post, By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH02/15/2012  Israelis publish evidence of brain cancer as occupational hazard for certain medical specialists.

Interventional cardiologists around the world have expressed concern over the findings of an Israeli colleague’s medical journal report suggesting aggressive brain cancer – especially on the left side of the head – may be an occupationalhazard from their exposure to ionizing radiation. Continue reading

February 15, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Uranium industry leading South Australia to economic disaster

FORMER Australian ambassador Richard Broinowski feels sorry for South Australia because of its uranium industry. CHRISTOPHER RUSSELL Business Editor , AdelaideNow , February 14, 2012 In a rowdy lecture at UniSA’s Hawke Centre, Mr Broinowski said the days of the industry were numbered following the Fukushima disaster.

This would directly affect SA with its three mines at Olympic Dam, Beverley and Honeymoon. “I’m very sorry for SA,” he said. “You’ve got a Premier who wants this, who sees dollar signs flashing before his eyes.”

Mr Broinowski, a former ambassador to South Korea and to Vietnam, is now an adjunct professor at the University of Sydney.

He declared himself to be a member of the anti-nuclear industry and in a lecture to about 150 people at the Hawke Centre on Monday night, gave a taste of a book he is writing on Fukushima and its political fallout. He predicts the collapse of the nuclear industry in Japan within ten years.

The end was nigh even though Japanese prime minister Yoshihiko Noda did not have the same “fire in the belly” to close the nuclear industry as predecessor Naoto Kan who was in charge at the time of earthquake and tsunami disaster.

“The Japanese have turned the corner,” Mr Broinowski said. “There’s going to be change.
“… The nuclear industry in Japan has a short life. I give it 10 years before there is a dimunition.  A lot of reactors are not going to go back on-line, no new ones are going to be built and the ones which will be allowed to come back online will done grudgingly and simply as part of the mix to get over the interregnum until they go to renewables.”

Japan’s position, coupled with the stance of Germany where there is also a political decision to phase out the nuclear industry, would show the world the power source was unnecessary, he said……

February 15, 2012 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Geoscientists predict more large earthquakes in Fukushima area

Big quake risk said greater at Fukushima  Outcome Magazine, TOKYO, Feb. 14 (UPI) — The risk of strong earthquakes at the Fukushima nuclear plant increased after the magnitude-9 tremor that hit Japan last March, scientists report.

A study using data from more than 6,000 earthquakes shows the March 11, 2011, tremor caused a seismic fault close to the nuclear plant to reactivate, a release from the European Geosciences Union said Tuesday. “There are a few active faults in the nuclear power plant area, and our results show the existence of similar structural anomalies under both the Iwaki and the Fukushima Daiichi areas,” study leader Dapeng Zhao, a geophysics professor at Japan’s Tohoku University, said.

The number of earthquakes in Iwaki increased greatly after the March earthquake, he said. “Given that a large earthquake occurred in Iwaki not long ago, we think it is possible for a similarly strong earthquake to happen in Fukushima,” Zhao said….

February 15, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australian research: solar heat + power, plus energy efficiency

Australian Made Solar Roofing Panels Provide Heat And Power by Energy Matters, 14 Feb 2012,  In an effort to bring Australia in line with an international zero-emissions building code, researchers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) are working on a system to better harness the power of solar energy to generate electricity and heating for homes.

A prototype rooftop solar power system developed by UNSW’s School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Engineering (SPREE) that combines photovoltaics with thermal technology has demonstrated the ability to produce warm air throughout winter.

Unlike conventional PV systems with solar cells mounted on top of the roof of a house, the UNSW technology is designed to be integrated into roofing panels, allowing excess heat generated by the panels – which would otherwise be wasted – to warm the home.

The research is part of a series of ‘carbon-positive’ products that will be tested and further developed by the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Low-Carbon Living at UNSW later this year; aimed at bringing Australia in line with Europe and the UK, which plan to introduce a zero-carbon building code in 2016. Professor Deo Prasad, head of the CRC, says when it comes to lowering Australia’s carbon footprint, the biggest savings can be made in energy efficient buildings.

“The built environment is responsible for 40 per cent of energy use and Australia’s homes account for 16.5 per cent of our emissions in electricity use alone, without accounting for energy embodied during the production and disposal of building materials.”…..

February 15, 2012 Posted by | New South Wales, solar | | 1 Comment

Over a million renewable energy jobs in Europe – solar the top earner

1 Million Plus Renewable Energy Jobs In Europe, by Energy Matters  15 Feb 12, The European renewable energy sector had more than a million people employed by the end of 2010 according to the recently released EurObserv’ER report, “The State of Renewable Energies in Europe”.

All 27 European Union member states had over 1,114,000 people employed in various renewable energy fields in 2010, a jump of 25% on 2009 figures.

The biggest employer was solid biomass at 273,000 jobs, followed by photovoltaic solar (268,110), then and wind power with over a quarter of a million jobs.
With the photovoltaic sector booming in 2010, a 50% increase in jobs in countries such as Germany and France occurred. In Italy, job numbers increased by over 70%.
Other key findings in the report in relation to renewable energy in 2010:
– Share of gross final energy consumption: 12.4% in 2010 (11.5% in 2009)
· Share in total electricity consumption: 19.8% in 2010 (18.2% in 2009)
· Share of gross inland energy consumption: 9.9% in 2010 (9.1% in 2009)
· Employment: 1.11 million people in 2010 (0.91 million in 2009)
· Related economic activity: 127 billion euro (120 billion euro in 2009)

With sales of 45564 million euro in Europe’s markets in 2010, solar eclipsed wind power as the top earner.

The report points out that 16,700 MWp of photovoltaics were installed in 2010 around the world, bringing the global installed PV capacity to 38,700 MWp. Of this amount, over three quarters is installed in Europe. Nearly 89% of European solar electricity output is focused in just three countries – Germany, Spain and Italy.

February 15, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments