Australian news, and some related international items

Australia: nuclear news wrap up for the week

Radioactive waste Still the most important news – still the one not covered by the media – the Senate now ganging up to shut up Scott Ludlam -lone voice against the National Radioactive Waste Management Bill –  it was tabled for discussion in  cynical timing – as the nation watched the  Gillard-Rudd soap opera.

Federal politics Rumour has it that Gillard will punish the pro Rudd politicians.  What a good idea it would be – to sack Martin Ferguson from the Ministry! Meanwhile the new vacancy in the Senate could result in the arrival of a Pro Nuclear Aborigine, Warren Mundine

Uranium industry South Australia As the anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster  approaches, the uranium lobby bravely touts its economic future, in the face of ever downward share price trend.  The South Australian Mineral Resources Minister Tom Koutsantonis  puts a bold face on it – praises the uranium industry, but declaring the nuclear industry “uneconomic”.

And – we silly public – we thought that South Australia saved Arkaroola Wilderness from uranium mining, because they cared about the environment!   Not  a bit of it.  Koutsantonis  explains that it was because the government didn’t want young anti uranium protestors disrupting uranium mining conferences.

Arkaroola’s protection from uranium mining passed into law, – even if it was done for the wrong reasons by the South Australian government

Lynas Australian rare earths company The world, especially South East Asia watches, as the first entry of things nuclear is attempted by the Australian rare earths company, Lynas. If Lynas can get its project going, with no plan for disposing of the radioactive wastes, well, nuclear companies will be ready to follow suit.   But Lynas is not the only Ugly Australian company abroad. Paladin uranium’s bad record in Africa is just one amongst the sad reality of white Western  miners exploiting African people and environment.

Greens call for uranium to be included in the mineral resources rent tax (MRRT).   Renewable energy ups and downs. In Victoria, Baillieu government is unconcerned, as its anti wind farm policy drives investment away.

February 29, 2012 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

As Radioactive Waste Bill progresses, pro nuclear Warren Mundine is worst choice for Senator

Australians who care about country generally look up to Aboriginals  – so many of them fight the good fight for the environment.  Communally, as tribe members they have worked to preserve their land and water.  Individually, there are heroes –  Laurie Baymarrwangga, Dianne Stokes, Kevin Buzzacott, Peter Watts, Jeffrey Lee, Michael Anderson, …

But, Aboriginals, at the end of it all, are only people.  And some, such as Warren Mundine,  are not among those heroes, but have, regrettably, become so white-ised that they could fit comfortably in Michael Moore’s book – Stupid White Males.

Warren Mundine fits comfortably into the corporate white push to quarry – ise Australia, in his position as a Director of the Australian Uranium Institute.

The Australian Senate is now about to rubber stamp the National Radioactive Waste Management Bill  – which will impose a high level nuclear waste dump on Aboriginal land.

For Australians who care about country –  Warren Mundine is the last person who should become a Senator.

Labor anger over Warren Mundine Senate push BY: BEN PACKHAM  The Australian February 29, 2012 “…..There would be a “Melbourne Cup field” contesting the seat, The Australian Online was told today, and Mr Mundine’s succession of media interviews in recent days had not helped his prospects.

“Warren going to the media was the dumbest thing he could have done,” a party source said.

The possible candidacy of Mr Mundine, a former ALP national president, has been welcomed by fellow Aboriginal leaders, who say he could lift Labor’s indigenous policy credentials. Mr Mundine has promised an announcement on his candidacy today.

He told The Australian he would be a “team player” if selected for the post. Mr Mundine is still considered a frontrunner for the Senate vacancy, along with with Lowy Institute program director Michael Fullilove.

February 29, 2012 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

South Australia happy to flog off uranium – but says nuclear power’s no good

Uranium industry in major turnaround, Adelaide Now by: TIM DORNIN   AAP February 29, 2012  AUSTRALIA has no need for nuclear power and no licence from society to develop it, South Australian Mineral Resources Minister Tom Koutsantonis says.

The minister says he fully supports uranium mining in SA but not nuclear power. “The truth is, you need a social licence to operate, and there is not a social licence for nuclear power,” Mr Koutsantonis told a uranium

“The Australian public don’t want it. “I don’t think it’s economic, I don’t think it’s viable, and I don’t think it’s politically saleable.”

February 29, 2012 Posted by | politics, South Australia | | Leave a comment

Robot finds high Fukushima reactor radiation – humans can’t enter.

Robot detects high radiation levels at Fukushima Daiichi plant, Mainichi Daily News, 29 Feb 12, TOKYO (Kyodo)– A remotely operated robot has detected high radiation levels of up to 220 millisieverts per hour at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant’s No. 2 reactor building, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Tuesday.

The Japanese-made Quince 2 robot, which began checking radiation levels on Monday, was exposed to 153 millisieverts of radiation in just less than three hours of operation, according to the utility.

“It is difficult for a human being to go inside and do work,” a Tokyo Electric official said of conditions inside the reactor building, adding that the humidity inside is also high at around 70 percent….

February 29, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Adelaide uranium conference disrupted by anti nuclear protestors

Protesters disrupt uranium conference THE AUSTRALIAN   AAP February 28, 2012  ANTI-NUCLEAR protesters have disrupted a uranium conference in Adelaide, with the small group calling for a halt to uranium mining.

A lone protester wearing white protective overalls and a mask stood at the back of the Paydirt conference during opening speeches today and called for SA’s uranium to be left in the ground. He said South Australians did not want the waste generated by uranium mining. Several others joined him chanting similar slogans before being
removed as SA Mineral Resources Minister Tom Koutsantonis completed his address.

Mr Koutsantonis said the State Government strongly supported the development of the state’s uranium resources, including the world’s largest deposit at Olympic Dam. But he also maintained the Government’s decision to ban all
exploration, including the search for uranium, in the environmentally sensitive Arkaroola Sanctuary in the Flinders Rangers was the right one….

…   If we had not banned mining in Arkaroola, I think this room would have been full of young protesters,” Mr Koutsantonis said. “I think we would have galvanised a whole generation against uranium mining.”

February 29, 2012 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, South Australia | , | Leave a comment

Historic day as Arkaroola finally gets permanent protection

The Upper House of State Parliament has just passed a Bill to permanently protect from mining the iconic mountains of Arkaroola in the State’s far North. The legal protection is the culmination of a long-running community and Greens campaign to ensure this magnificent part of our State is no longer threatened by damaging mining activity.

“This is a wonderful, historic day,” said Greens Parliamentary leader Mark Parnell. “It’s taken a long time, but finally a law has been passed that ensures the permanent protection of the world famous mountains of Arkaroola.

“If a future Government wants to let the miners back in they will have to over-turn this Act of Parliament.  I am totally confident that this will never happen. “It is wonderful that all sides of politics have finally accepted what the Greens have been arguing all along: that some places are simply too precious to mine,” he said.

In passing the Bill, the Greens moved 2 successful amendments to ensure appropriate consultation with the traditional owners from the Adnyamathanha people over the management of the land. “As this is such an important piece of legislation, it is vital we get it right and ensure that all traditional owners have a say in how Arkaroola will be managed,” said Mr Parnell.

“The Greens have been very proud to stand alongside the Sprigg Family, Adnyamathanha Elders and the many passionate environmental and heritage campaigners from across the state and across the world who have fought to protect this precious place.“They can all be very proud of what they have achieved,” he said.

February 29, 2012 Posted by | politics, South Australia | | Leave a comment

India’s nuclear dream hides the nightmare of cancer in India’s nuclear workers

After being in denial for years, last month the selfsame Department of Atomic Energy for the first time admitted that the deaths of its employees and their dependents at the Kalpakkam nuclear site were caused by multiple myeloma, a rare form of bone marrow cancer linked to nuclear radiation. 
Not that the DAE willingly divulged the information – it came to light in response to a Right to Information (RTI) inquiry from October 2011, … one can only wonder what other reports the DAE is sitting on

The Darker Reality of India’s Nuclear Power Goals, By John Daly  26 February 2012 India is betting heavily on nuclear power to meet its surging energy needs. While India currently has six nuclear power plants (NPPs) with 20 reactors generating 4,780 megawatts, seven other reactors are under construction and are expected to generate an additional 5,300 megawatts.

This current rate of nuclear power generation pales into insignificance with New Delhi’s future plans, Continue reading

February 29, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Government’s snap decision to close solar rebate scheme will damage this emerging export industry

Australia to Close Renewable Energy Bonus Scheme on June 30 Bloomberg By Jason Scott – Feb 27, 2012 Australia’s Renewable Energy Bonus Scheme, which has provided more than A$320 million in incentives for households to switch to more energy-efficient hot-water systems, will close June 30, the parliamentary secretary for Climate Change and
Energy Efficiency, Mark Dreyfus, said today in a statement.

Solar scheme axed to meet budget: Greens, THE AUSTRALIAN  AAP February 29, 2012  THE Australian Greens have accused the Gillard government of closing a household solar rebate scheme to help it deliver a surplus in the May

The renewable energy bonus scheme, which provided a $1000 rebate for a solar hot water system and $600 for a heat pump, was closed abruptly late yesterday.

While the scheme closes at the end of June, only those who had paid a deposit by yesterday were now eligible for the rebate.

The industry had hoped the scheme would be extended, after the government allocated $24.5 million towards it in budget forward estimates for 2012/13.

Greens Senator Christine Milne accused the government of cutting costs so it could achieve its promised budget surplus. It was “a ridiculous idea” that in order to meet a political imperative, the government was jeopardising local manufacturers who were building export markets in the new low carbon economy.

Senator Milne said the decision would put enormous pressure on manufacturers such as Rheem, which employed about 1200 people around Australia. “They are already under pressure because of the high Australian
dollar,” she told reporters in Canberra.

February 29, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Queensland helping Japanese farmers whose land is radioactive farmers use Australian land to grow rice, AUDIO  Radio Australia l 28 February 2012  Japanese farmers affected by last year’s nuclear disaster are using farming land in Australia’s north-eastern state of Queensland to grow produce. Rice crops are being trialed in areas better known for cane just south of Townsville, with funding from the Queensland Government.

The Fukushima Farm project aims to produce a small amount of rice this year with the initial harvest in three months. Roger Kaus from the Queensland Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, says the trial will help farmers in Japan and there’ll be a benefit for growers in the Burdekin too….

February 29, 2012 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Medical specialists warn against overuse of whole body CT scanning

Study: ED CT protocol linked with excess rad exposure Cardioavascular Business 28 Feb 12, The introduction of a whole-body panscan CT protocol for blunt trauma in the emergency department (ED) raised the proportion of patients exposed to more than 20 mSv of radiation by 8 percent, according to a study published in the February issue of Emergency Medicine Australasia.

Given the increasing use of whole-body CT scans, coupled with heightened concerns about radiation exposure, Stephen Asha, MD, of the emergency department at St. George Hospital in Sydney, Australia, and colleagues sought to measure the proportion of patients exposed to radiation dose in excess of 20 mSv before and after the introduction of a panscan protocol for blunt trauma. The researchers also aimed to quantify missed injuries before and after the introduction of the

..It is not clear that this increased risk of exposure to a higher radiation dose was offset by a clinical benefit,” Asha et al
wrote…. The researchers concluded by emphasizing that the increased risk of exposure to a radiation dose in excess of 20 mSv was similar regardless of age or injury severity.

February 29, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health | Leave a comment