Australian news, and some related international items

New South Wales: road workers made sick by ionising radiation?

 Workers sick amid highway radiation scare April 18, 2012    Road workers were sent for medical treatment after vomiting when suspected nuclear material was unearthed during work on an upgrade to the Pacific Highway on the mid-north coast of New South Wales The materials, which include caesium, were buried north of Port Macquarie after a truck carrying radioactive isotopes from Sydney’s Lucas Heights nuclear reactor crashed in the area in 1980.

The isotopes were being taken to Brisbane, before being shipped to the United States. The upgrade’s project manager, Bob Higgins, says road workers fell ill after unearthing a strange clay-like material.

“As we’ve taken down the cutting there we exposed the face of the existing material (and) came across a clay material that when it’s exposed to air it gets an orange streak through it,” he said. “There were a number of workers that felt a little bit of nausea and there was a bit of vomiting when they were in close proximity. “[They went] off to the doctor, but obviously we need to be extremely careful here.”

The Environmental Impact Statement for the highway upgrade had noted some uncertainty about where exactly the containers were buried. Specialists are in the area assessing what to do with the radioactive materials, and if they pose any risk.

April 18, 2012 Posted by | New South Wales, safety | Leave a comment

Radioactive transport accident New South Wales 1980

Let the Facts Speak: 1980, December 4 PORT MACQUARIE, AUSTRALIA
An accident near Port Macquarie involved a truck carrying a 60-litre drum labelled ‘danger radioactive – Americium 241’, plus a smaller container labeled ‘Caesium 137’ and foodstuffs. When Sydney police called the Atomic Energy Commission at Lucas Heights for advice, they were told to call back later ‘when the AEC opens’. Dr. John McKay of Port Macquarie claimed that 16 people who attended the accident are suffering from symptoms of radioactive poisoning.

Dr. McKay has accused the AEC of a cover-up regarding the dangers of the accident, and has claimed that this lack of concern may endanger the 8,000 people in nearby Laurieton if radiation poisons the town’s water supply. The NSW Minister for Public Health accused Dr. McKay of ‘causing public mischief’. The Minister said the Health Commission report had found that, although the protective containers of the radioactive material were damaged, both were considered to be safe with no spillage or leakage of radioactivity.
Sydney Morning Herald – 16 April 1981; Canberra Times – 11 March 1981; WISE Vol.3 No.3 June/July 1981 p.16; Canberra Times – 11 March 1981

April 18, 2012 Posted by | history, New South Wales | Leave a comment

According to Queensland Premier, uranium mining not a goer there

Uranium not an option: expert Cairns Post,  Naomi Hockins 17 April 12, A LEADING conservationist who will address a sustainability conference in Cairns today says he’s had reassurance from Premier Campbell Newman that uranium mining will not go ahead in Queensland.
Australian Conservation Foundation president Ian Lowe, the keynote speaker at today’s sold-out Reinventing
Progress conference, said he hoped the Premier would hold true to the commitment.
He said a statement made by Campbell Newman in February said the LNP “have no plans to approve the development of uranium in Queensland was “clear in black and white”. “It would be a massive breach of faith if he were to water down that commitment,” Prof Lowe said. “It’s not a clean, sustainable energy source and it would be disappointing if he retracted.”

Prof Lowe, who lives on the Sunshine Coast, has been educating Cairns on sustainability since 1977, when he gave
a lecture on Australia’s energy options. He said governments and businesses have to accept sustainability has to be factored into all decision-making. “The UN high-level panel reported earlier this year that the fundamental problem most governments have is that they still see (sustainability) as an option,” he said. “The penny has dropped – ordinary people understand the future has to be substantially different.”

April 18, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

It looks as if the Northern Territory govt will allow uranium mining in water catchment area!

Exploration in dam catchment NIGEL ADLAM   |  April 18th, 2012 TEN mining exploration licences have been granted in the water catchment for a possible new dam. Resources Minister Kon Vatskalis denied any of the licences had been issued specifically for uranium. “Rather the authorisation allows the holder to undertake exploration within a specific area,” he said.

The licences are in the catchment for Warrai Dam, 8km upstream from Adelaide River township, 100km south of Darwin.
Power and Water Corporation boss Andrew Macrides said the $500 million dam may not have to be built for at least 20 years – and possibly not at all.

April 18, 2012 Posted by | Northern Territory, uranium, water | | Leave a comment

Tony Abbott will not be able to destroy the Clean Energy Finance Corporation

Abbott-proof fence around clean-energy funds, The Age, David Wroe April 18, 2012 THE Gillard government will fireproof its $10 billion green technology fund against an attack from any future Coalition government by forcing Tony Abbott to repeal legislation in order to shut down the flow of money.
Ensuring its clean energy policies are carved in stone even if it loses next year’s election, Labor indicated yesterday that the funding for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation would be ”specifically appropriated” in legislation to be introduced to Parliament next month. Continue reading

April 18, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics | Leave a comment

Reserve Bank board member Broadbent urges Australia to catch up on renewable energy

Australia must act on climate change – Broadbent, THE AUSTRALIAN, AAP April 18, 2012  AUSTRALIA’S economy will be “very vulnerable” if it does not act on climate change, says Reserve Bank of Australia board member Jillian Broadbent.

The comment follows the Federal Government’s release yesterday of her independent review of its Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), which will offer up to $10 billion to companies in the renewable energy sector struggling to secure capital.

Ms Broadbent says Australia risks being left behind in the global shift toward renewable energy and carbon reductions.
“If we’re not ready for it, it’s going to be a significant cost to us in the long-term,” she told ABC Radio today. “Early action towards the transformation to cleaner energy minimises the ultimate cost and the destruction to the economy.
“No action leaves us very vulnerable.”…….

April 18, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australian Government set to launch Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC)

$10b fund for renewable energy firms   AAP April 17, 2012 COMPANIES involved in renewable energy will soon be able to tap into a $10 billion federal pool. The Gillard government released today an independent review into the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), which is due to start operating from July 2013.

The government accepted all recommendations made by the review.

The CEFC will provide $10 billion worth of financing to companies involved in renewable energy, low-emissions and energy efficiency technology. The review was led by Reserve Bank of Australia board member Jillian Broadbent.
The CEFC will encourage private investment and help overcome capital market barriers for cleaner energy technologies, the government said in a statement today.

The fund will apply “commercial rigor” to its investment decisions to make sure companies have a positive rate of return and are able to repay the loans.

April 18, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, energy | Leave a comment

Australian uranium miner Paladin – shares down again

Paladin misses targets, shares drop, Peter Ker April 16, 2012 Shares in Paladin Energy are sliding lower this
morning, after the uranium miner revealed it had missed production targets yet again and had been forced to reduce its annual production targets.
Uranium production at Paladin’s flagship Langer Heinrich mine was 10 per cent below the company’s target during the first three months of2012, while its secondary mine also missed its production targets.

The missed targets, combined with concerns over Paladin’s debt, was pushing shares were down by 3 cents to 1.77 shortly after 11am…. Many analysts are concerned about Paladin’s debt levels, and the company is looking to sell minority stakes in its non-producing assets as a way to boost cashflow.

Concerns over the debt situation prompted Patersons Securities to downgrade Paladin to a sell earlier this month.

April 18, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment

Christine Milne to engage with rural Victorians on renewable energy opportunities

New Greens leader wants to have a better conversation with Gippsland residents  ABC Gippsland 16 April, 2012 New leader of the Australian Greens Senator Christine Milne says she wants to establish a better relationship with rural and regional Australia. Take a listen to her chat with Gerard Callinan. Senator Christine Milne wants a better deal for dairy farmers, a smooth transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy and greater renewable energy opportunities for rural and regional Australia…..

April 18, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Big Nuclear Energy Lie

And last, but not least, the big energy lie  is being unmasked by the large-scale introduction of renewable energy sources around the globe. The technologies required to harvest the abundant natural energy potentials from renewable resources are proving to be more than enough to supply even our growing energy needs of today, despite being at the beginning of their technological development.

Where is the Positive Image of Nuclear Energy Coming From?

 Despite the problems and disasters of the past and present, nuclear power is still being praised for being a cheap, abundant, and clean form of energy production by many politicians. Of course, it’s also “safe” and without any kind of “waste management problems” (due to future developments that would make energy out of dangerous nuclear waste), but those slogans are a little harder to sell today, so the focus is usually on “clean” and “cheap”.

While there is overwhelming proof that these pro-nuclear arguments are questionable at best, it’s a strange tradition that the pro-nuclear voices always seem to oversell their favourite product and try to turn this decade-old technology into some kind of silver bullet that fixes the problems of present and future generations alike. It’s even stranger or outright alarming that critical voices are often ignored or portrayed as making unfounded or unscientific claims. As the scale of the disaster in Fukushima became apparent, this schizophrenic nature of the public discussion on nuclear energy took a turn to the absurd. Continue reading

April 18, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australian company Lynas has ‘no concrete radioactive waste management plan’

Unlike the Lynas plant, the other three refineries’ radioactive wastes are sent back to the respective mines.

“Lynas has no concrete radioactive waste management plan. Lynas claims it can store its waste onsite forever.

The Lynas plant, she added, would have 500 tonnes of liquid discharge per hour channelled into the Balok River.

Lynas whitewashing refinery safety concerns, says Fuziah, The Malaysian Insider, By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal April 16, 2012 KUALA LUMPUR,  — PKR’s Fuziah Salleh has accused Lynas Corp of whitewashing safety concerns of its planned refinery in Kuantan by claiming there is a “concerted political campaign” against the plant’s construction,
In response, Fuziah  accused the Lynas Corp head of “deviating” from the real issue of safety, saying that a simple
comparative study showed the Lynas refinery did not support any form of “sustainable development.”

“They are not addressing concerns of safety, whitewashing safety concerns, silent about safety issues. “They have only addressed radiation aspects, external radiation… they are narrow-minded in terms of perspective of radiation,” the PKR
vice-president told The Malaysian Insider. Continue reading

April 18, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, rare earths, wastes | Leave a comment

Western Australia’s large solar photovoltaic project to be completed soom

Australia’s Largest Solar PV Project Continues Apace APRIL 17, 2012 BY JOSHUA S HILLClean Technica  Construction of Australia’s largest solar photovoltaic power project has reached a major milestone with the initiation of panel installation at the Greenough River Solar Farm in Western Australia.
“The demonstration of this proven technology in WA on a commercial scale should encourage the development of larger projects and reduce renewable energy costs in the medium to long term,” said Western Australian Energy Minister, Peter Collier, who joined with landholders, members of the Geraldton community and local contractors and First Solar, Inc., Verve Energy, and GE Energy Financial Services to mark the commencement of panel installation.

The 10-megawatt solar farm is located 50 kilometres south of Geraldton, with construction starting four months ago. Since then, above-ground electrical work has been completed and structural supports have been installed. Next on the list of things to do is to install approximately 150,000 First Solar photovoltaic modules, with completion of the project expected sometime in the middle of this year…….

April 18, 2012 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Uranium spot price ‘dead for months’, despite lobby propaganda

18 April 12, Yesterday 9 news reported on the uranium spot price’s continuing dismal slide : –

“Last week a mere three transactions occurred in the global spot uranium market, totalling 500,000lbs, industry consultant TradeTech reports. TradeTech’s spot price indicator remains unchanged at US$51.25/lb. Year to date trading has seen 8.2mlbs of U3O8 equivalent change hands compared to 18.4mlbs in the same period last year. ….

the spot uranium market has been pretty “dead” for the past several months….. Australian-listed Paladin Energy has been following a bumpy road to becoming one of the world’s more significant uranium producers as it deals with the usual pitfalls of project development and expansion and deals with them in Namibia. Aside from production issues, Paladin is suffering from cashflow tightness as development costs rise in the face of weak post-Fukushima uranium pricing”

April 18, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment