Australian news, and some related international items

South Australia: police ready in force for anti uranium protest at Olympic Damn

“We’d like as many people as possible to show that Australian community does feel marginalised by the decision to build the largest uranium mine in the world and show they care,”

Protesters vow to shut down Olympic Dam, Police reporter Doug Robertson The Advertiser July 07, 2012 HUNDREDS of police will be sent to Roxby Downs as thousands of protesters from around the country attempt to shut down the Olympic Dam uranium mine.

The Desert Liberation Front website has issued an open invitation to more than 10,000 people to attend the six-day protest, music and art festival to be held on the outskirts of the town from next Saturday. It says it will take their protest to “Roxby Downs – gates of hell” to help “shut down the mine”….. More than 1200 protesters have already indicated they will attend while 723 others are seeking transport.

Police sources have told The Advertiser “a couple of hundred officers” will head to Roxby Downs, including STAR Group, mounted police and others on dirt bikes….The protest and festival is named after the Aboriginal Dream Time story of Kalta, a lizard which belongs to the land around Olympic Dam. Desert Liberation Front’s Adelaide-based spokeswoman Nectaria Calan said busloads of supporters were coming from Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide. Continue reading

July 9, 2012 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, South Australia | , | Leave a comment

Olympic Damn Uranium Mine: BHP’s disgraceful record, and contempt for Australian Aboriginal rights

BHP has shown similar contempt for taking responsibility for the impacts of its actions in Australia. The recently amended Indenture Act which will apply to the new mine continues to exempt BHP from the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988, which applies elsewhere in the state. 

 It is clearly a conflict of interest to have a corporation with a commercial interest in a piece of land also making decisions as to whether this same piece of land has competing non-commercial values.

Uncle Kevin Buzzacott is an Arabunna elder. Arabunna land lies North of the mine site. The borefields which extract water for the mine from the Great Artesian Basin are located on Arabunna land. The recent recognition of the Arabunna peoples long standing Native Title claim does not give the Arabunna people any rights to contest the location of the borefields. The GAB feeds the mound springs scattered throughout the Lake Eyre region.  The springs are integral to the desert ecosystem and sacred to the Arabunna people. They have already been impacted by the water usage of the current mine. 

by Nectaria Calan, 9 July 12, The Lizards Revenge was first announced on the 10th October 2011, coinciding with the State and Federal approvals of the Olympic Dam expansion. Since then, Rio + 20 in June this year has highlighted the failure of the concept of sustainable development and the failure of individual governments and the international community to genuinely address the ongoing environmental destruction that has become a feature of our age. Continue reading

July 9, 2012 Posted by | aboriginal issues, South Australia, uranium | | Leave a comment

The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2012 is released

“The fact that plant life extension seems the most likely survival strategy of the nuclear industry raises serious safety issues. Most critically will be to what extent and for how long nuclear safety authorities will be in a position to withstand growing pressure from nuclear utilities to keep operating increasingly outdated technology”

We are glad to announce that the report is now available for free download at    Mycle Schneider Consulting ,Independent Analysis on Energy and Nuclear Policy 9 July 12,  Twenty years after its first edition, the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2012 portrays an industry suffering from the cumulative impacts of the world economic crisis, the Fukushima disaster, ferocious competitors and its own planning and management difficulties.

Key results of the assessment include:

 Only seven new reactors started up, while 19 were shut down in 2011. On 5 July 2012, one reactor was reconnected to the grid at Ohi in Japan and another unit is expected to generate power on the site within two weeks. However, it remains highly uncertain, how many others will receive permission to restart operations in Japan.

• Four countries announced that they will phase out nuclear power within a given timeframe.

• At least five countries have decided not to engage or re-engage in nuclear programs.

• In Bulgaria and Japan two reactors under construction were abandoned.

• In four countries new build projects were officially cancelled. Of the 59 units under construction in the world, at least 18 are experiencing multi-year delays, while the remaining 41 projects were started within the past five years or have not yet reached projected start-up dates, making it difficult to assess whether they are running on schedule.

• Construction costs are rapidly rising. The European EPR cost estimate has increased by a factor of four (adjusted for inflation) over the past ten years.

•  Two thirds of the assessed nuclear companies and utilities were downgraded by credit rating agency Standard and Poor’s over the past five years.

•  The assessment of a dozen nuclear companies reveals that all but one performed worse than the UK FTSE100 index. The shares of the world’s largest nuclear operator, French state utility EDF, lost 82 percent of their value, that of the world’s largest nuclear builder, French state company AREVA, fell by 88 percent.

In contrast, renewable energy development has continued with rapid growth figures. Continue reading

July 9, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sydney hospitals’ dangerous dumping of radioactive materials

Toxic health dumping scandal, SMH, July 8, 2012 Natalie O’Brien The dangerous disposal of hazardous substances including liquid uranium and contaminated objects, the dumping of the confidential records of patients and the mishandling of asbestos have exposed a culture of mismanagement in Sydney hospitals. :

July 9, 2012 Posted by | New South Wales, safety, uranium | Leave a comment

Concern about medical radiation – researchers to track patients’ exposure

Experts plan to track radiation doses from medical checks Asahi Shimbun, behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201207090009 July 09, 2012 By YURI OIWA/ Staff Writer  Concerned about an increase in radiation exposure at hospitals, a group of researchers plans to set up a system to track patients’ cumulative radiation doses and protect children from potential harm. Continue reading

July 9, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s Solar PV threatening profits of big energy companies

How big utilities propose to kill solar PV, REneweconomy By Giles Parkinson   9 July 2012 A couple of nasty figures have been produced in recent weeks that will give energy companies – retailers, generators and distributors – cause to reflect on how they will manage to satisfy their shareholders’ insatiable appetite for increased profits in coming years.

The figures were inter-related. The first lot were the updated demand forecasts issues by the Australian Energy Market Operators. Demand for 2012/13 is now likely to be nearly 10 per cent below where it was predicted just a year ago, and demand out to 2020 might be 30 per cent below the most optimistic predictions. For an industry that has relied on an unremitting correlation of electricity demand to GDP growth, this has been a shock to the system.

AEMO chief Matt Zema acknowledged the problems facing the industry as it tries to eke out more revenue in the face of declining demand. Essentially, he said in an interview with RenewEconomy, as demand falls and investment in fixed infrastructure increases, the cost per megawatt grows – creating a vicious circle, or what AGL Energy described in a document last week as the Energy Market Death Spiral.

Part of this reduction has been partly blamed on reduced manufacturing, and partly on reduced demand from households and business in response to surging electricity costs, and on the massive investment in infrastructure to cope with peak demand. But the most enduring, and growing factor, at least on the demand side, is the penetration of solar PV. And AEMO forecasts give little consolation to the established industry – the amount of solar PV in the Australian market is tipped to grow 10-fold over the next two decades, and its impact on revenue and profits for the incumbent generators, retailers and network operators will increase accordingly.

Private forecasts suggest that the growth of solar PV could be much greater than that recognised by AEMO. Yingli, the world’s largest solar PV manufacturer in 2012, has said that Australia could, in fact, become the first “mass market” for solar PV in the world – thanks to a combination of declining costs, rising grid prices, lots of sun and innovative financing models…….

Here are some tactics that are being suggested to deal with what AGL Energy managing director Michael Fraser described on the Radio National Breakfast program 10 days ago as the “infiltration” of solar PV and distributed energy. “It’s been a good thing,” Fraser said. “But we will have to watch that.”….

July 9, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | | Leave a comment

Aborigines boo Australia’s Aboriginal Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin

Macklin booed at NAIDOC night 9 July 2012 Federal Aboriginal Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin has been booed at an official function in Hobart because of her support for the Northern Territory intervention…..

July 9, 2012 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Tasmania | Leave a comment