Australian news, and some related international items

More cops than locals at Roxby Downs

Show of blue force at protest camp The Transcontinental, Port Augusta 13 Jul, 2012  ”MORE cops than locals” is how the police presence in Roxby Downs has been described by residents ahead of a protest rally at Olympic Dam this weekend.
A blockade remains in place on the Olympic Way – the main throughfare to the BHP Olympic Dam mine – with police checking the credentials of motorists who try to gain access.

Hundreds of protestors have set up camp about four kilometres from the mine gates.

Spokeswoman for the protestors Nectaria Calan from Friends of the Earth is encouraging locals to engage with their cause. ”Roxby residents are absolutely welcome to come out and have a chat,” she said. The group is opposed to uranium mining……

July 13, 2012 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Anti uranium protestors arriving at Olympic Damn

Protesters gather at Olympic Dam, Herald Sun, AAP July 13, 2012  ANTI-NUCLEAR activists are gathering at Olympic Dam in South Australia’s north to protest against the proposed $30 billion expansion of BHP Billiton’s copper, uranium and gold mine.

Organisers say the five days of action, beginning on Saturday, are planned to be peaceful, with   people expected from across Australia. ”We anticipate a vibrant protest camp which combines educational workshops, entertainment and non-violent direct action,” Nectaria Calan said.

“We will converge on the site of the current mine and approved expansion as the South Australian and Australian governments have failed to put the environment and people’s health before short-term economic concerns.

“The impacts of this project will remain long after BHP Billiton packs up, repatriates its profits, and moves on to the next project.”

Police are taking no chances, setting up a major security operation, closing several roads and declaring the area a protected zone……
The protest over Olympic Dam follows court action by Aboriginal elder Kevin Buzzacott in his bid to block the mine’s expansion. Mr Buzzacott asked the Federal Court to block the project on the grounds that federal Environment Minister Tony Burke had not given enough consideration to a number of issues including the risks posed by the storage of radioactive tailings.

His case was dismissed but he has since appealed to the Full Court of the Federal Court which is yet to hand down its judgment.

July 13, 2012 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Northern Territory Government joins Aborigines and unionists in protest rally against Muckaty nuclear waste dump

The Northern Territory Lands and Planning Minister, Gerry McCarthy, told the Herald the decision to use the NT for a national waste dump site had been based on political expediency, not science. ”The Commonwealth should go back and base its decision on science. It should also consult with Territorians and not exploit our weaker constitutional position for its political expediency,” he said.

Protesters step up campaign against nuclear waste dump Brisbane Times, July 13, 2012, Bianca Hall THE Northern Territory government has accused the Commonwealth of exploiting ”political expediency” by pushing ahead with plans for a nuclear waste dump in the top end.
After seven years in the planning, a nuclear dump at remote Muckaty cattle station, more than 120 kilometres from Tennant Creek, is still caught in red tape and subject to a Federal Court challenge by traditional owners.
The federal Resources Minister, Martin Ferguson, said the government would respect the outcome of the Federal Court’s decision and not act until the court case was resolved.

But local opposition to the plan has shown no sign of waning. Yesterday, the Maritime Union of Australia led a passionate protest at Darwin port against the plan, calling for a full and independent inquiry into the proposal. Continue reading

July 13, 2012 Posted by | Northern Territory, politics | Leave a comment

The plummeting prices of solar energy panels

The global solar sector has witnessed some extraordinary growth in the past couple of years. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the prices of solar panels have fallen by almost 42% in a single year to $0.87 per watt.

CHINA SETS 2015 SOLAR ENERGY TARGET AT 21GW Solar PV Investor,  BY SARFARAZ KHAN     |       12 JULY 2012   Although the massive target might seem overly ambitious to some, most of the industry analysts believe that it is still very modest. China’s local media has revealed that the National Energy Administration (NEA) has decided to quadruple the country’s 2015 solar energy target to 21GW. Continue reading

July 13, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Price-Anderson Act – protects the nuclear industry from itself!

this is the only industry that has a law protecting it from itself. The Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act of 1957 caps the liability of power plant owners and their insurance companies for nuclear accidents at $12.6 billion, after which taxpayers are on the hook. Chernobyl is estimated to have cost  some $235 billion for containment, cleanup, and resettlement. Similar costs for the Fukushima disaster are yet to be determined, but estimates  have also been in the several hundred-billion dollar range. Many proponents of nuclear power are the same “let the market work” advocates in economics and politics today. If the market were allowed to function in this case, would any new nuclear power plants be built in America — or existing ones re-licensed — if Price-Anderson were repealed?

Is New Nuclear Energy Just Mission Impossible? HUFFINGTON POST, Terry Tamminen Former Secretary, California EPA   07/11/2012   “….the Mission Impossible assignment facing global economies today — powering growth with nuclear energy.

The debate over nuclear energy has generally boiled down to the challenge of waste disposal. Of course there is always talk of safety, but proponents quickly point to the half-century of global experience with nuclear energy and the very few, albeit disastrous, incidents of the proverbial genie escaping its lead-lined, super-cooled, concrete bottle.

Proponents are also quick to dismiss waste issues by pointing to new technologies that recycle much of the spent fuel. The wild card that is common to every nuclear facility and which puts this technology squarely in the Mission Impossible category however, is not technology or waste — it’s human error…..  the fact that engineers did not predict it [the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe] and that everyone at Edison is surprised by the failure attests to the limits of human calculation — even after that half-century of experience.

Nor can we dismiss the waste disposal issue so quickly, especially in an age when terrorists are thought to covet spent nuclear material for making mayhem. Delaware Senator Tom Carper commented  recently that Congress has tried to solve the disposal issue for decades, but “over 30 years later, we find ourselves at what is really a dead end,” he said. Continue reading

July 13, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australian uranium company alleged to fraudulently use land in Tanzania

named the exploration companies as, Uranium Resources PLC and [Australian uranium company] Western Metals Limited. (Western Minerals Limited changed it name to Indago Resources Ltd in 2009 )

Hunting firm illegally leased block to uranium miners’ BY PATRICK KISEMBO, 12th July 2012   The Opposition camp yesterday told the National Assembly about an alleged scam involving two uranium exploring companies and a hunting firm. They are said to have entered into a fraudulent contract apparently facilitating the subletting of the blocks contrary to the law and regulations. Continue reading

July 13, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies | | Leave a comment

Carbon Farming Initiative – a new enterprise for Aboriginal group

Capturing carbon, unlocking wealth for Aborigines BY: MARK SCHLIEBS AND PATRICIA KARVELAS  The Australian July 13, 2012 JOHN Kite is at the helm of a newly acquired, neglected cattle station in South Australia’s outback that could soon become one of the first indigenous-owned carbon farming projects in the country.

The 56-year-old from Watarru in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands in the state’s northwest has been put in charge of turning the 4900 square kilometres of scrub and rock into a money spinner for Aborigines under the Carbon Farming Initiative, which came into effect this month. Continue reading

July 13, 2012 Posted by | aboriginal issues, South Australia | | Leave a comment

Despite fossil fuel vested interests, Australia likely to meet its renewable energy target

Technology costs are coming down, and the 7000-8000 gigawatts of renewable energy projects needed to meet the 41,000GW hour target will be built at a lower cost than thought.

Incumbent power generators are holding up progress BY GILES PARKINSON The Australian July 13, 2012 ……Every time Australia manages to take two steps towards the de-carbonisation of its electricity grid and support for a new clean energy industry, vested interests seem determined to force it to take two steps back.

We’ve seen it with the carbon price. The carbon pollution reduction scheme was scuttled in cut-throat games of political football, and while NGAS became redundant on June 30 with the introduction of federal Labor’s carbon price, calls to reduce that to almost zero are growing ever louder. Howard’s target was neutered when he refused to extend it after an extraordinary response and nearly $4 billion in investment. The Victorian Labor government tried to fill the void with
its own target but was forced by the fossil fuel lobby to backpedal. Continue reading

July 13, 2012 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment