Australian news, and some related international items

Protesting BHP’s Olympic Dam – its special privileges, water guzzling, uranium to Fukushima

Mythical lizard haunts Australian uranium extractors Infoshop News, July 22 2012  Anti-nuclear protesters camping at what they describe as “the gates of hell” — that is, on the edge of BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam uranium mine in the desert of South Australia — decided to play a game of cricket on Tuesday, July 17, in order to publicize their message: Uranium isn’t Australian.

“It’s just not cricket,” they chanted, “and that’s why we picket.”

by Peter Rugh  Waging Nonviolence   “…….There’s no room for nature’s business in the uranium business. That’s why BHP is digging into the belly of Kalta, the sleeping lizard who, according to aboriginal legend, lives under the rocks at Olympic Dam. BHP is sucking yellow uranium poison out of Kalta’s belly and feeding it to nuclear reactors around the world.

It already takes about 9 million gallons of water a day to wash all that poison down the throats of global markets — water sucked out at no cost to BHP from the region’s only reliable freshwater source, the Great Artesian Basin. But the Melbourne-based multinational plans to expand its mining operations at Olympic from an area of about 1,700 square miles to a terrain roughly eight times that size. The $30 billion expansion would make Olympic Dam at Roxby Downs the world’s largest open-pit mine.

An additional 53 gallons of water a day will be used up should mining at Olympic expand. The amount of diesel required to extract and transport BHP’s uranium would cause South Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions to skyrocket by 12 percent.

Olympic currently operates under the Roxby Downs Indenture Act of 1982, which granted BHP exemptions from laws covering native sovereignty, public disclosure, environmental impact and water preservation. The Indenture Act was amended in 2011 , when BHP began scouting out more land. Critics say the law is essentially a contract between BHP and the South Australian government for the corporation to do what it likes.

Meanwhile, the effects of BHP’s mining are felt far beyond the Outback. Approximately 4,400 tons of Australian uranium per year are used to feed aging reactors in the United States, which jeopardize the civilian population centers that they surround . A major portion of the stuff comes from BHP. The company is to Australia’s uranium industry what Nirvana was to grunge; they’ve cornered the market…..

Prior to the Fukushima disaster , Japan — after the United States and the European Union — was Australia’s third best uranium customer, importing nearly 2,700 tons a year. The uranium fuel pellets that melted down three reactor cores at Fukushima on March 11 of last year were from Olympic Dam.

Dr. Jim Green, an anti-nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia, accuses BHP of turning a blind eye to fraud and safety problems in Japan’s nuclear industry in the run-up to the meltdowns. Despite widespread documentation of data falsification and safety breaches, he says  BHP continued to peddle its toxic product to the quake-prone nation in the run up to the Fukushima meltdowns….


July 23, 2012 Posted by | South Australia, uranium, water | 3 Comments

Lizard’s revenge: The South Australian government ignores its founding document

The uranium mine is in Kokotha country, but its impact crosses into Arabunna country to extract water for the mining. The Olympic mine expansion crosses the Mashers Faultline* itself, where there is a calculated risk of mining induced earthquakes of severe magnitude.

Lizard’s revenge: The South Australian government ignores its founding document, the Letters Patent from Britain, as though it never existed

 Lismore, NSW, 18 July 2012 — The recent demonstrations against expansion of the BHP Roxby Downs uranium mine in South Australia, led by Arabunna Elder, Kevin Buzzacott, highlight how governments and mining companies ignore and completely override the sovereign rights and human rights of First Nations Peoples, writes sovereignty activist, Michael Anderson.

The last survivor of the four founders of the Aboriginal Embassy in Canberra writes: “The ongoing catastrophe of the Fukushima meltdown in Japan is fresh in our minds and the previous disaster of Chernobyl in the Ukraine still haunts us, but governments are ignoring the warnings and, instead, appear beholden to mining industry, in particular the uranium industry.”

Mr Anderson is the National Coordinator of the interim National Unity Government of the ‘Sovereign Union’, launched at the 40th anniversary of the embassy in January.

He charges that the South Australian government ignores its founding document, the Letters Patent from Britain, as though it never existed. Continue reading

July 23, 2012 Posted by | aboriginal issues, South Australia | Leave a comment

Fukushima workers’ radiation doses falsified

the executive instructed about four workers to make the [lead shield] covers… 

Radiation dosages ‘falsified’ The Yomiuri Shimbun/Asia News Network Asia One News, Jul 23, Fukushima workes2012
The health ministry is investigating allegations that a construction company ordered its workers at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to cover their dosimeters with lead to indicate lower exposure levels, according to sources. Continue reading

July 23, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) – home of climate change denialism


Science denial tourism, sponsored by the IPA  Want to a free trip
around Australia, all expenses paid? It’s easy, just publish a book
denying climate change (scientific credentials not required) then
contact the Institute of Public Affairs — they’ll take care
everything. Graham Readfearn from reports on the IPA —
Australia’s home of anti-science……

July 23, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Victoria’s outstanding potential for renewable energy is being neglected

Victoria missing out on renewable energy   July 23, 2012    Victoria is “blessed” with its renewable energy capacity: Tim Flannery. The Climate Commission says Victoria’s renewable energy resources are barely being tapped.

Chief climate commissioner Professor Tim Flannery says we are entering a new chapter of climate change and Victoria should be making a sharp shift to renewable energy such as wind and solar power. “Victoria has got fabulous wind resources, the envy of places like Europe and fantastic solar resources too,” Professor Flannery said. Continue reading

July 23, 2012 Posted by | Victoria, wind | Leave a comment

Costs of solar photovoltaic energy tumbling, as climate change action becomes more urgent

 the cost of renewable energies was tumbling, with solar panel production costs down 70 per cent in the past year.

Tap solar and wind power or face catastrophic consequences experts warn Catherine Best AFP July 23, 20122:AUSTRALIA needs a bipartisan approach to climate change to seize opportunities in renewable energy and ward off the worst impacts of global warming, experts say.

The Climate Commission says now is the critical decade to get the policy settings right to encourage green-energy industries or risk catastrophic consequences for future generations. Its latest report, released on Monday, says Victoria – which has a heavy reliance on brown coal – receives enough sunshine to produce double its current energy needs.

The commissioners say there are untapped opportunities for solar and wind power generation, which is steadily becoming a more affordable electricity source.

But the industry needs certainty there will be the ongoing political will to support investment in green power. Continue reading

July 23, 2012 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

New government inquiry damns Japan’s nuclear reactors as still not safe

Japan nuclear plants ‘still not safe’ Report from independent panel delivers damning assessment of country’s nuclear regulator and Fukushima plant operator. Aljazeera 23 Jul 2012 A government-appointed inquiry has delivered a damning assessment of Japanese nuclear regulators and the operator of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, raising further fears that despite new rules, the country’s nuclear sector still does not meet safety requirements.

The 450-page report by a 10-member panel of independent experts was released on Monday, and comes as anti-nuclear activists continue a vociferous campaign against the restarting of two nuclear reactors in the country.

The government is currently readying a new energy policy, due next month. Continue reading

July 23, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment