Australian news, and some related international items

South Australia’s massive Olympic Dam dream down the toilet

Analysts had calculated the expansion would have cost BHP close to US$30 billion over several years as it developed a pit more than 4 kilometers long, 3.5 kilometers wide and 1 kilometer deep…. the plans had also envisaged the construction of a desalination plant, new port andairport facilities and expanded work accommodation.

BHP Gives South Australia No Guarantees For Olympic Dam Fox Business September 03, 2012 Dow Jones Newswires BHP Billiton (BHP) Chief Executive Marius Kloppers in a meeting Monday could provide no revised schedule, or guarantees, to the state premier of South Australia for the expansion of the Olympic Dam copper and uranium mine… Continue reading

September 4, 2012 Posted by | business, South Australia, uranium | Leave a comment

South Australian govt and BHP Billiton gloomy about the future of Olympic Dam uranium mine

Kloppers’ bleak Olympic hopes by: Michael Owen, The Australian September 04,  A BLEAK outlook has been presented by BHP Billiton chief executive Marius Kloppers for an expanded Olympic Dam mine ever operating in South Australia.

Mr Kloppers yesterday held talks with Premier Jay Weatherill in Adelaide to explain why the miner’s board last month indefinitely shelved the $28.7 billion project. He emerged from the hour-long meeting to say there was no timeframe for the project and no guarantee it would ever go ahead.

This came more than a week after The Weekend Australian revealed that Mr Kloppers had warned the expansion might never happen because the project was now dependent on the uncertain development of cheaper “leaching” technology to expand the mine’s future production. He had said that unlike “optimistic” scientists, the miner was “insufficiently certain that an eventual project will happen”. Mr Kloppers reiterated that message yesterday after meeting with the Premier. “We have been working and expending a lot of money on trying to make this project a reality,” Mr Kloppers said…… “I can’t give you any timeframe on how these things could progress.”

Asked if he could give a guarantee the mine would be redeveloped, he said: “No, I cannot.”

Mr Weatherill tried to maintain a positive message, but conceded the current model planned for the expansion “does not work”..  they are not able to advance a time when the technology will be proven, nor are they able to give us certainty about whether the technology will be capable of being proven, and therefore they will not be in a position to give us certainty about when the mine proceeds.”…

Mr Weatherill said that after his meeting yesterday, any future expansion was even further away than he had previously thought……

The opposition said all of the government’s tough-talking about BHP meeting its December deadline to go-ahead with the expansion and the project’s benefits for the state, had proven to be “bluff and bluster”.


September 4, 2012 Posted by | business, South Australia, uranium | Leave a comment

VIMEO – video on international conference about Chernobyl radiation

Nuclear Controversies  by  PLUS   by Wladimir Tchertkoff, 51min, 2004 In 1995, the Director General of WHO Dr. Hiroshi Nakajima, tried to inform on Chernobyl by organizing in Geneva an international conference with 700 experts and physicians. This tentative was blocked. The International Agency for Atomic Energy blocked the proceedings, which were never published. The truth on the consequences of Chernobyl would have been a disaster for the promotion of the atomic industry.

This film shows the discussions at the following WHO- congress in Kiev in 2001, that lead to the fatal disregarding of internal radiation consequences throughout the nuclear world.

The full transcript can be found here:

September 4, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Transcript of VIMEO video on international conference on Chernobyl radiation

 NUCLEAR CONTROVERSIES  Vivre Tchernobyl , W. Tchertkoff:  Script english version    
Dr. Michel Fernex, retired, Medical Faculty University of Basle, is part of a campaign denouncing the conflict of interests between two organizations of the UN: the IAEA -International Agency for Atomic Energy- promoter of nuclear industry, and the WHO -World Health Organization-.

An agreement was signed in 1959 between those organizations: the WHO is prevented from undertaking independent medical research on the health effects of radiation, or for informing populations on the consequences of accidents like Chernobyl, when the atomic lobby does not agree.

Here a letter is being delivered for Kofi Annan and Dr. Brundtland, Director General of the WHO, asking for an amendment of this agreement and freedom for the WHO to work freely on the health effects of radiation. ….

In 1995, the Director General of WHO Dr. Hiroshi Nakajima, tried to inform on Chernobyl by organizing in Geneva an international conference with 700 experts and physicians. This tentative was blocked. The International Agency for Atomic Energy blocked the proceedings, which were never published. The truth on the consequences of Chernobyl would have been a disaster for the promotion of the atomic industry.

Fernex The interdiction to publish which fell on the WHO conference will maybe be lifted for the next WHO congress. But the IAEA will also be there, don’t worry : UNSCEAR, IAEA, with fantastic money. To buy scientists in poor countries doesn’t cost a lot. With 10.000 dollars you can buy many persons.

…… Never before, had such an authority admitted, that health institutions are subordinate to the promoters of the atom. The WHO and the IAEA, two UN agencies, when working together, should be free to fulfil their institutional tasks, for peace and the world’s well being.
Contradictions, tensions and conflicts which exist in the UN system, were expressed during this conference, by the protagonists of the 1995 WHO Conference and the physicians and scientists of the civil society.

Zupka english The consequences of Chernobyl do not fade away, but actually grow increasingly uncertain, and in many ways more intense. The United Nations Secretary General, Mister Kofi Annan, put it very clear when he said that: “The legacy of Chernobyl will be with us and with our descendents for generations to come”.

title: D. Zupka – OCHA UN Comment The representative of the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs shares the view of Kofi Annan, who estimates at 9 million the number of victims, and says that tragedy of Chernobyl is only beginning.
…..  tle: A. Gonzales – IAEA UN

CommentThe representative of the International Agency for Atomic Energy, maintains that the Chernobyl catastrophe caused 31 deaths, a few hundred highly irradiated individuals and 2000 thyroid cancers in children. This UN agency recognizes only validated data, validated by the laboratories of Los Alamos and the French Atomic Energy Commissariat -CEA-, two atomic bomb makers. …….

September 4, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Baillieu governs in the interests of the fossil fuel lobby, damaging the wind farm industry

 Victorian wind farm laws: a blow to Australia’s clean energy future? , The Conversation, Lisa Caripis Research assistant, Centre for Resources Energy and Environmental Law at University of Melbourne Anne Kallies PhD Scholar at University of Melbourne 4 September 2012,

It’s been just over one year since the Baillieu government introduced the second part of its far-reaching planning law reforms to restrict the development of wind farms in Victoria. The results are an example of how state planning law can be a barrier to achieving national renewable energy goals.

With a majority in both houses of Parliament, the Coalition was able to amend Victoria’s planning framework unhindered to deliver on its 2010 election promise  to “restore fairness and certainty to the planning process for wind farms”.

In pursuit of this aim, the planning amendments most notably impose a blanket ban on wind farms in many parts of the state. They effectively give the owners of any dwelling within 2km of a proposed wind farm the power to decide whether or not the development should proceed. A July 2012 amendment clarifies that these changes are targeted at wind farms generating electricity for supply to the grid, not for on-site use.

Economically, reports  indicate that the impacts of these changes in terms of lost or stalled wind farm investment and employment have been considerable, in a state that has some of Australia’s best wind resources. While promising to “give the community a greater voice” through these changes, the amendments instead render local, pro-wind initiatives, such as community wind farm projects impossible in many locations .

Not only do the planning law changes have the potential to entrench existing fossil fuel power generation in Victoria, they undermine the Victorian Government’s commitment to the federalRenewable Energy Target  (RET).

The RET is designed to ensure that 41,000 GWh – close to 20% – of our electricity comes from large-scale renewable energy by 2020. It implicitly relies on implementation through state and territory planning frameworks, because decisions about what kind of development can take place and where rest with the states. The Climate Change Authority , which reviews the RET, notes

State and territory planning regulations may affect the level of renewable energy generation, its mix, and the geographic distribution of renewable power stations.

This can cause problems when state laws are out of step with national targets, as the electricity market rule-maker pointed out last year . It is of some concern that New South Wales draft guidelines  also adopt the 2km consent rule and impose a noise assessment regime stricter than in any other jurisdiction in Australia, the United States or Europe…..

September 4, 2012 Posted by | politics, Victoria, wind | Leave a comment

Victoria’s Premier Baillieu – out to destroy renewable energy

Victorian Solar Incentive Cut – Reactions by Energy Matters, 3 Sept 12,  The new, “fairer” feed-in tariff for roof-top solar panels in Victoria appears to be anything but – and the race is on for households to secure the higher rate before the deadline hits. The new tariff will be slashed from the current 25c + up to 8c electricity distributor contribution to just 8c per kilowatt hour for households lodging the necessary paperwork after September 30. The rate will  be adjusted annually in line with the wholesale electricity rate. According to Melbourne-based Energy Matters, the deadline provides little – and in many cases, no time – for households to acquire a system.

The company is urging those considering solar panels to call Energy Matters on 1300 727 151 as soon as possible to discuss what the change will mean to them, as it will vary according to circumstances. Environment Victoria was particularly scathing of the changes, stating the Baillieu Government has broken a key election promise to provide ‘fair reward’ for solar households.

“Ted Baillieu has dumped his promise to support the Mallee solar farm, he’s made it harder to build a wind farm than a new coal-fired power station, and now he’s slashed household and business solar support. At the same time he’s handing out tens of millions in cash to the big coal companies,” said Victoria McKenzie-McHarg. “It’s fair to ask what this government has against clean energy?” she said. The Clean Energy Council stated the rate was too low. We’re obviously disappointed at this decision to reduce support for solar power, which will make it harder for everyday Victorians to reduce their power bills and put industry jobs under pressure,” said Clean Energy Council Policy Director Russell Marsh. Labor’s energy spokeswoman, Lily D’Ambrosio, slammed the decision.

”The Baillieu government has again shown it just doesn’t care about supporting families who want to reduce their energy costs while also doing their bit for the environment,” Ms. D’Ambrosio said according to a report on The Age web site. Information from Energy Matters’ web site shows a good quality 5kW solar power system installed in Melbourne can slash a household’s electricity costs in the region of $1,920 annually under the higher feed in tariff incentive arrangements; an amount that will be significantly eroded under the new system.

September 4, 2012 Posted by | energy, politics, Victoria | Leave a comment

Sovereign Union of First Nations is inevitable

 Darwin, 3 September 2012 — Two prominent East Arnhem Land leaders and sovereignty campaigner, Michael Anderson, have agreed in Darwin that a sovereign union of Aboriginal nations needs to grow from the grass roots.

Dr. Djiniyini Gondarra (OAM) from Galiwin’ku, George Gaymarani Pascoe, from Milingimbi and Anderson, the last survivor of the four founders of the Aboriginal Embassy in Canberra, agreed thatits success can only be achieved “if our people want it”.

“Dr Djiniyini Gondarra agreed that we now work towards building alliances with our nations right across this continent under our law. He said that when we feel we have achieved this we should all walk to the centre of Australia, Uluru, the Rock, in order for us to become a collective One and thereby showing our national unity,” Euahlayi leader Anderson writes in a media release.

George Pascoe said he was devastated when he realised that Minister Jenny Macklin had raided the Aboriginal-owned treasure chest of royalties in order to fund her Stronger Futures program, “but through their military junta demanded that Aboriginal people sign head lease agreements for 40 years before they agreed to fund housing projects or any other infrastructure projects that are so necessary”. Continue reading

September 4, 2012 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Atmospheric greenhouse gases heat the ocean during La Nina and El Nino events

if global warming of the past decades was due to El Niño or another mechanism involving heat from the ocean, the ocean would have lost heat. But the heat content has gone up, not down. And it is well understood why: because we created a radiation imbalance by adding greenhouse gases to our atmosphere.

The signal of global warming caused by humans is very clear, despite attempts by certain parties to drown it out with a lot of noise. 

If 2013 breaks heat record, how will deniers respond?, New Scientist, 03 September 2012 by Stefan Rahmstorf  With an El Niño on the way, 2013 could be the warmest year on record. But the climate-denial machine will keep on churning 

IT HAS been another “normal” global-warming summer in the northern hemisphere. The US sweltered in the hottest July on record, following thehottest spring on record. More than 60 per cent of the contiguous US is suffering from drought, as are parts of eastern Europe and India. In the Arctic, sea ice cover is at a record low and the Greenland ice sheet shows what theUS National Snow and Ice Data Center calls “extraordinary high melting”. Global land temperatures for May and June were the hottest since records began in the 19th century.
Meanwhile, El Niño conditions are forecast to develop in the tropical Pacific Ocean, warming up ocean surface temperatures. Some observers have predicted that this will lead to record-breaking global temperatures next year.

If El Niño does arrive and temperature records are broken, there will inevitably be much discussion of the causes of the warming. So now is a good time to sort signal from noise in the global temperature records. Continue reading

September 4, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How climate change deniers think

Climate change deniers ‘are either extreme free marketeers or conspiracy theorists’ An Australian study says avid climate change deniers tend to be either extreme free marketeers or conspiracy theorists who believe the moon landing was faked or Princess Diana was murdered. Telegraph,   By Jonathan Pearlman in Sydney 28 Aug 2012 The study, to be published in the journal Psychological Science, also found that those who reject the scientific consensus on the human contribution to climate change are more likely to to reject other scientific findings such as the linkage between tobacco and lung cancer or between HIV and Aids.

The paper, titled “NASA faked the moon landing – Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science”, was based on a survey of more than 1000 visitors to blogs dedicated to discussion of climate change.

“We find that endorsement of a laissez-faire conception of free-market economics predicts rejection of climate science,” the paper says. “We additionally show that endorsement of a cluster of conspiracy theories (e.g., that the CIA killed Martin Luther King or that NASA faked the moon landing) predicts rejection of climate science as well as the rejection of other scientific findings.”

The paper says that a staunch belief in free markets was an overwhelmingly strong factor in the rejection of climate science and was a stronger factor than conspiratorial thinking.

It surveyed people on attitudes to a range of conspiracy theories, including that the United States allowed the September 11 attacks to occur and that SARS was produced in a laboratory as a biological weapon.

The lead researcher, Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, from the University of Western Australia, said conspiracy theories are the “antithesis to scientific thinking” and those who believe them are more likely to reject the scientific consensus that humans contribute to climate change.

“Science is about weeding out bad ideas,” he told The Daily Telegraph. “With conspiracy theories, you start out with a theory and stick to it no matter what the evidence. So it is not that surprising that conspiracy theorists would not accept scientific propositions … If the scientific evidence is overwhelming and you don’t like the conclusion, you have to find a way to reject those findings.”….

September 4, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

BHP talking about leaching methods for Olympic Dam uranium mine

 AUDIO  No guarantee for Olympic Dam mine expansion  ABC Radio P.M.   Nicola Gage reported this story  Sept 3 2012,  

MARK COLVIN: The head of BHP Billiton, Marius Kloppers, says he cannot guarantee that the company will redevelop the Olympic Dam mine in the future.

“……NICOLA GAGE: Mr Weatherill says he was informed on the different technologies BHP are looking into. That included new forms of conveyor belts, and the potential use of heap leach technology.

JAY WEATHERILL: Which has been investigated in laboratories and is, over a period of six years, has been scaled up to a certain size in terms of tests, but needs to be tested further to see whether it can be brought to scale and be used for full production.

NICOLA GAGE: Heap leach technology was flagged as an alternative extraction option in BHP’s original environmental impact statement in May 2009. The company already uses it in South America.

Professor Bill Skinner specialises in environmental surface science at the University of South Australia.

BILL SKINNER: There is a precedent for heap leaching technology in Australia, so it’s not exactly a unique process in Australia.

NICOLA GAGE: While it might be considered a new technology in the public arena, the process has been around for years. But Professor Skinner says difficulties with constancy made it expensive.

BILL SKINNER: In the last few years, quite a lot more has been learned about the process that goes on inside a heap leach, and how one treats the ore in order to make sure that one heap behaves very similar to another, and sort of keep reproducibility up, because after all, that reproducibility of the process governs the constant, if you like, valuable recovery from those heaps.

NICOLA GAGE: Questions have been raised about whether another environmental impact statement would be needed with any future expansion. Premier Jay Weatherill.

JAY WEATHERILL: Because we don’t know what the technology is, it’s, it becomes difficult for us to make an assessment about whether there is any additional environment risk. We know that there are some leaching technologies that are used in different parts of the state, but on the face of it, yes, they do raise environmental issues. So, of course, there’s the feasibility of the technology, but then there’s the environmental approvals that may go with that.

NICOLA GAGE: The company’s 15,000-page environmental impact statement expires in 2016. …

September 4, 2012 Posted by | Olympic Dam, South Australia, technology, uranium | Leave a comment

BHP’s Marius Kloppers not very convincing about expansion of Olympic Dam uranium mine

BHP’s Kloppers defends Dam,   by: Christopher Russell, John Dagge,  Herald SunSeptember 04, 2012  BHP Billiton chief Marius Kloppers has declared the group will “work with undiminished vigour” to extend Olympic Dam despite spiking its colossal expansion plan….

He was speaking after analysts at the Commonwealth Bank cut their rating on BHP and Fortescue Metal shares, citing the tumbling price of iron ore…

.. Mr Kloppers was talking after returning from the world tour that followed the release last month of BHP’s annual results. He said BHP remained hopeful that by going back to the drawing board it would find a viable option to extend the Olympic Dam project, in central South Australia. These included extracting minerals by leaching – a process used at BHP Billiton mines in Chile.

Mr Kloppers said while he could not guarantee the mine expansion would proceed, the company would work “unbelievably hard” to develop a viable extension plan. “One of the things that has been difficult, is that people take everything we work on as being approved,” he said. Then when we are unable to make it work they feel we’ve unapproved it. That’s the world we live in.”Mining companies had to constantly reassess their options as circumstances changed, he said…..

September 4, 2012 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment